This race is only in its second year but will undoubtedly grow into one of the top self-supported bike races around. It has a very unique format—after starting in London you are given three check points which change each year (for 2014 it was the cafe near Paris where the Tour de France started in 1903; Stelvio Pass in northern Italy; and Mt. Locven in Montenegro) and you choose your own route between the points, ending up at the Rumeli Hisari in Istanbul (where the finisher’s photo below was taken). You have just over 14.5 days to finish the race, although you can complete it outside that window but the results will not be included. There were 101 riders entered, 88 started, and at the time of writing 18 scratches.I ended up finishing in just over 13.5 days after 3,400 km of riding and two ferry trips for a 34th place tie. The race was challenging, rewarding and all I could have hoped for. I’ll definitely come back and ride it again!