Bikes of Trans Balkans Race 2023

Bikes of Trans Balkans Race 2023

1 June, 2023

The bikes of the 2023 Trans Balkans Race. This 1350km race with 27,000m of ascent will see riders tackling Balkan gravel with a 98% rideability. Will riders favour light and fast or savour the journey?

Follow along here.

Askan von Schirnding

Name: Askan von Schirnding

Age: 29

Cap number: 95

Location: Gernany

Bike: Rose Backroad

Key items of kit: Dynamo, Bottle under aerobars.

Gabi Winck

Name: Gabi Winck

Age: 60

Cap number: 128

Location: Brixen, South Tyrol, Italy

Bike: Trek Procaliber 9.8, Carbon, IsoSpeed, Fork: Fox Performance 32, Boost110; Retractable seatpost: Fox Racing Transfer SL Factory; Crank: e*thirteen TRS Race Carbon, 30T; Cassette: Shimano XT M8100, 9-50, 12-speed; Brakes: Shimano Deore XT M8100 hydraulic disc; Bontrager RSL Integrated handlebar; Wheel front: XM 421 - DT Swiss, Hub Dynamo: SON 28; Wheel rear: Bontrager Kovee Elite 30 Carbon, Tubeless Ready; Tyre: Vittoria mezcal III 29’’x 2,25’’; Saddle: ISM PL1.; Syntace Aerobar.

Key items of kit: BAGS: I hope that in the end I don't carry too many things to in the Tailfin AeroPack Carbon, 1 Tailfin mini pannier, Apidura Expedition handlebar pack & Apidura expedition accessory pocket, Apidura packable backpack; Revelate Designs Gas Tank, Revelate Designs Mountain Feedbag Handlebar Bag; Apidura racing hydration vest. Not in the picture: Two Tailfin Cargo Cages mounted on the suspension fork - for additional water bottles

GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: Front light is a SON Edelux II powered by a Son 28 dynamo and on my helmet: Lupine Piko; rear lights are Bontrager flare RT and Lupine Rotlicht Max LED. Battery chargers are NC-17, Connect APPCON 3000; mini pump: Lezyne Micro Floor Drive. I also hope that I find my way safely north with my Garmin Edge 1040. I want to dream for a few (or more?) hours in my tent: Nordisk – Lofoten2, on my Therma-a-Rest NeoAir mat and my thin sleeping bag: Yeti/ Passion One. And last but not least that my seat bones are not too strained on my saddle ISM PL 1.1 in my beloved cycling shorts Skinfit tri shorts and Assos half shorts. As always- no matter about the weight: As my lucky item I absolutely have to bring my little scuffed white BEAR with me, who accompanied me on the Atlas Mountain Race, GBDuro, NorthCape4000 and Three Peaks Bike Races, among others.

Nicky Shaw

Name: Nicky Shaw

Age: 33

Cap number: 81

Location: Harrogate, UK

Bike: Trek Procaliber 9.6

Key items of kit: - Apidura Backcountry bag setup with Albion kit, tailored to the mountains and remoteness with max water capacity of 4L.

  • Exposure Maxx-D Front light and Lezyne Macro Drive 1300 as back up.

  • Alpkit Numo mat, Alpkit Hunka Bivvy and RAB solar 1 sleeping bag.

  • Wahoo Roam to guide the way.

Jacques Brown

Name: Jacques Brown

Age: 50

Cap number: 14

Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Bike: My bike of choice is the Sunpeed Rock which is a carbon fibre frame with a weight of 11.5kg. The bike comes with a standard 1x12 drivetrain and a 34T chainring. I've added pedals which feature both a clipless side and a platform side giving me the option to clip in or ride trickier sections using the platform side. I initially put a thin carbon fibre seat on but that didn't withstand riding on rough terrain so moved back to a more solid plastic cast seat. Gone through four different options before settling on the right one for me. (Seat choice is so important!!!) Front tubeless tire is the Vittoria Barzo and rear is Mitas Kratos.

Key items of kit: BAGS: I've gone for the M-Wave frame bag and seat pack (11L). It's a tight squeeze for everything I'm packing but I've managed to get everything in, including a small gas cooker and pot set. Rock Bros top tube bag for my spare tube, chain and tools. On the handlebars I've put a basket with a small cooler bag with two compartments. One to keep drinks cold and the other for food. Packing enough liquids is my primary concern, so I'll be carrying roughly 8L of liquids in total spread out between my 3L Camelpac, a custom bottle carrier on the frame, the cooler and frame bag. GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: For navigation I've gone with the Wahoo Elemnt V2. For power I've chosen a lite foldable solar panel and power bank. So solar by day and power bank by night. All my other gear is pretty much standard gear for races like this but I have added a rain poncho as I want to stay as dry as possible and the extra layer over my waterproofs will ensure this. It's also great to put over my tent (presumably 100% waterproof) or create shade where none can be found. Adding the gas cooker and pot set has been a huge internal debate but it's being packed in. A warm soup or coffee, or hot meal when I'm cold, wet and out in the middle of nowhere hundreds of km's from any resupply, will keep me sane.

Angus Buchanan

Name: Angus Buchanan

Age: 53

Cap number: ??

Location: Hampshire, UK

Bike: Specialized Epic

Key items of kit: The Bike: Specialized Epic Hard Tail frame built with all the bits I like. MCFK stem and bars, Rotor Kapic cranks and 34t chain ring, Shimano 12 speed XTR 10-51t , S-Works power pro saddle, Cane Creek Hell Bender BB, Duke Crazy Jack Wheels with DTSwiss 350 IS hubs, Hope XR brakeset, RockShox SID forks and Conti RaceKing tyres to front and back which is possibly a leap of faith with trail conditions, time will tell....and my lucky Spurlock bell.... Bags: Mix of Revelate and Restrap bags and I'll ride with CamelBak SkyLine with 3L bladder (in addition to 1L on the bike) since managing water will be a challenge on this route Gear highlights: Set of SQLabs inner bar ends for variety on hand position will wear a bit of Buchanan tartan for inspiration

Wes Rosè

Name: Wes Rosè

Age: 43

Cap number: 76

Location: Belgium

Bike: Rocky Mountain Element 2017

Key items of kit: Spair grips, ultra small survival kit-

Michael Brandstötter

Name: Michael Brandstötter

Age: 48

Location: Vienna/Austria

Bike: I will be riding the TBR2023 on a Ti 2021 Falkenjagd Aristos CR Gravel. The bike features a Rohloff 14 Speedhub and 50/22 belt Gates drive, 27,5" carbon wheels with a SON Dynamo hub and Rene Herse Umtanum tubeless 2,2" Tires.

The bike is extremely durable, albeit at 10.5kg it's not particularly light weight. I like the maintenance free setup, the excellent dampening of the titan fork and the Controltech Sirocco mini Aerobar for more hand positions.

Key items of kit: Center piece of my bags is the Tailfin Aeropack together with their 5l panniers. Half Frame bag is an Ortlieb rolltop 4l which holds my food and occasional cooking gear. Spare parts and repair kit go into the down tube bottle. Top tube bag from Apidura carries my electronics. Whenever possible I like to have my handlebar free of bags for a more agile and light weight feeling, so just 2 Blackburn food pouches are placed there. For the same reason I never carry any kind of backpack to reduce fatigue of my neck or hands. My sleep system is a Katabatic Gear Bristlecone Bivy, SeaToSummit Ether Light XT mattress with a heavenly 7cm thickness and a DIY 650g Down Quilt, in total 1300g.

Malgorzata Warelich

Name: Malgorzata Warelich

Age: 46

Location: Köln / Germany

Bike: CUBE Reaction Race C:62 Carbon. Mixture of Shimano Deore XT and SRAM XT with 34 x 11-51. Tires 29 inch Newmen Evolution SL / Continental Black Chili Compound. Lighting: Lupine front light 1100 lumens, Lupine rear light Max LED 40 lumens. Garmin Edge 1040 GPS.

Key items of kit: Bags are a mixture of: Tailfin saddlebags with clothing, spare parts, hygiene cosmetics, etc. Ortlieb Pack handlebar bag with sleeping bag (Carinthia 625 grams), bivy bag and inflatable mattress. Frame bag with power bank, mobile phone, charging cable. And 2 small cockpit snack bags with provisions and a hydration vest (2 liters)

Tom Vangeneugden

Name: Tom Vangeneugden

Age: 40

Location: Amsterdam

Bike: Trek Checkpoint ALR5

Key items of kit: I will ride with a full Apidura Racing bike kit, a saddle pack, full frame pack, handlebar pack and a long top tube pack and wear a 2L hydration vest. For such a long race I opt for comfort and will race in Rapha cargo shorts and a loose Patagonia merino shirt. The Patagonia hybrid sleeping bag will serve as shelter.

Andrea Romano

Name: Andrea Romano

Age: 36

Location: Gironico, Como, Italy

Bike: I’ll be riding on my Canyon Exceed CF7 hardtail with 2.25” Vittoria Mezcal tires, 1x12 Sram GX, 30T chainring and 10-52T Cassette. Front custom Dt Swiss wheel with Son 28 dynamo hub. Rear stock Reynolds wheel with Hub replaced: Dt swiss 350. KLite dynamo setup with mtb light and dual charger. Lezyne rear light. Canyon VCLS carbon seatpost to smooth the rough terrain a bit with a Prologo Ndr saddle. Ergon Ga3 grips and Sq Labs inner bars. Navigation with a Wahoo Elemnt Roam and smartphone with Quadlock mount as backup. Mix of Apidura and Miss Grape bags, 1.7L of water on the bike plus 2L water bladder in the Salomon Vest 12L, useful also for more food capacity.

Key items of kit: My sleep set up consists of a Cumulus x-lite 200, Therm-a-Rest Uberlight, SOL Bivy, and pillow, stored in the front bag. Feed pouch full of M&M's.

Giuseppe Colucci

Name: Giuseppe Colucci

Age: 63

Cap number: 21

Location: Bologna, Italy

Bike: 2015 Trek Procaliber with RockShox fork, rolling on Vittoria Mezcal TNT Graphene 2.0 29 x 2.35″ tires mounted on Mason X Hunt 650B wheels with a SON Dynamo powering the front light and a dual USB charger. SRAM AXS 1×12 (32T x 10-50T) drivetrain Shimano XT 172.5 crank, Shimano XT brake and Shimano XT SPD pedals. Deda Parabolica Uno aerobars mounted on the full 60mm riser kit.

Key items of kit: TailFin Carbon AeroPack, Rusjan waterproof handlebag, two Rusjan food pouches and two Revelate Design top tube bags. Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM and Garmin Edge 1030 Plus as a backup. kLite Ultra V2 Gravel front light, Exposure TraceR and WAG rear lights, and Petzl Actik Core helmet-mounted headlamp. Sleeping kit: PHD Design Alpine Ultra Half Bag coupled with a Rapha Explore down jacket, Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite sleeping pad, Sea to Summit Aeros Ultra Light Pillow, SOL PRO bivy.

Pascal Röhm

Name: Pascal Röhm

Age: 34

Cap number: 122

Location: Frankfurt am Main

Bike: Trek Procaliber 9.8

Key items of kit: Ortlieb Tailfin Isadore x Cordel

Mathias Väärsi

Name: Mathias Väärsi

Age: 34

Location: Tallinn, Estonia

Bike: I'll be riding 2018 Trek Procaliber 9.7. It was my dear friend Taaniel's bike, who sadly passed away in the autumn. Together we went on many bikepacking trips and I am honored to take his bike through the Balkans.

Key items of kit: Frame bag and oversized feed bag made by my friend Ran-Re, they have served me well.

Raf Frans

Name: Raf Frans

Age: 39

Cap number: TBR 2023 bib nr 113

Location: Belgium

Bike: 2022 BMC URS 01 two, with a Sram Force axs and X01 mixed group. The bike feels comfortable like a MTB but climbs really fast. Added a Quark power meter and profile design clip on bars/extensions.

Key items of kit: Tailfin at the back with warmer clothes and spare bib shorts, ortlieb frontpack with sleeping gear... just a bivi, mat and sleeping bag liner. The frambag and top tube bag will be for food and electronics, but also leathman and uv-water filter.

Alberto Spreafico (ALBI)

Name: Alberto Spreafico (ALBI)

Age: 31

Cap number: 34143

Location: Trieste

Bike: Scott scale 930 ht carbon 2016 SRAM Gx 12v ( personalized) Rock shock 120 mm Zte crest 29 wheels Mezcal vittoria xc trail 29 Bontrager Aeolus pro (road bike seat)

Key items of kit: Bags: -Epidura 14 lt back bag -Epidura expedition frame pack

  • decathlon “old lady bag” on the front
  • small bags around the bike for extra space (decathlon rivers side series) sleeping system: Decathlon Trek air 700 inflatable Foirclaz 500 Sleeping bag Light and device: Bontrager ion elite front light Wapps back rare light Garmin 830 gps 20000 w power charger system Secret weapon: A.C.D MINDSET RACE CONTROL

Scott Schoenwaelder

Name: Scott Schoenwaelder

Age: 35

Location: Oakland, CA

Bike: I'll be riding a 2021 Santa Cruz Highball with Fox Step-Cast 32 fork. Changed the tires to Vittoria Mezcal 2.25" tires, updated to a 30T chainring, added a Hunt rim to the front with SON Dynamo hub, and added SQlab innerbarends for additional hand positions on the bars.

Key items of kit: BAGS: Upfront I have the Rogue Panda Canelo Handlebar Harness with their Gila dry bag. I then have two Revelate Designs Mountain Feedbags for snacks and water with a Pack Northwest top tube bag for external battery charging from dynamo. The Ovega Negra Superwedgie Frame Bag will carry mostly bike tools with room to spare for another bottle on the seat tube. And finishing off with a Revelate Designs seat bag.

GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: A pair of Specialized Rime 2.0 mountain bike shoes will keep my feet comfortable on and off the bike and I'll feel at home in an Outdoor Research bivy and Thermarest quilt. A Wahoo Roam will be used for navigation.

Bea Frank

Name: Bea Frank

Age: 41

Cap number: 34 (Starting list number)

Location: Auerbach/Germany

Bike: Giant XTC Advanced 1 - 2015 - Contineltal Cross King 27,5 - 2,25" - Gearing are 26/38 - 11-42 (2x10) - I swapped the saddle for the best saddle ever, the Infinity bike Seat E2

Key items of kit: BAGS: - Front bag and the saddle bag is from Giant HP2 PRO. Front Bag
SizeL and saddle bag size M - TopTubeBag ist from Rockbros - I sewed all the red bags (frame bag-including hydration bladder 1,5l, 2x food pouches, cell phone bag, down tube bag) myself and I'm very proud of it 😍

GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: My slepping setup: - sleeping mat-Sea to Summit Ether light XT Air - Sleeping bag-Sea to Summit Flame Ultralight Liner - bivy bag-cumulus ULTRALIGHT BIVY - Underlay us Tyvek foil Otherwise, I have about 35,000mAH distributed over 3 power banks and because I am afraid of wild animals, a small bear bell and animal repellent spray. I also have a small water filter and lots of sunscreen with me 😁

Femke van Kessel

Name: Femke van Kessel

Age: 33

Cap number: 108

Location: Zutphen, the Netherlands

Bike: Hardtail Grand Canyon from 2017. The wheels are handspoked DT Swiss XM 421 with Soon hun dynamo. Maxxis Rekon in front and rear. On the handlebar (BLB hobo Loop) are the Garmin Edge 830 and Klite MTB.

Key items of kit: I ride as a pair with my husband (Janno de Bruijn), so we have divided the burden. In my handlebar bag is the sleeping gear (2 down sleeping bags+liner, 1 inflatable sleepmatrass). In the first stemcell mostly electronics (cables, powerbank, charger, Klite adapter and waterfilter), the second stemcell will be left empty for food. In the toptube bag the things i want to have nearby: sunscreen, chamoiscreme, chainlube, dynaplug, multitool, drinking tablets, desinfect. In my saddlebag the clothes + spare tubes (down jacket, rain jacket, waterproof gloves, extra cycling bibs, wool cycling shirt, wool undershirt, wool shirt long sleeves, arm and legg warmers, buff). I ride with backpack, for personal belongings, water and stocking option (when i bought too much in the supermarket). My favourite part will be my dynamo charger, and the tent Big Agnes tiger wall UL 2 (carried by my husband).

Rufus Wenlock

Name: Rufus Wenlock

Age: 35

Location: Christchurch, New Zealand

Bike: The frame I built myself, it’s called SÜFUR which is simply Rufus backwards. The funky design is the conclusion of many bikepacking ideas I’ve had racing around my head and wanted to test. The build is running on 1x12 Sram with a 34t ring and 10-50 cassette. Sid Ultimate fork at 120mm. Son dyno hub hooked up to a K-Lite and USB charger. Rear hub is a DT 350 and both wheels are built onto WeAreOne Faction rims. Profile aero bars on a set of Salsa Salt Flat bars. Vittoria Mezcall 29” x 2.25” tyres. 2x 750ml bottles and an Apidura vest with 2L bladder.

Key items of kit: Home made bags, the main triangle bag is huge and fits most of my gear and food via the drive side zip. Non-drive side has a zip to access a small pouch which will hold things like power bank, passport ect. Top tube bag for the snacks. Strapped off the saddle is an 8L Sea2Summit big river dry bag with my sleep system in it.

Sofie Mangertseder

Name: Sofie Mangertseder

Age: 26

Cap number: 112

Location: living in Bregenz (Austria), originally from Arnstorf (Germany)

Bike: Canyon Lux, Sram X0 12x, Reynolds TR249, Continental race king

Key items of kit: Apidura backcountry series:

  • Full Frame Pack 2,5l
  • Top Tube Pack 1l
  • Downtube Pack 1,8l
  • Saddle Pack 10l
  • Musette
  • Backpack


  • Sea to summit ultra light air mat
  • Sea to summit sleeping bag

Clothing: Velocio

Light/Other: BBC front light and BBC extra bottle holder, Bontrager Ion

Lucky Iteam: my bear neckless

Andrew Phillips

Name: Andrew Phillips

Age: 34

Location: Italy

Bike: Custom carbon hardtail with Zolla Poltava wheels, and Rockshox SID fork.

Key items of kit: Dropper compatible Apidura Backcountry packs, Wahoo Roam 2 for navigation, Sinewave Beacon headlight, Fizik Argo Adaptive saddle, Hutchinson Kraken/Taipan tyres, and OR Helium Bivvy.


Name: Manu COLTAT

Age: 33

Location: Amsterdam, NL

Bike: I’ll be riding the Trans Balkan Race 2023 on a 2020 Canyon Grail CF SL 7. The bike features a modified rear derailleur (11-Speed 11-34T Cassette) and a set of tires WTB Raddler TCS Light Fast 700x40.

Key items of kit: BAGS: My bag setup is a full Expedition set from Apidura, I will use the saddle bag (14L) to carry my clothes, my sleeping materials will fit into the Handlebar Pack (9L), the frame pack will be home for tools, foods, power banks... and finally a 1L Top Tube Pack to fit it my cables, chargers.

HYDRATATION & FOODS: I will fit in a 0.5L and a 0.8L bottles on the frame, and I will take a light trail-type back pack to get an 3*0.5L extra capacity and carry foods.

GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: I will go with a Patagonia Lightweight sleeping bag, a bivouac bag Mammut Grevling EMT 195 and a Forclaz Trekking Mattress MT500 Air S. My lighting system is composed of the Neatt front light on the bike and a Petzl Aktic Core headlamp. And my navigation will be a Garmin Edge 1030 plus.

Maya Wolf

Name: Maya Wolf

Age: 33

Cap number: Don’t know yet

Location: Berkeley, California, USA

Bike: I’ll be riding a 2022 Santa Cruz Highball with a OneUp dropper post and SRAM Eagle 1x drivetrain with 30t in front and 11-50t in the rear. I’m using a stock rear wheel and front wheel with We Are One carbon rim and SON hub (built up by Eastern Wheelworks), both with 2.25” Vittoria Mezcal tires. From the dynamo hub, I’m running a Supernova M99 DY Pro light and Igaro USB-C charger. For comfort, I have SQLabs Innerbarends, hand-me-down GS2 Ergon grips, and a Form Cycling saddle.

Key items of kit: My custom Alpine Luddites full top tube bag has capacity for lots of easy-to-access snacks.

Johannes Santen

Name: Johannes Santen

Age: 33

Cap number: 76

Location: Oakland, CA

Bike: Sour Bikes Crumble

Key items of kit: Luggage mostly by Rockgeist, Tarptent Protrail, Thermarest Xlite, and Timmermade sleeping bag for a comfortable rest, and nighttime lighting by Exposure

Alexander Weiher

Name: Alexander Weiher

Age: 40

Cap number: 97

Location: Luebeck

Bike: I ride a Salsa Cutthroad with 2.3 inch Continental X-King tires, a Roval traverse wheel on the rear, and a hand-built wheel with Son dynamo hub on the front. It is shifted with the Shimano GRX 810 (1x11). The crank is from E-Thirteen and has 32 teeth, with an 11-50 Gabaruk cassette on the back.

Key items of kit: In the large Apidura saddlebag I have clothes, spare parts toiletry bag and rarely used odds and ends, there is also plenty of room for food. The sleeping system is attached to the aerobar in a drybag. in the small bags are tools, electronics and snacks.



Age: 50

Cap number: 29

Location: Pantin, France

Bike: A stock Canyon Exceed CF6 with 12-speed Shimano SLX 30x10/51, WTB Volt saddle, Ergon grips and BBB (inner) bar ends

Key items of kit: A mix of Apidura, Ortlieb, Reload and Salomon bags. Garmin Edge 830, Knog PWR Mountain, GoalZero Venture 75, Thermarest NeoAir Xlite, Mountain Hardwear sleeping bag, Nordisk Lofoten UL1 tent, Decathlon MT100 synthetic down jacket

Iwona Szmyd

Name: Iwona Szmyd

Age: 45

Cap number: 00

Location: Forest of Dean, UK

Bike: Pearson gravel bike with a rigid fork, GRX electric shifter, 1/11, 45mm gravel tyres.

Key items of kit: Bike bags mix of MissGrape (handlebar and saddle bag) and Apidura (frame bag) . Terra nova tent , OMM light weight sleeping bag, SeatoSummit sleeping mat. Exposure lights .

Joep van Luijt

Name: Joep van Luijt

Age: 32

Cap number: 90

Location: Eindhoven

Bike: Specialized Epic HT smoke red colors.

Key items of kit: Bags Tailfin + restraps aerobar bag & top tube. Sea2summit sleeping bag and Thermarest überlight.

Janno de Bruijn

Name: Janno de Bruijn

Age: 29

Cap number: 107

Bike: Canyon Grand Canyon AL SLX

Key items of kit: Ortlieb seatpack and handlebar bag, Big Agnas Tiger Wall UL2 tent, K-Lite bikepacker front light.

Michael Voigt

Name: Michael Voigt

Age: 43

Cap number: 94

Location: Germany

Bike: Stevens Sonora ES

Key items of kit: Ortlieb Saddlebag, Handlebarbag and Forkbags



Age: 32

Location: Marseille, France

Bike: Name: Tony Grégoire Age: 32 Location: Marseille, France THE BIKE: No MTB here, it is a Canyon Grail CF SL 7 eTap with SRAM Rival groupset and a XPLR 10-44T cassette. Whells are DT Swiss GRC 1600. Tyres are a mix of the French brand Hutchinson, I put Tundra on the front and Touareg at the rear (may put Tundra on both at the end!). Lamps are made by Lezine, 180 for the rear and 1100xl for the front. Will bring two Petzl headlamps too.

Key items of kit: BAGS: I will be quite minimalist, with two Ortlieb bags and a little one on the top (the brand disappeared). Garmin Edge 530 for the nav. GEAR HIGHLIGHTS: The final touch is the flag of my home city at the rear, Marseille.

Teddie Vidolova

Name: Teddie Vidolova

Age: 32

Cap number: 132

Location: Oakland, CA, USA

Bike: I’ll be riding my beloved Stanton Sherpa Ti that I've had since Dec '21. I had used it predominantly for MTBing before January of this year and had to make a lot of modifications for long-distance bikepacking including increasing the length of stem from 35 to 90mm and adding SQLab Innerbarends, new grips (ESI), and saddle (Power Pro with Mirror). The saddle was one of the components that took the longest to settle on; I tested 5 different ones before landing on the final. I was already running SRAM GX AXS RD and a 30T chainring -- perfect for bikepacking. One upgrade that was more of an indulgence than necessity was the Ingrid CRS-X cranks: they are beautiful and light and slightly shorter (165mm) than the ones I was running before (170mm).

Key items of kit: I am using a custom Rockgeist frame bag, one Rockgeist feed bag, one Revelate feed bag (my oldest piece of bikepacking gear going on ~7 years), and a Waywards Riders Louise Saddle harness. Shout out to Straight Cut designs for the custom colored handlebar harness and top tube bag, which they were able to make and ship from Edinburgh to Oakland in 2 weeks. I am also quite pleased with both my Ultralitesacks Dyneema Large Tall dry bag for the handlebar harness and my Tailfin 1.7L Cage Pack, which I figured out that I can strap directly to my downtube for tools.

I love my Supernova M99 DY Pro Light and grateful for the support I got from Supernova to figure out how to mount it above the handlebar roll. I also love my Berd HAWK27 wheels with SON Dynamo. Shoutout to Berd: I had broken the Dynamo hub two weeks before I needed to leave for Europe and they took such good care of me and rebuilt my wheels with a new hub in record time. Finally, I will be riding on clouds; i.e., Rene Herse Fleecer Ridge tires.


Name: Mathis LAURAS

Age: 24

Cap number: 56

Location: Hautes-Alpes, FRANCE

Bike: For my first offroad bikepacking race, I'll ride my brand new Canyon Exceed CF SL 7.0. I bought this bike one week ago so it's basically the stock build exept for the tires, I swapped the Maxxis icon for the Vittoria Mezcal 2.35”. I added Ergon grips, spirgrips and elbow pads to made the things a little bit more civilised for my hands. And last change, my trusty specialized power saddle will take care of my butt.

Key items of kit: Ortlieb 4.1 under the saddle, Apidura race framepack and a Salomon trail backpack. Sol Bivy and inflatable pillow for the nights. Julbo rush sunglasses (corrective and photochromic) on my face all day/night long. Stoots headlamps (x2), knog rear light, powerbanks (x2) and garmin etrex 32x / Fenix 6x to keep me on the route. Warm and waterproof jackets, warm gloves and knee warmer to keep the Bora cold away.

Walter Reiterer

Name: Walter Reiterer

Age: 52

Cap number: 72

Location: Austria

Bike: Mason // HUNT Wheels // SRAM

Key items of kit: Front page and Frame page // Inside sleeping Bord

Robert Männa

Name: Robert Männa

Age: 27

Cap number: 129

Location: Tallinn, Estonia

Bike: Will be riding a plastic Scott Scale 920 pimped up with a Shimano UR700 dynamo and smooth rolling Vittoria Mezcal’s in 2.35”. SQ Lab inner barends and Profile Design aerobars help to find different positions. Gearing will be stock Sram GX with 32t in front and 10-51 party in the back. Fox 32 rythm provides some extra cushion on the rough stuff and the lockut makes it fully rigid.

Key items of kit: First time racing with the Apidura 1.5L bladder, will see how it will hold up. Sleeping kit includes Thermarest neo air sleeping mat, Katalbatic gear Bristlecone bivy, emergency bivy just in case, uniqlo long johns and a puffy jacket from decathlon. Navigation through good old Wahoo Elemnt Bolt, garmin edge 520 as a backup.

Eva de Vos

Name: Eva de Vos

Age: 43

Cap number: 24

Location: Helvoirt, The Netherlands

Bike: Merida Big Nine Carbon MTB with Fast Forward carbon wheels and Vittoria Mezcal 2.25” tyres in a tubeless setup. Son 28 Dynamo Hub powering my kLite Ultra V2 front light and Nitecore nb10000 powerbank. Oldskool Shimano XT 3x10 drive train (24, 32, 42 / 11-34). Time Atac pedals, Selle Italia Lady Gel Flow saddle and Ergon GP3 grips. Farr carbon aero bolt-on large for aerodynamic position during long stretches.

Key items of kit: Bag setup:

Apidura Expedition Saddle Pack 17L between Topeak Backloader Wishbone with 2 bottle cages. Apidura Backcountry Full Frame Pack 6L. Tailfin Suspension Fork Mounts on which 2 Tailfin Cargo Cages with 2 Apidura Expedition Fork Packs 3L and 2 bottle cages are mounted. In total room for about 4L water. Topeak top tube Fuel Tank for the electronics and a Revelate Designs Mountain Feedbag Handlebar Bag for grabbing energy bars.

Sleeping system:

Therm-a-rest Neoair Xlite mattress with Sea to Summit Spark SpII sleeping bag in a Rab Survival zone bivvy bag on a Tyvek foot print.

Lucky charms:

My dads Saint Christopher medal for a safe journey, my 'We love you' armband from my parents & 3 sisters so they're right with me and my 'Nec temere nec timide' patch on my MTB from my boyfriend to be 'Neither rashly nor timidly' (Dutch Air Assault Brigade).

Niel Copeland

Name: Niel Copeland

Age: 48

Location: West Sussex, UK

Bike: This is Alice, an Allied BC40 full sus machine. A blend of Shimano and SRAM with a 32T front and 10-51T rear to keep me spinning up the hills, Salt Carbon wheels with Conti RaceKings will be fast, and a Wolftooth dropper post, let’s see how much that gets used!

Key items of kit: The highlight is my new custom Tailfin R&D frame bag that the team have just put together for me. Tailfin aeropack and the new 1.1l flip top bag for clothing and food. All mysleep kit goes on a bar bag at the front. I love my Nordisk Lofoten tent with a Big Agnes Pluton sleeping bag and Neoair short mat for sleep. Lights come from Exposure and navigation from the Garmin 1040 solar. A final addition comes in the form of a JBL mini speaker to keep the bears at bay!

Michal Hampl

Name: Michal Hampl

Age: 50

Cap number: 43

Location: Czech Republic


Key items of kit: Shimano Deore, Giant Seat bag, Aliexpress battery bag, Aliexpress ligts.

Jeremy Gensse

Name: Jeremy Gensse

Age: 40

Cap number: 37

Location: Lille, France

Bike: I'll be riding a modified Decathlon Touring 920 bike with a suspension and a flat bar. The bike features a Shimano XT 1x12 drivetrain, Fulcrum wheels with 2.25" Vittoria Mezcal tyres.

Key items of kit: Frame bags and top tube prototypes from Decathlon for electronics, hygiene, rain clothes and pump.

In my Apidura saddle bag, I stored spare clothes and my down jacket.

In my revelate handlebar bag, I put my Cumulus xlite 300 sleeping bag, decathlon MT500 mattress, terra nova moonlite bivi bag.

There’s still plenty of space to store food.

I will be also wearing a Decathlon hydration pack on my back with 2 litres water bladder

Marion Dziwnik

Name: Marion Dziwnik

Age: 38

Cap number: 111

Location: Munich

Bike: Cervélo ZHT-5

Key items of kit: - Apidura Backcountry Series bags

  • BBBcycling lights, ergonomic bar ends, bottle cages
  • SRAM Eagle AXS MTB groupset
  • sea-to-summit ultralight mat & sleeping bag

Marc Pantscharowitsch

Name: Marc Pantscharowitsch

Age: 31

Location: Vienna

Bike: Sour Pasta Party Home Brew

Key items of kit: Witslingers custom full frame bag