London-Istanbul: The Final Route

The the race four weeks away I’ve been vacillating over the final route. After lots of deliberations—and advice from my riding buddy Mike and Jok who is recovering from his training crash the die is (sort of) cast. If I don’t get lost, go off route I’ve got 3,471 km of riding to do, with some 35,115 m of climbing.  Makes me tired just thinking about it … but what a holiday!

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The elevation profile shows a few hills on the way!

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I decided to take the ferry from Bari rather than Ancona not because, to paraphrase one of Jok’s reasons the female ‘eye candy’ is amongst the best in Europe, but because there is a lot less climbing than crossing to Split, and one hopes that Italian drivers are more cyclist friendly than Balkan drivers. I decided against my original Bulgarian route because of the strong advice in the race manual:

The number 8 road from Sofia through Plovdiv to Edirne. This road is at times narrow with no shoulder and very fast moving traffic including trucks which will attempt to overtake despite your presence. Of all the roads that Transcontinentalists in 2013 travelled on, this was reported as the out and out worst. Avoid it like the plague.

Now just to try and get a lot more training in over the next few weeks before I begin to taper. My bike and kit is all sorted out and working great. Just the body needs work!

Update July 29: My colleagues from the World Bank’s Albania office have given me a recommended route through Tirana. I’ve also decided to cut through Macedonia rather than Albania all the way to Greece – looks like better resupply points. So this gives me 3,468 km of riding and 34,923 m of climbing. Saved 3 km and 193 m of climbing!

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