NorthCape 4000 (NC4K)

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  • it would really undermine my motivation if I was slogging away on my own somewhere and I knew that others were drafting.


    Hello 2015 World 24hr Champs.

  • Interesting point, how does it feel different from TCR where the pairs can draft? I guess they’re in a different classification and are restricted to their original pairings. It definitely reduces the psychological aspect of the event, being able to ride with others. When we caught up with Bruno at a petrol station, he actually hung around waiting for us so he could he have some company. At the finish, those who finished solo in front didn’t seem to resent people riding together - I think they knew that they were still travelling faster solo anyway.

    It’s definitely a much much less competitive event than the TCR, having talked to people doing it who have ridden TCR before. It’s deliberately billed as not being a race, though there’s still a fair few trying to put in a good time. I think there were also fewer people ‘racing’ it than last year, given the larger spread of finishing times this year.

    I wouldn’t recommend it as a back-up for TCR if you’re after something really competitive, it’s more of an alternative to it. I went into it with a schedule I wanted to achieve for my first ultra-distance event, then found that I could do more miles in the second week than I’d expected. Riding with others definitely helped this as someone new to it. Also watching the dots when you’re in the moment is pretty good motivation.

    As an event in itself, the main plus point was the route - Sweden and Norway were spectacular, and the fixed track was pretty well done. Main downside is the poor organisation/ crap trackers they used this year. I think the concept is great, but they reeeally need to sort out the little things (for example, they had listed a bunch of bike shops near the airport at the finish so people could find boxes, but didn’t actually contact said bike shops to let them know the event was happening).

  • It's a bit misleading when they put "unsupported" in the title but allow drafting.

  • Yes, TCR pairs are in a separate event. I challenged two guys riding toghether this year to check they were a pair!

    Also, a pair is are not likely to be as fast as an equally-strong solo over the TCR as they have to wait for each other when one is tired, etc, which seems to offset their drafting and company advantage in practice. But solos forming unofficial alliances, then breaking them when they have served their purpose will always be faster.

    NC4000 sounds more like PBP, or audax in general, where riding with lots of others is a big part of the event and completely within the rules and the spirit.

    Some people on TCR are not that fussed about the race aspect, riding it as a personal challenge to get to the finish. But it is important for me - I raced as hard as I could for 31st place last time, and was hoping to do so again this time. I get a lot of my satisfaction from beating guys who are basically faster riders but can't quite put it all together so well - from planning the best route to not wasting time at stops. If the other guys are not racing back, all that feels a bit hollow, so I wouldn't feel good about it.

  • Just sounds like an audax.

    "not a race" + "unsupported"

    EDIT: What Frank said

  • Yes, it did feel a bit like a long audax. They should make that more obvious on their website, rather than blathering on about the ‘spirit of adventure’ for pages and pages.

    The ferry at the halfway point basically split the field into people who were and people who were not racing it - it only ran once a day, so making the Friday ferry put you a day ahead of everyone else. The two winners managed to put in 6 400k+ days to make the Thursday ferry, basically giving them an unassailable lead for the second half.

    This meant the ‘field’ was effectively 15 riders, and everyone knew that everyone else on that ferry was in it to race. People like Meaghan and Bruno (5th, 6th) did so well by racing exactly like you said - they nailed the stops, could sleep on a sixpence, and churned away all day long, but not riding particularly fast. It was really interesting to chat to them all at the end and find out how different people’s strategies were, given that there was not much in it at the end.

  • Is it also that even if they provide you a fixed route you don't really have to follow that? Just visit the mandatory "gates". Their concept seems a bit vague to me and I haven't been too impressed with the routes they have provided. Last time it went thru Finland they just make it go most of time on the main road to the north which is pretty horrible to cycle on mostly.

    The event itself seems to be established nicely and since they keep changing the route every year they can keep improving.

  • That’s also a bit ambiguous - it’s a compulsory fixed track, but they said many times that you can take a different route if it ‘feels unsafe’. They routed it into a lot of bike paths, which was sometimes good and sometimes terrible.

    Two riders were penalised for taking an alternative route that skipped out a bunch of elevation, the exchange on the Facebook group implied they thought they could take whatever route they liked between gates. Everyone else seems to have followed the track.

    In general the route felt pretty good, made use of some nice roads and meant you weren’t barrelling down motorway hard shoulders trying to take the fastest route. Once you’re in northern Norway there’s basically only one road though so you’re in with the lorries (not that it’s heavily trafficked).

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NorthCape 4000 (NC4K)

Posted by Avatar for CowHen @CowHen