Cycling is a versatile sport. It has something for everyone, from thrill seekers to distance lovers. Road cyclists can set their own goals: some are content to cycle 100km per month, whereas others do double that a day. But if you crave a ride every night you might be interested in ultra-distance challenges. And so, next year, you might want to add the Trans Alba Race to the calendar.

Ultra-distance cycling

For those who don’t know what ultra-distance cycling (UDC) is, well, it’s in the name: cycling ultra-far. Unlike ultra-running, the description for UDC is a lot more vague. For example, there is no fixed length in the rules of how many kilometres these challenges should be. In general, all distances longer than a ‘century’ (100mi or ± 160km) are scaled under ‘ultra’. The UDC discipline isn’t a new subject on The Prologue: previously we wrote about the Transcontinental and the Silk Road Mountain Race.

Trans Alba Race

The Trans Alba Race is being held for the first time in 2019. The route will be about 1,600km with 15,000 altimeters, so get ready to train. Although we’ve got over six months before the race begins on the 1st of July, they have already published the rule book. Seven rules to be precise. And while that may appear to be a simple challenge, the reality is that is it very complex.

First of all the start date, the 1st of July. It’s the middle of the summer, and it will be very hot. At least, you would think so. But for those unfamiliar with the Celtic language, ‘Alba’ is Celtic for ‘Scotland’. The race will be held in Scotland, so pack up that raincoat.

Self supported

That is not the only thing you have to pack up; it is a self-supported cycling race. This means that everything you consume is either carried or available at a commercial point of sale. No help from the outside. The same applies to where you rest overnight (if you allow yourself the time to sleep). A hotel is possible, but the winner often sleeps only a few hours a night in these types of races. Packing a tent is more practical, so you can sleep when and where you want. If that still fits in your bag, of course…

Natural obstacles

Scotland is known for its beautiful nature reserves, which provide lots of amazing natural obstacles during this challenge. The start and finish place will be in Edinburgh. By the time you are coming back for the finish, you will have ridden through the Scottish Highlands, crossed the Applecross and climbed the Bealach Na Ba. In short: a loop around Scotland. Counter-clockwise.

Although registration is not yet possible, you can leave your e-mail address to indicate that you are interested in participating. As soon as the registration is opened, you pay €270 as a solo cyclist, €255 per person if you want to ride in a pair and about €125 per person when you are in a group of four people. A cap, water bottle, sticker and the .GPX file are included in this price. When you complete the challenge, you receive a musette and a hip flask. What else could you want?