Craft Bike Transalp Challenge.
If you are passionate about mountain biking, this is the ultimate bar for most hobbyists but also for the professional rider.
The Craft Bike Transalp Challenge is one of the rare opportunities where beginners are racing in the same pack with world champions. The list of the Craft Bike Transalp winners is the who’s who in endurance mountain biking: Lakata, Kaufmann, Platt, Sahm, Huber, Sauser, Bresser to name only a few.
The scope of the Craft Bike Trabsalp Challenge
The race itself is a team race. Every team has two members in one of the following categories: men, masters, grand masters, mixed and women. The teams have to stay together, within 2 minutes of each other, in order to avoid disqualification. This 2 minute rule is enforced by several hidden check points throughout the course. On top of the extraordinary physical strain this also puts psychological stress on the racer: Agonize together, fail together, win together!
The organization of the Craft Bike Transalp Challenge
The entire Craft Bike Transalp organization is also unique in its professionalism. Countless medical teams on motocross machines and in helicopters ensure that injured participants get helped within minutes. Water and food stations at every other mile ensure hydration, energy supply and technical support if needed.
The different stage villages are known for the great food they offer after every stage finish. Every Craft Bike Transalp finish area converts to a music festival with great atmosphere. You can summarize the happenings of the day while replenishing your body with rare local specialties. The daily pasta party in the evening is a must go as well. A video show displays the highlights of the race day and the briefing for the following race day takes place.
The route of the Craft Bike Transalp Challenge – every year different
The Craft Bike Transalp event starts in Southern Germany, where houses still look like houses, beer tastes like beer and sausage is not only appreciated during Oktoberfest time: It’s Bavaria. Here at the northern border of the alps everything is green, smooth and lovely. A great area for the beginner and the advanced mountain biker.
Soon after the start, the Craft Bike Transalp riders arrive in Austria. Here the mountains are higher and the climbs longer. Everywhere you bike you are surrounded by ski slopes, lifts and gondolas. It looks rather odd and devastated in the summer. However, the winter tourism is an important part for the economy in this part of the Austria. After decades of debating if mountain bikers should be welcomed or not, a lot of lifts and gondolas are now operating in summer. This brings bikers up to the newly created downhill tracks. Agriculture is also important in summer. Local dairy farms are using the cool alpine pasture to bring up their herds which get fed by up to 30 different wild grasses instead of industrialized corn feeding. Thanks to agriculture and ski tourism mountain biking can be done on dirt roads to unbelievable heights of 8,000 ft/2.500m and more.
7 days. 370mls/600km. 60.000ft/19.000hm. 3 countries. 500 teams.
But this is nothing compared to the Swiss Alps. In some years the Craft Bike Transalp race route is going thru parts of the Swiss Alps: rocky, steep, simply impressive. As always, when crossing the alps the weather is an important factor. Often entire stages had to be redirected due to hail, snow or heavy rain and mud flow.
After crossing Austria and Switzerland the Craft Bike Transalp race brings the bikers to Italy. Once through the alps the climate change is dramatic. Coming from Livigno, via the east route or through the Dolomites via Cortina d’Ampezzo, the final is always in Riva del Garda at the North end of Lake Garda.
Lake Garda, the largest lake in Italy, is not that well known as compared to other Italian lakes in the north and west, but it is definitely the most versatile and impressive one. Due to the activities of Austrian and Italian troops during WW1 the entire region is one man made wonder of single tracks. This tragic leftover from a war has created a mountain bike heaven with miles and miles of steep and rocky trails.
To do’s after the Craft Bike Transalp Challenge
Further south, the mountains surrounding Lake Garda are smoother and disappear completely once you reach the southern end of the lake. Here the lake opens up and is so big that you can’t see the other side of the shore. The climate, food and people give you an absolute Mediterranean feel. There is no need to drive for additional hours to hit the crowded beaches of the Adriatic sea. Simply stay at Lake Garda, you will enjoy it a lot!
Sister races of the Craft Bike Transalp Challenge
There are now many great stage races, similar to the Craft Bike Transalp, around the globe: The Cape Epic in South Africa, The Crocodile Trophy in Australia, the Trans Rockies in Canada/USA (retired) and the 4 Peaks in Austria to name a few. However, there is only one original, the mother of all mountain bike stage-races: the Craft Bike Transalp Challenge.
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