Trans Am Bike Race 2018.
My story from the great adventure.
a miserable summer in 2017 when I was forced to stay off my bike due to
asthma problems, it was absolutely time for a new bike adventure in
But which one to choose? Interest in long-distance bicycling
and the number of bicycling adventure races had grown a lot since 2012
when I did the Race Across America (RAAM). I had applied to start in
TCR (Transcontinental Race) a 4,000 km race in Europe back in 2016, but
had not been successful in the lottery for a place at the starting line.
I hadn't stayed away from cycling completely since RAAM. In 2014 I had biked a grueling mountain bike
race Transalp and the year after I completed my fifth Paris Brest
Paris, and had done a few long distance challenges in Sweden as well. I
have averaged about 15,000 km a year for the last years. Most of my
biking has been done commuting to work or with my wife on our tandem.
decided on TABR in late fall of 2017. The 6,800-kilometer race was the
world's longest race at the time which both appealed to me and scared
me. I also thought it would be interesting to cross the American
continent again. This time solo without a crew in a chase car. I sent in
my application and started to read stories from riders who had done the
race in previous years. It was going to be the sixth edition of the
race so there were quite a few stories to read and learn from.
New Year's I started training and in addition to my 30-kilometer bike
commute I did a lot of riding in the garage on my smart trainer, logged
in to Zwift. I was quite new to zwifting and I found it to be a great
way to get in shape during the cold and snowy Swedish winter. I
increased my weekly distance for every week that passed, but it was by
no means any scientific training program. More like, do the ride you
feel like every day and keep it fun and simple. I usually did one longer
ride once a week. The longer ride was between 100 to 200 kilometers and
it was a good way to prepare both physically and mentally for the long
days to come in the saddle, working out for hours on the trainer in the garage.
early March I was biking a little over 400 kilometers a week with a
combination of commuting and zwifting. Then I got the flu and was forced
to stay off the bike for a couple of weeks. When I felt well enough to
get back in training I noticed that I had developed the same kind of
asthma problems that had kept me off the bike the summer before. I could
ride at a very easy pace, but it was impossible to do any actual
The weeks went on and I made numerous visits to my
doctor without getting any better. Finally in early May I got the
medicine that seemed to help and I could slowly get back in training
The start of TABR was on June 2, and I knew there was
really no way I would have a chance to get even close to being prepared
for the race in those few weeks.
I just couldn't decide what to
do. One day I made up my mind to go for it and the next day I would
regret it and decide not to go. It's really a wonder that my wife Alice
didn't kick me out of the house the way I went on.
On May 15 I
finally booked the flight to Portland, Oregon. I decided to go for it
and to do the race not racing but more like fast touring at my own pace.
Alice drove me and my gear to the airport in Stockholm in the early
morning of May 28. The great adventure had begun.