What do London and Istanbul have in common? They are the connecting cities for what is the largest bikepacking race across the European continent. What makes this race even more epic then larger races like Le Tour de France? It is environmentally conscious in that it is a completely self-supported race with no vehicle support or cost of entry. Race directors are quoted in saying that the race “pays homage to those courageous souls of yesteryear and re-kindles the adventurous spirit of early grand tours.” The Transcontinental Race starts this Saturday, August 9th. There is one element that makes this race unique from the majority of other ultra-endurance bikepacking events: mystery. There is no route planned for the Transcontinental. Racers are left to build their own route, while being required to meet at only three check points along the way. The three check points are Café Au Reveil Matin, Paris; Passo Dello Stelvio, Italy; and Mount Lovcen, Montenegro. The first check point is manned until 36 hours after race start – based on a two week finish in Istanbul. The Transcontinental race was thought to fruition by highly decorated ultra endurance athlete, Mike Hall. The rules follow a standard of self-supported adventure races: no outside assistance, resupply is permitted at commercially available services only. For this race, there is no minimum kit list. The race is in one stage, the clock never stops. Like many other bikepacking and ultra-endurance tours, the racers choose when and where, if at all, to rest. Twenty-one well deserved riders finished the Transcontinental Race last year out of the 30+ riders who attempted. The winning time last year was by Kristof Allegaert with a time of 7 days , 13 hours, and 45 minutes. He was 26 hours ahead of the 2nd place finisher. To watch this epic race from the comfort of your own home, follow the riders on Trackleaders.com.