Bikes of The Accursed Race 2024

Bikes of The Accursed Race 2024

14 May, 2024

What would you pack for an inaugural race in the Balkans? Lost Dot’s first edition of the Accursed Race started this morning from Shkodër, Albania. This 1,600km off-road route is a rideable addition to the growing racing scene in south eastern Europe. It has been years in the making and takes riders to the Balkans, a part of the continent that Lost Dot Race Coordinator, Andrew Phillips, calls the spiritual heart of the Transcontinental Race.

There’s very little that’s certain about an inaugural race in such a relatively untravelled part of Europe, and riders are certainly packing for the unknown! All bikes look to be suitably equipped for the rigours of off-road riding with a healthy mix of drop bars, flat bars and varying tyre widths. Some have opted for a racked system, while others a more traditional bikepacking setup with a saddle pack.

Our very own Beccy Waters will be writing commentary with support from equally uninitiated TCR veterans! Follow along with the commentary here.

Oliver Neumann

Age: 47

Cap number: 16

Location: Freiburg/Germany

Bike: Salsa Stormchaser 52.5, Intend Samurai GR with 60 mm travel, Shimano GRX 1x11, front caliper Shimano SLX 4 piston 180mm disc, rear caliper Shimano GRX 2 piston 160mm disc, SON dynamo hub 15x110, and René Herse Juniper Ridge tyres 48x584.

Key items of kit: Ortlieb bags: 2x Fork Pack 4.1L, 1x Fuel Pack, 1x Frame Pack RC 4L, and 1x Handlebar Pack QR. Vaude bag: Trailsaddle.

Andrew Hatton

Age: 56

Cap number: 26

Location: London, United Kingdom

Bike: Scott Aspect 910, 29er, not particularly fancy or light but hopefully reliable, lovingly fettled into its current spec by my LBS in Putney. Features Rockshox Judy 100mm forks and a Cane Creek Thudbuster seat post, hopefully taking a bit of the sting out of the Accursed. It boasts a very much mixed groupset including SRAM NX cranks and an Eagle XG 10-52 cassette for the ups and downs, alongside Shimano MT220 brakes/rotors for the stopping power. Running tubeless Vittoria Mezcal 29 x 2.25 tires on aluminum rims.

Key items of kit: A mix of Ortlieb and Restrap bags, essentially what I've acquired over the last few years. Lights are from Outbound Lighting, a great company based in Chicago, known for their excellent trail lights. My sleep system leans towards the luxury end of the market, featuring a Raab Raider Hooped Bivvy, Exped sleeping mat, Alpkit sleeping bag, and a Thermarest down pillow - the whole ensemble offering almost as much space and comfort as my small London flat. My lucky item, hopefully not needed but just in case, is a tick remover!

Adrien Liechti

Age: 39

Cap number: 12

Location: On the road


Key items of kit: I'll be racing the Accursed on my Bombtrack Cale AL 2024, equipped with a tuned Fox 34 fork, DT Swiss 1200 XMC wheels, Rene Herse Fleecer Ridge 55mm Endurance tires, a 12-speed Shimano XT groupset, and a full Apidura setup from the Backcountry series.

Christopher Rißmann

Age: 35

Cap number: 21

Location: Berlin, Germany

Bike: For the inaugural Edition of the Accursed Race i am going to ride my newly build Bike for the first Time! The Base is a Bombtrack Beyond +2. I hooked it up with Hunt Race XC 29inch Wheels, although it is originally a 650b Frame. Only thing i had to change is the SID SL Ultimate Fork. Groupset is Sram GX Eagle. Brakes are Shimano SLX. I have opted for a mixed Vittoria Setup of 2,1 Barzo in the Front for extra Grip and 2,25 Mezcal in the Back for better rolling. For comfort Ergonomics i have choosen Ergon SM Pro Saddle and SQ Labs 710 Grips to be comfortable for the longest Time possible.

Key items of kit: My Bag Setup is Mix of different Brands. Aero Pack and Down Tube is Tailfin. Fullframe Restrap Bag, a small Topeak Toptube Bag and a Foodpouch by Blackburn. A Supernova m99 DY Pro powerd by a SON 28 Dynamo will be lighting my nights. Cars will be attracted by Exposure Lights Blaze MKII. For the first Time i will use a Dynamo powerd USB charger - the Fahrradlader v3.1 combined with a passthrough Batterypack. Sleeping Setup is Basic lightweight Therm-a-Rest Sleeping Pad, trusty Carinthia Sleeping Bag and a Budget SOL Escape Bivy.

Thomas Chateau

Age: 48

Cap number: 22

Location: Le Mans / France

Bike: Fairlight Secan 2.0 (Reynolds 853 steel bike) featuring a Shimano 2x11 GRX800 transmission with 44/28 TA Specialité chainrings, Shimano XT 11/40 cassette, and Shimano XT trail pedals. It rolls on Hunt alloy 650b wheels with Teravail Rutland 27.5x2.1 durable tubeless tires. Equipped with a SON28 Dynamo, Igaro D2 USB converter, SON lights, and Knog+ rear blip. It boasts a Chris King headset, FSA cockpit with Arundel Rubber Gecko bar tape, Crane bellring, and Deda Parabolica bar-ends. Finished with a Brooks C17 carved all-weather saddle and three bottles.

Key items of kit: Outfit: Kask Mojito helmet, Rapha Brevet bib & Explore zip neck technical shirt, Brevet merino socks, Fizik Terra Ergolace shoes, Rapha Explore gilet, Sea to Summit ultralight bag.

Apidura/Rapha handlebar bag (with Sea to Summit 70D dry bag): Outdoor Research Helium bivy, Sea to Summit ultralight mat, Pajak Radical X sleeping bag, Cocoon Thermolite liner.

Helmut Équipement frame bag: Lezyne caddy for identity card and money (euro, lek, konvertible marks), phone, cables and chargers, Zendure 10.000 "Mini" and Anker 10.000 "533" power banks, tools, Squirt lube, Lezyne pump and tyre patches, Orange Sealant refill, Maxalami repair kit, 2 Continental light tubes, Supernova Airstream spare lights, Petzl Actik Core headlamp.

Helmut Équipement saddle bag (on Carradice Bagman support with struts): Enlightenment Equipement Climashield warm jacket, Albion rain pants, BlackYak rain jacket, Loeffler GTX overshoes, PEdALED arm warmers, Rapha Merino things (baselayer, leg warmers, socks, spare jersey), toiletry and pharmacy kit, emergency blanket, food.

David Sanchez

Age: 30

Cap number: 19

Location: Lausanne, Switzerland

Bike: Felt Doctrine circa 2019, SRAM drivetrain with 30T x 10-50T gearing, Shimano SLX brakes, DT Swiss wheels with a SON dynamo hub, 2.2’’ Continental Race King tires, Ergon grips paired with Pro Missile aerobars for comfort.

Key items of kit: A salad mix of owned and borrowed Apidura bags, including a 2L bladder inside the frame bag and a 1L bottle on the downtube. Equipped with a Garmin 830 and eTrex 30x for backup navigation, with a Sinewave beacon paired with a Supernova light at the rear for visibility. Carrying an extra Apidura musette for resupplies in case of cycling-induced munchies. Sleeping gear includes a Sea to Summit ultralight air mat, Spark SP2 sleeping bag, and for the first time, an inflatable pillow. Enjoying offline curated music playlists on the phone for extra fun.

Konrad Kowara

Age: 45

Cap number: 7

Location: The Netherlands

Bike: Orbea Oiz TR fitted with a longer road stem and aero bars for optimal comfort. Mostly Shimano XT/XTR components and a 32T Raceface chainring. Rolling on a Maxxis Rekon Race tire at the front and a Wolfpack Speed at the back for a blend of resilience, grip, and rolling resistance.

Key items of kit: Aeroe Spider back and front racks, along with a Restrap top tube bag. Embracing the brand anarchist spirit with lots of mismatching lights, tires, and bags. Sleeping kit consists of a bivvy and a sleeping bag.

Alexander Kopp

Age: 37

Cap number: 27

Location: Innsbruck, Austria

Bike: I will ride my Specialized Epic with an Intend Samurai Fork/Intend Hover OPT. Damper, PI ROPE/Beast Components XC25 Wheels, Continental Race King and Shimano 12-speed (30-51T).

Key items of kit: Bags are from the awesome brand Tailfin. Lupine lite setup for the helmet/ Supernova for the handlebar, Cumulus sleeping bag, SFM mounts from Tailfin for the water bottles on the fork, a lot of motivation from my side.

Martin Zettel

Age: 52

Cap number: 4

Bike: The Open U.P. bike is equipped with SRAM Force, DT Swiss GR1600 wheels, a 3T handlebar, Syntace Aerobar, and a Redshift stem.

Key items of kit: Bags from Apidura and Tailfin, ZPack tent, Highlight sleeping bag, Knog (rear) and Lupine (front) lights, and Q36.5 clothes and shoes.

Nick Percival

Age: 61

Cap number: 09

Location: Devon, UK

Bike: Sonder Broken Road Ti. This bike has seen many adventures & I favour a small 28t oval chainring. SON dynamo drives the Exposure Revo light at night and Sinewave usb in the daytime. SQLab inner bar ends are a favourite of mine to give a great alternative position for resting the hands and altering the head & neck position.

Key items of kit: Lots of Alpkit bags and kit including the custom frame bag with reflective piping. On this adventure I’m using a small Terra Nova tent if a bit of shelter is needed in the Accursed mountains. I’ve moved the sleeping kit into the Tailfin rear pack this time as it’s heavier than the extra clothes and I don’t have any cooking gear.

Lutz Wellensiek

Age: 21

Cap number: 17

Location: Germany

Bike: ROSE Backroad SRAM AXS Mullet Build.

Key items of kit: Jack the bike Rack in the front. Self made middle bag. And a saddlebag in the bag.

Ronny Roelandt

Age: 59

Cap number: 34

Location: Geraardsbergen, Belgium

Bike: Specialized Epic HT with fixed carbon fork, 11-speed (11-46) Shimano XT gear, and Alu DT-Swiss wheels with tubeless tires (front Schwalbe Thunder Burt/back Specialized Fast Trak).

Key items of kit: Ride with GPS navigation system (Garmin Edge 1000 as backup), 2 power banks 27,000mAh, 4 bags in total, and 3 water bottles fixed to frame.

David Kealhofer

Age: 33

Cap number: 31

Location: Zürich, Switzerland

Bike: I’m not sure if it’s better described as a vanilla setup or a noob setup. (Both are fair.) It’s a Canyon Exceed CF 5, basically stock, so 100 mm travel on a Rockshox Recon, 1x11 Shimano groupset, nothing exotic. The minor exceptions are a Salsa Rustler bar, a WTB Koda saddle, and a SON dynamo front hub on a DT Swiss XM 421 rim. Just for the race, I put on a set of new René Herse Fleecer Ridge tires and swapped on a left-side 4iii power meter, whose only, doomed purpose is to tell me more good news than bad. The final weight is a bit heavier than stock, thanks mainly to the dynamo. Not much deep thought went into this–it’s the bike I had, it’s plenty nice, it’s treated me pretty well, but I don’t really know what I’m getting into and I’m not gonna like buy a whole new bike, right?

Key items of kit: My main carrying volume comes from a Restrap 14 L saddle bag and a Revelate Pronghorn front roll. Odds and ends go in the Apidura frame bag, snacks and toiletries in the Restrap stem bags, and most of the tools in the Apidura downtube bag. I’m bringing the Apidura packable musette for some extra snack capacity. I’ve never used a bivy bag before because I am not really a loner/badass, so it’s dumb money talking, but I’m taking the OR Helium Bivy. The rest of the sleep kit is a Sea to Summit air mat and pillow, and a RAB bag. I’ve found the bivy’s a lot comfier staked out, so I am bringing some stakes, too. Power is from a battery charged by the SON hub via a Sinewave Revolution. Primary front lighting is a SON Edelux, suspended above the front roll on an action camera mount, a little ridiculous, and from behind its assorted Knog blinkies. As for barely defensible creature comforts, I’m bringing a crummy mp3 player with corded headphones to rescue my phone’s battery from my thirst for tunes, a little tin of chamois cream, and a bulky but cozy hoodie to bring the mood up in the cool crepuscular times. Dry weight for the bicycle and kit is 23.4 kg.

Köves Lajos

Age: 40

Cap number: 42b

Location: Várpalota, Hungary

Bike: This is my XL Open WI.DE SRAM Force Red 1x12 (52-10/38 powering the K-lite MTB light). It’s a workhorse of a bike and my go-to guide rig for bikepacking races. I have kitted it out with DT Swiss M502 27.5er wheels laced into a DT350 rear hub and Shimano dynamo upfront. Pirelli Gravel M 2.0" tyres providing the grip and "suspension". Aside from a new bar and stem for fit purposes, the rest is pretty much stock. Selle San Marco Ground CFX is the perfect choice to avoid the saddle sore.

Key items of kit: All bike luggage is from Apidura - frame and saddle bags along with two fuel pods on the top tube. I will also be taking a Salomon Trail 12L hydration backpack. All the cold weather and rain gear to keep warm in the Balkan wilderness. I’m taking a mix of GOREWEAR products with me. Blistering hot temperatures during the day, high chances of rain and snow, and riding through the night are all things to be considered. Wahoo Elemnt Bolt for navigation, paired with Komoot maps on the phone as redundancy. I am using Cumulus Lite 200 sleeping bags paired with a Sea To Summit insulated sleeping mat.

Hans-Rudolf Nyfeler

Age: 61

Cap number: TARNo1cap1

Location: Schweiz

Bike: AWSON with Shimano GRX 820 and Aerycs GCX Terra 50 wheels.

Key items of kit: Bags: Topeak, Front lights: Busch & Müller IQ-X, Hub dynamo: SUN Edolux and Sleep System: Sea to Summit Spark -1C Down Sleeping bag.

Damian van Loon

Age: 51

Cap number: 14

Location: Perth, Australia

Bike: Trek Procaliber 9.6 (2023) with RockShox SID Ultimate 29" 120mm fork, Shimano 12s XTR & SLX 30t groupset (51-10t), Shimano M9120 XTR pedals, Melody Wheels front carbon SON Dynamo, Bontrager Line rear carbon wheel, ReneHERSE Fleecer Ridge 55 endurance tyres, Specialized S-Works Power carbon saddle, Deda Parabolica Uno aero bars, Busch&Muller Luxos USB front dynamo light, Ergon GP2 grips. Find me on Instagram/Strava: UltraCyclingLife.

Key items of kit: Blackburn frame and saddle bags, Topeak top tube bags, Restrap stem bags, Spot Gen3 satellite tracker, Garmin Edge 1040 Solar, Garmin eTrex 22x, Gloworm X2 Adventure Lightset (G2.0), Moon Mizar front flashers, Knog Blinder rear flashers, Camelbak Crux 3L bladder, Platypus Hoser 3L bladder, Osprey Syncro 10 backpack, Lezyne Road Drive pump, Sea to Summit Spark 2 sleeping bag, Thermarest NeoAir XLite mat, MSR E-Bivy, Patagonia, DHB, Castelli, and Endura clothing, Shimano ME7 MTB shoes, MET Trenta 3k Mips carbon helmet, Oakley Flak 2.0 sunglasses, iPhone 15 Pro Max 256GB.

Florian Büchele

Age: 32

Cap number: 25

Location: Graz, Austria

Bike: Canyon Exceed CF 5 with Shimano Deore SLX. Main lights powered by SON28. Ortlieb Seat pack, Apudura top tube bag, Sleeping bag straped to Aerobars. (+Musette to bring more snacks). Continental Race King.

Key items of kit: Lots of 3d printed accessories, my favourite: mini bottle cage for chain lube.

Samuel Rosport

Age: 30

Cap number: 41b

Location: Nuernberg, Germany

Bike: Funworks 29er carbon frame, Rockshox SID Sl and a SON dynamo. A old fashioned 2x10 kit with Shimano XT and XX components. For seating a trusted Speedneedle gets the job done

Key items of kit: The SON dynamo with a Llum front light is a key feature, charging devices while also being powered by a power bank. Its ability to start at low speeds is beneficial for this race. For sleeping, I use a Decathlon sleeping mat, Sea to Summit Spark sleeping bag, and a Salewa bivy. All fitted into Ortlieb bags and a gold friends Apidura frame bag.

Isabelle Berti

Age: 36

Cap number: 41a

Location: Nuremberg, Germany

Bike: True Love Cycles “Heart Breaker” custom fillet-brazed steel, Shimano XT, NON+, SON, OneUp, Duke Carbon, only the best of the best.

Key items of kit: Custom framebag, handlebar bag, and saddlebag prototypes from TRVLTRIO, made by myself, to fit all belongings for the adventure.

Peter Oláh

Age: 39

Cap number: 420a

Location: Zsámbék, Hungary

Bike: Merida Big Nine 8000 hardtail MTB featuring 100mm RockShox SID suspension and a complete SRAM X01 groupset with a 32T chainring and 10/50 sprocket. Riding on 2.35 Specialized Ground Control on the front and 2.25 Schwalbe Racing Ray on the rear wheel. Equipped with Profile Design aero bars and SQ Lab inner bar ends. Also fitted with a SON dynamo and a K-lite Bikepacker I.

Key items of kit: I have an Apidura frame pack (6L) and a saddle bag (9L), along with a reflective Restrap top tube bag (1.5L) and a Salomon Cross 12 hydro pack. For navigation, I'll be using a Garmin 530 and a Suunto Peak 9 watch.

Lissa Breugelmans

Age: 34

Cap number: 02

Location: The Netherlands

Bike: A Kona Honzo Al/Dl with handbuilt DT Swiss wheels and a Son 28 dynamo hub in the front, 1×12 setup with a 28T chainring, 100mm dropper post, WTB Trailboss 2.25″ front and back and a WTB Koda saddle.

Key items of kit: The bar harnEss is DIY from a placemat and old Restrap drybag, attached to a Kids Ride Shotgun handlebar (the only brackets I found that can clamp to 35mm). Custom framebag, stembags and saddlebag by Witslingers. The framebag fits a 1.5L Apidura bladder in the lower compartment. My Sinewave Beacon light with integrated USB-port will help me to get through the night and keep my navigation charged. Sleeping set-up is ultra lightweight with a Sea to Summit Flame sleeping bag, Exped synmat UL, and Alpkit Kloke bivy.

Roel Massink

Age: 40

Cap number: 30

Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Bike: Canyon Exceed

Key items of kit: Mixed bags from Restrap, Ortlieb, Tailfin, Loose Cycles. Exped Bivy and EE quilt, Exposure light, full waterproof set. 3 large water bidons. Foldable backpack for extra carrying capacity.

Mudit Kohli

Age: 29

Cap number: 32

Location: India

Bike: Canondale lefty with 47mm tires.

Key items of kit: Tailfin seatpack, Topeak top tube bag, and Alpkit frame bag.

Scotty Cornish

Age: 51

Cap number: 5

Location: Chamonix, France

Bike: Shand Bahookie. Handbuilt wheels (by myself) WTB CZR i30 rims with Vittoria Mezcals in 29x2.25. A tried and tested set up. Suntour Axon-Werx34 fork.

Key items of kit: Exposure Revo light powered by an SP dynamo hub. With a Cinq Plug6 head unit and battery. Also helmet mounted Exposure Diablo. Tailfin packs with a Wildcat Gear handlebar harness and bag for sleeping kit. Custom frame bag by a friend in Germany.

Sönke Kreft

Age: 41

Cap number: 24

Location: Cologne, Germany

Bike: The bike is a 2022 Canyon Exceed CF 7, with TRP Shifter instead of standard SRAM GX Eagle. Wheels are Reynolds Carbon rims, and Vittoria Mezcal tires in 2.25/ tubeless. Cockpit has some SQlab inner bar ends and time trial extensions from Profile Design. It has an RFR dropper post. All rest is standard Canyon…

Key items of kit: Mixed bag(s): Sea to Summit dry bag with sleep kit (down sleeping bag, bivy bag from Mountain Equipment, Exped Ultra 1 sleeping pad); saddle bag: Revelate Spine Lock with Sea to Summit fastener, frame bag: cheapy Amazon, not so cheap Restrap top tube bag and food pouch. And another Sea to Summit dry bag for the tools that goes to the handlebar. Battery pack is an Anker 737 with a 120W charger. Lights are from Lezyne, and a Lupine Neo for the helmet. Highlight is my all-cotton T-shirt and boxers that I take for the night. Feature item is the Milkit booster bottle, which should help against the anxiety to run out of CO2 canister…