Dear friends of the BTG,
it’s time for more news on the BTG! Thank you all for your feedback on our first newsletter. From what you wrote us we found that the most prominent question at this time of your preparation is: Which bike to choose for this ride?
From your feedback we see a wide range of bikes rolling towards the start line of the BTG: Fatbikes, Plus-sized bikes, rigid/hardtail/full-sus Mountainbikes, Gravelbikes and Crossers. However, no road bikes and trekking bikes so far, but who knows?
We guess that you want to spend most of your training rides on your weapon of choice for the BTG so we assume that this is the question with the highest priority and decided to dive into it.
While most of us would agree that a mountainbike (irrespective of suspension or lack of it) is a good choice, quite a few of you asked whether the BTG can be ridden on a gravelbike. This discussion was probably fueled by the fact that we had two racers with gravelbikes in our this year’s event with both of them doing very well. One of them, René Fischer, did so well that he won the race in a blistering time of 6 days and change. Especially following René made it look so easy that some might have been misleaded to the assumption that BTG is a perfect gravel race.
I had a long phone conversation with René a few hours after he finished the ride and learned that there were quite a few hours where it wasn’t as easy as it looked. So instead of answering your questions with our theoretical knowledge we found that it’s best to ask the guys who did it, if they are ready to share their knowledge. René didn’t hesitate a second to do so and enclosed with this e-mail you find a pdf with his thoughts. Thanks René for sharing!
We would appreciate if you send us your comments and questions to Renè’s write-up. Hopefully we will have a discussion resulting from it, so please don’t hesitate to send us your questions. This newsletter is not intended to be a one-way street. We will deal with the topics around the race in the sequence of relevance for you. ok?
By the way: Not all of you responded to the questions in our first newsletter:
1. Are you still planning to join the group start on 1st July?
2. What is your country of origin (will be published in the roster)?
3. Which bike do you plan to ride on the BTG (will be published in the roster)?
4. Are you interested in tracking (like www.trackleaders.com  or similar)?
5. Do you own a tracking device (SPOT, Delorme or similar)?
- If you answered them already: Ignore the rest of this mail!
- If not: Please help us by answering these questions! This makes planning so much easier! We will publish the race roster soon.
- If you don’t plan to ride BTG 2018 anymore: Please let us know.
- If you are not sure if you want to ride BTG2018: Please let us know.
- If you don’t want to see your name on the roster: Please let us know.
- If you want us to remove you from the mailing list: Please let us know. Thank you for your help. It is highly appreciated!
Keep on bringing in those training miles! Best,
Achim & Thomas
René Fischer – My experience with Bikepacking Trans Germany:
The most difficult decision that I had to make before the start of the BTG was the choice of bike: Can
I ride the BTG with my gravelbike?
After 1650 km and 20.000m of climbing I can say: Yes, it works! But…
I already had some experience riding gravel in long distance races. The last one was a Non‐Stop ride in late April, Candy B. Graveller (650km, 6000m of climbing).
My bike, a VPACE T1ST Titanium, built with SRAM Force 1×11 (38×11‐42), hydraulic disk brakes and WTB Nano 40 TCS tubeless. SON Hub‐Dynamo + Forumslader USB‐charger and some bikepacking specific equipment.
… I loved it on the fast rolling streets and gravel roads, I had lots of fun in easy off‐road‐terrain and on forest roads. I cursed on it on the slippery single trails along the river Rhine, pushed it a lot across the wet roots on the so called Albtrauf (a long section of technical singletrail in southern Germany). I didn’t have any fun on the rocky trail descents in the Chech Republic and I hated it in the sandy deserts in the German states of Brandenburg and Mecklenburg (in Eastern Germany).
After all, taking into account all the highs and lows, I had a lot of fun. In some sections I really suffered hard: The lack of suspension and the stretched position on the bike cause some real suffering the longer the race lasts. Even weeks after the race I struggled with numb fingertips. Quite a few times I yearned for my mountainbike with its upright seat position and suspension.
I was also lucky with the weather with only one day (the first) of rain. The rest of the time the track was dry and easy rideable. With 3 or 4 days of rain the whole picture would have changed completely.
I don’t give a recommendation here. I am just sharing my experience. If I come back in 2018 I will think a bit harder about which bike I take. I think my 29er fully rigid MTB with WTB Nanos 2,1” would be a good choice or even my Specialized Epic?
Maybe you can put it like this: If you want maximum fun while still riding fast, ride a mountainbike, maybe even with full suspension. If you’re just aiming for the fun, go for a Fatbike or a Singlespeed.
If you really want to race it and are ready to suffer, go for a lightweight and fast MTB or a Gravelbike to be in for a sub‐7‐day finish.
Have fun and ride safely! Best regards, René
PS: Here is the link to my album: https://photos.app.goo.gl/p5IltKAqsXWwfw3y1