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26 March 2014 No comments

And Then There Were Three. World Cycle Race Report #3

Travel & Adventure Cycling Stories
And Then There Were Three. World Cycle Race Report #3
Scenes from the WCR pre-launch at B1866, and its official start at Greenwich a few weeks back. As well as being a proper cycle race, the World Cycle Race is also famously a journey of self discovery for its participants. Whether tackled with or without a support crew, the challenge of riding 18,000 miles around the world is a huge one. Not least because there's nobody else there to turn the pedals for you. But due to accidents, injury, or their own physical limits, and in spite of their unspoken secret hopes before setting off, most riders come to the stark realization early on that they probably won't win. Which means a re-evaluation of motives has to take place. And if it doesn't happen quickly, all that cycling can wear a psyche down. Fortunately, it seems that our competitors in this year's instalment have been gradually finding their respective personal, physical, and dare we say, spiritual rhythms, and even learning that discretion truly can sometimes be the greater part of valour. We are none the less excited in this regard to report that Lee Fancourt has been putting down big miles after a bumpy first few weeks in the saddle. If he maintains his current form he will actually be in a position to potentially edge out Mike Hall's 2012 winning time. He has covered good distance at a good clip all the way through India over the past week or so, a lot of it at night. Mumbai - Goa - Calcutta is his general route, and even though the weather's been a touch steamy, the roads have been apparently smooth. He's still managed to crash, though, coming off last Wednesday after an encounter with a pothole. But is fairly sure no bones were broken. It was Elvis Costello who rightly pointed out that accidents will happen. Since reaching India, Lee has been rather circumspect in his approach to the local cuisine, having subsisted since last Sunday solely on energy bars, and is now droolingly anticipating a Thai curry in the very near future. We must also mention the sad news that Fran Hollender has had to call off her tilt at Juliana Buhring's world record for a female rider. You may recall that she had been taking a couple of days' recovery time in her native Munich to try and reduce the severe swelling of her Achilles tendons. No sooner had they settled, Fran bravely pointed the front wheel in the direction of Salzburg, but it appears that within hours she found herself in the same trouble all over again. We don't doubt that she'll be back again with a plan to conquer this confounded globe on two wheels very soon, in fact we're hearing rumours that the Trans-Am race in June may already have found another starter. Elsewhere in the world's toughest peloton, Breifne Earley is still powering along despite a crash during which he sustained a nasty knee injury. Reportedly blessed to have been riding with a helmet on, the Leitrim man's front wheel jammed suddenly between two paving stones while he was doing 25 through a level crossing in Hungary. To give an idea of scale, that's an Imperial pint glass of Coca Cola on the right. Other than this minor detail, Eastern Europe has been kind to Breifne. Cheap, well appointed B&Bs have littered his path, and the Danube has looked breathtaking, especially in the moments around sunset when Breifne has frequently placed colossal plates of chicken and chips between himself and it. Prasad Erande should hit Istanbul later this week. He recently put a call out on the Information Superhighway inviting anybody who fancies it to be his support crew for his Turkey-Portugal leg. So if you have a large camper van, a couple of weeks' free time and the inclination to cause the WCR KOS-ometer to explode from too much Kindness, we can put you in touch with him.