TCR9, part 4: the long road to CP3

Part 4 of 5 in the series TCR #9

Sigh. Day 5.

I won’t forget the feeling of waking up and looking at Instagram/WhatsApp that morning. People had commented on my “different” route and were asking what my plan was. That didn’t sound good.

A message to me on Instagram saying how exciting my route was!

I opened up the live map to see that everyone else (and I mean everyone else) had gone east immediately after CP2, setting a blistering pace over the flatlands toward Zagreb. Meanwhile, I’d been faffing around in the hills and was going south toward the Adriatic coast at what felt like a snail’s pace.



What I’m doing in July

I’m doing two ultra events this year.

The Bright Midnight

09:00, 9th July 2023, Tolga, Norway

1000 km of tarmac and gravel, snaking through the mountains and national parks of Eastern and Western Norway.

Since Around Norway in 2021 I’ve been longing to go back there with my bike and explore some of the farther-flung, less tarmacky parts of the country. So when I got wind of The Bright Midnight I signed up immediately, never mind that it was less than two weeks before the TCR.

Honestly, doing an ultra event quite so close to the TCR is really not ideal. I’ll have a little more than one week to recover. But whatever, I really want to do this – caution to the wind.

In any case, I certainly won’t be racing it. On the contrary, I’ll take my time as much as possible, aiming to get back not too long before the official cut-off – at most 250 km/day. I’m pretty excited about being able to just ride my bike without worrying about who might be about to overtake me, not having to flee the scene after a petrol station resupply like a bank heist getaway, and without the misery of waking up sleep-deprived at 2am every morning. Practically a holiday 🥳

The Transcontinental Race

22:00, 23rd July 2023, Geraardsbergen, Belgium

Then of course there’s the TCR. I told myself (and Miranda) last year that I wouldn’t be doing the next one – the stress and anxiety of the training, planning, and logistics being just too much.

But then I scratched, and that changed things. I want to finish it, so here I am again on the start list for the 9th edition.

This one is a fair bit shorter than last year’s – by about about 1,000 km – but the mountains make up for that. My route weighs in (according to Komoot) at 48,000 m of climbing over 3,500 km.

My route this year passes through 12 countries:

  1. 🇧🇪 Belgium
  2. 🇫🇷 France
  3. 🇨🇭Switzerland
  4. 🇮🇹 Italy
  5. 🇦🇹 Austria
  6. 🇸🇮 Slovenia
  7. 🇭🇷 Croatia
  8. 🇧🇦 Bosnia & Herzegovina
  9. 🇲🇪 Montenegro
  10. 🇦🇱 Albania
  11. 🇲🇰 North Macedonia
  12. 🇬🇷 Greece

…With control points in Italy, Slovenia, Albania, and Greece. This time I’ll be paying much more attention to border crossings – i.e., doing them legally 😇

I’ve made some kit changes this time round, including replacing the front and rear Restrap bags with a Tailfin. The idea is that it’ll save me time in two ways: a) it’s bigger than I need, so less faffing about getting everything perfectly tessellated, and b) it’s easier to get into in the first place. No straps to adjust; just roll it closed and go. Cost an arm and a leg, though, so let’s hope it pays off.

Full kit list will follow after the event because I don’t have the mental capacity for it right now.


Quantum computers?

The following is a transcript of an answer that I posted on Stack Overflow in response to the question:

I read a while back that quantum computers can break most types of hashing and encryption in use today in a very short amount of time (I believe it was mere minutes). How is it possible? I’ve tried reading articles about it but I get lost at the “a quantum bit can be 1, 0, or something else”. Can someone explain how this relates to cracking such algorithms in plain English without all the fancy maths?



Writing liberates the mind

I discovered a nice website called Medium the other day (having been sent a distressing piece on the decline of antibiotics), and started browsing for interesting reading. One of the articles I came across encouraged readers not to read, but to write.

The author argues that today’s Internet is so focused on consumption that there’s no need for creativity any more, which I find kind of sad. I’ve always believed in learning through explanation and discourse (partly why I enjoy teaching), so the author’s suggestion is appealing.

So this is what I’m going to do: write a blog article every week or two, and see where things go.