Lost Dot, best known for organising the Transcontinental Race (TCR) and the Trans Pyrenees Race (TPR), has unveiled a new race called 'The Accursed Race' (TAR) at Rouleur Live today. Breaking new ground, this race will be a no-fly event, traversing the rugged terrains of Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo.
The race kicks off in Shkodër, Albania on 14 May 2024 and the inaugural edition will cover 1,600km with 37,000 metres of climbing. Unlike the TCR, where riders will plot their own route through fixed checkpoints TAR will follow a set route.
The event is named after the legendary Accursed Mountains in the southern Dinaric Alps (in Bosnia and Herzegovina) and has been in the works since 2017.
"The Balkans are the heartlands of the Transcontinental. This race gives us the opportunity to explore the region in minute detail – taking riders away from the road and into the rugged, remote, and hugely diverse landscapes on offer there," Andrew Phillips, Race Director, said.
Raising awareness of ultra racing's carbon footprint
TAR race image, by Lost Dot
One of the standout features of The Accursed Race is that it will be a no-fly event, signifying a significant moment for Lost Dot and potentially setting a precedent for the wider world of ultra racing. No-fly means that the participants should find the most low-carbon way possible to travel to the start line.
"As awareness of the climate crisis grows, more and more riders are going to be looking to partake in events that they can travel to overland," Phillips noted. "We want to show the community, and the wider industry, that this is what sustainable bike racing can look like."
In 2022 Lost Dot conducted a carbon footprint analysis which revealed that 70 per cent of the organisation's 487-tonne annual carbon dioxide (CO2) footprint was attributed to riders' travel to and from races, with the majority of emissions stemming from aviation.
As a response, Lost Dot introduced the Low-Carbon Travel Fund to support 10 riders in taking flight-free travel to and from the Transcontinental Race. Additionally, it introduced the Green Leaderboard as a new race classification at TCR and TPR, rewarding riders who choose flight-free travel.
"Sustainability is a core pillar of our social mission and is a vital part of ensuring we can keep responsibly running our races in a livable world," Hannah Larbalestier, Race Coordinator, commented.
These initiatives have already made an impact, with a significant increase in riders opting for low-carbon travel methods.
"It shows us that the appetite is there for low-carbon modes of travel and that hosting a no-fly event is now a viable option," Larbalestier said.
Lost Dot will offer riders guidance on sustainable travel options and arrange a bus service from the nearest ferry port to ease logistical challenges. Shkodër, the starting town of the new TAR race, is most accessible from Western Europe via high-speed trains along the east coast of Italy, followed by an overnight ferry to Durrës.
Applications for The Accursed Race are set to open in November 2023, and you can follow the latest developments of the race on social media.
Images © Lost Dot / Samantha Saskia Dugon
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