Friday May 1st 2020
Trans Devon 2020
For the hardened cyclist, worn by grit and time there is no greater challenge than the challenge yet unridden.
We always leave that bit in, it sounds dramatic, it adds a sense of epic to what is actually a pretty epic weekend of your life. For 2020 we return to Devon for Trans Devon.
We know that the open road is free to all but the challenge itself is only surpassed by the experience shared, the tales told around the camp fire or a ride relived over cold beers, wry smiles and bruised muscles. This is why people sign up for this event and an adventure is guaranteed.
So what is Trans Devon?
It may take one day, it may take three days. We don't know what route you're going to take, all we do know is you have got to get to a few definite places, you've got to do it without any outside help and you've got to do it with a smile on your face. There's no number board, there's no prize for winning, there's loads of feed stations (they're called cafes, shops or even fancy restaurants) but they're not always open, there's no accommodation provided and we don't even give you a map. The joy of these Trans events is their simplicity. It's one great big adventure, or more specifically it's many adventures taking place at once, all in Devon.
The window of Trans Devon is from 21:00 on Friday 1st May until 17:00 on Sunday 3rd May. A maximum of 100 riders will take on a great challenge that will see them cross our home county and probably change their view on bike riding forever.
Departure: Friday 1st May 21:00
There won't be much of a briefing because part of the process of being a Trans Devon rider is that you'll have planned how you're going to ride this event, you'll know your plan far better than we will. At 21:00, after some kind of speech, and maybe a fanfair, the departure window will open. Some of the riders will blaze off into the night, some may just go to bed and get up in the morning. In the previous two years most people have cracked on into the night.
Check Point 1: Lynton (manned)
Opens Saturday 5th May at 05:00
Closes Saturday 5th May at 12:00
Check Point 2: Dunkeswell (manned)
Opens Saturday 5th May at 09:00
Closes Saturday 5th May at 18:00
Checkpoint 3: Princetown (unmanned)
Open all weekend
Check Point 4: Rockets & Rascals, Plymouth (manned with beer)
Opens 09:00 on Sunday 5th May, closes 17:00 on Sunday 5th May
Finisher's beers and back slapping between 12:00 and 17:00
Please note weather, roadworks and all sorts of things have messed with checkpoints in the past and may again. We reserve the right to make changes right up until the event for rider safety (and our team).
As you'll see from the check point times they don't lean towards a series of Strava smashing segments, in fact they allow for a fairly genial pace. That's because we want riders to enjoy it, you'll probably also need to sleep. However, don't be fooled, riding in Cornwall is TOUGH, the hills can be steep, the lure of the cream tea can also catch you out.
So the technicalities:
Well there really aren't many rules, the only rule we'd like riders to uphold is the rule of self sufficiency. By this we mean you look after yourself without any pre-arranged help. If you're in a pair you can help each other out, if you're on your own then you ride alone. You can stop at a bike shop and get a bike fixed, you can stay in a hotel if you like, you can buy a pasty or go for a massage, this stuff we'd class as part of the adventure and it's stuff any rider can do. Having a partner follow in a motorhome and set up camp or arranging for a mate to pass water bottles every 20 miles is what we'd class as pre-arranged assistance and goes against the spirit of the event. Getting other riders to fix a bike also isn't allowed but only really because it ruins their adventure. These things are classed as game over and we'll tear up your checkpoint card. Obviously taking lifts is not allowed either.
Finally we'll be highlighting a few roads that you're not allowed on as part of the event, these will largely be the A38, A39 and A30, you can cross them but cannot ride along them.
Once you've signed up we'll send you an invite to join our Strava Club for the event where you can follow other riders, check out mileage and even scope out a few route options. All discussion and activity will happen in Strava rather than on social media so please respond to this request. The Strava Club is the very same club as last year, it's a very special place.
In short you’ll sleep wherever you like, some won’t sleep much at all, some will take their own kit and sleep under the stars, some will check into a boutique hotel and have a sauna. The point is it’s self sufficient, part of the challenge is making your plan.
Where does it start?
The event starts at Rockets & Rascals on the Barbican, Plymouth.
Is it a race?
No, it’s probably more like a reliability challenge, some people will choose to race the clock but that’s their choice. The goal is simply to finish without outside assistance and hopefully create some good memories. You'll be one of few Trans Kernow Starters and even less finishers.
Who’s organising it?
The team behind this event are Rockets & Rascals in Plymouth. Leading the team is Steve Toze, he’s experienced in organising many types of bike events from Mountain Bike World Cups to road races and distance cycling events. We're all local to the area and know Cornwall very well. We'll also be riding the event so don't expect us to pick you up in a recovery vehicle if it all goes wrong. This is the fourth year of the event and whilst it's a bit of slow burner everyone has had a great time riding it which is why we continue to organise it.
Can anyone enter?
Theoretically yes but in practice riders need to be able to ride at least 100 miles in one go. If you can’t make the checkpoints (either because you're too fast or too slow) then you can self verify in a shop, cash machine or even by taking a time stamped photo but ideally we’d like 100 riders that make it back in time for the party. It's a bank holiday weekend so riders can take longer but really we class the event as ending at 17:00 on the Sunday. Self verified finishes after this time will still be accepted as completions.
What if you need to pull out of the event?
It’s a self sufficient event, we can’t pick anyone up but you can bail and head for home or make your way back to Plymouth. If you can get to a checkpoint you may be able to negotiate a ride home.
What’s included in the entry fee?
There'll be beer at the finish and the moral support of our team at the manned checkpoints. There'll be a phone number to call if it really goes wrong, there'll be a medal. The biggest bonus will be the bragging rights and feeling epic. As with last year the Strava group is the place to ask questions and we'll do our best to answer them.
The mileage doesn’t look too hard, is it too easy?
The point of this ride is not to set a course record, it’s about completion of a challenge. Approx mileage based on a Google map will be about 200 miles in 2.5 days, for most cyclists this will be a great challenge that you'll remember for a long time.
Do I need special insurance?
We're covered as organisers for you to ride the event, however given that the event is not a race we'd strongly recommend you get your own third party insurance anyway. If you're a British Cycling member then you'll be covered, otherwise why not join Cycling UK, this will also cover you.
Once you've signed up you'll need to join up to the Strava Group we'll verify your entry and let you in.
You'll see plenty of feedback from last year's event and do a quick google search and you'll see plenty of positive feedback on Trans Kernow.
We look forward to seeing you in May.