22 March 2017
| THE HEARTBEAT OF WOMEN'S SPORT

Mountain biking: Hannah Attenburrow tackles the epic 7-day Trans Alp stage race

August 16, 2016
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The Trans Alp Bike Race claims to be the toughest amateur Mountain Bike stage race in Europe. Six hundred two-rider teams (16 female, 584 male), set out from Imst in Austria on a seven day epic that ended this year in Arco, Italy. Hannah Attenburrow shares her experience.
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Photo credit: Sportograf

The race is an ultimate test of mountain bike endurance and skill. My team mate Michelle and I spent seven days doing battle up mountain passes, riding along valley floors, passing through tunnels and dropping down breath-taking descents as we crossed from Austria to Italy. We passed through 3 countries, climbed over 17,000mts, (which equates to climbing Mount Everest twice) and rode 521km.

Albeit spectacular, The Trans Alp was far tougher than I imagined. No training in the UK can prepare you for exhausting 2,000m climbs. As a team we burnt around 70,000 calories, went through 4 sets of brake pads, ate mountains of bananas and watermelon, consumed 36 energy gels from High 5 and SIS, drank around 4.5L a day and spent 44 hours in the saddle.

It all began after 17 hours of driving, when we arrived at our B&B and spent Friday relaxing and exploring the local bike trails. We were being supported by my Dad who has himself competed at a high level (Kayak Slalom for GB) He was excited to be supporting us and also brought vital knowledge regarding encouragement, food, water or just a thumbs up as we raced passed.

On Saturday morning I woke with some pre-race nerves and a degree of uncertainty had started to creep into my mind. Could I actually do this?

– Trans Alps Mountain Bike Race – from Mark Attenburrow on Vimeo.

Read the full story:
Imst had been transformed in just a few hours from a quiet alpine town to a hive of excitement and activity. Mountain bikers were everywhere, some already prepared with their number boards on their bikes and carrying the massive blue Trans Alp bike race bags, which would take their clothes, bike spare parts, food etc from hotel to hotel. The streets were filled with music, banners and general excitement, which gave us a huge wave of eagerness. This was it, after all the training and planning, we had made it to the Trans Alp start.

Signing on was a simple process, and the organisation was excellent. After attaching the race number board and transponder to the front of our bikes we were given pasta party vouchers (each evening the race organised a pasta party to help riders refuel), freebies and of course our big blue kit bag. It reminded me of Ride London but on a massive scale!

It took me an age to drift off to sleep my head was full of checklists and questions.

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