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Ultimate Cycling League - Game Thread
Ian Butler
This Thread is for role-playing posts only. Any questions or comments can be asked in the General Thread


Ladies and Gentlemen

We are about to embark on the very first Ultimate Cycling League season. We will make history with a brand new (inspired by tradition and the old) discipline within cycling. The sport being brand new, there is not yet a distinction between amateur and pro. This is the chance of a lifetime to register and be on the front row of this exciting new sport.

The 2017 Season will officially begin in June 2017, with the first Professional Event, starting on Saturday 17th of June. The launch of this site is essential in this new sport as you can find all the information on current races, rules or riders here. Below you will also find all the registered races with the necessary information and the button where you can register for your first race, a first step towards becoming a star!

Trekking the States
Sponsored by Trek


Summary: Trekking the States will be the first official event of Ultimate Cycling. Join now and you're guaranteed your money back upon finishing the race, plus a little extra for your troubles! Entertain the race and win a brand new Trek Madone 9.5 bike!

Trekking the States will take you from Milwaukee all across the Eastern United States to Charleston. Take place in this historic event for only $250!

Start Date: 17th of June, 2017
Finish Date: 25th of June, 2017
Stages: 9
Entry Fee: $250
Total Distance: 1925 km
Bikes & Parts: Year 1978 or earlier.


Wage: $100/stage
Finishing Bonus: $250
Stage Winner Award: $100
King of Mountain Award: $1000
Overall Award Money:
1st: Trek Madone 9.5 bike
2nd: $5000
3rd: $2500
4th: $1000
5th: $500

Disqualification Rule:
1st time: -5 points
2nd time: -15 points
3rd time: DQ

Points per Stage:
1st: 20 points
2nd: 15 points
3rd: 12 points
4th: 9 points
5th: 7 points
6th: 5 points
7th: 4 points
8th: 3 points
9th: 2 points
10th: 1 point

Accomodation and provisions included.

Trek Madone 9.5

Icelandic Challenge
Sponsored by the government of Iceland


Summary: The Icelandic Challenge is a one-day event, only for the bravest of souls. It takes you from Sauðárkrókur to Ásahreppur in an epic 293 km route. Earn your fame and fortune here in Iceland and enjoy the hospitality of our inhabitants.

Start Date: 26th of July, 2017
Finish Date: 26th of July, 2017
Stages: One-day race
Entry Fee: Free
Total Distance: 293 km
Bikes & Parts: Year 1980 or earlier.


Wage: $50
Finishing Bonus: $50
Overall Award Money:
1st: $3000
2nd: $2500
3rd: $2000
4th: $1500
5th: $500

Disqualification Rule: None.

Accomodation and provisions included.

Czech to Slovakia
Sponsored by Red Bull


Summary: Red Bull presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to race in the Ultimate Cycling League. The event takes you from the Czech Republic to Slovakia, covering 272 km, gaining over 3000 meters in altitude. So you better come prepared! High risks, big rewards. Are you the next superstar we're looking for?

Start Date: 10th of September, 2017
Finish Date: 10th of September, 2017
Stages: One-day race
Entry Fee: $50
Total Distance: 272 km
Bikes & Parts: Year 1980 or earlier.


Wage: $0
Finishing Bonus: $150
Overall Award Money:
1st: $5000
2nd: $4000
3rd: $3000
4th: $2000
5th: $1000

Disqualification Rule: None.

Provisions included.

The Race profiles will be downloadable upon registering for the race.

Edited by Ian Butler on 12-07-2017 18:03

Name: Valur Jarvi J├│hannson
Sex: M
Nationality (region): Iceland (Sauðárkrókur, north of Iceland)
Date of Birth: 27/11/1997
Height: 2.01m
Weight: 94kg

Flat Riding: high
Climbing: very low
Bike Handling: medium
Stamina: medium
Acceleration: low
Sprint Speed: medium
Recuperation: low
Attacking Spirit: low
Repairs: low
Off-Road: very high
Food Management: medium


Biography/ The story before the story: Valur grew up in the small "town" of Sau├░├írkr├│kur, in the region of Skagafj├Âr├░ur at the northern coast of Iceland. In the biggest town of North-western Iceland (2.635 inhabitants) he had everything he needed: Friends, great education, ice-baths, handball, hakarll - you know, everything an Icelandic guy loves. But then, at the age of 14, something changed his mind:

A student exchange to Norway opened a new page in the book of his life. The cycling page. He stayed at a certain guy, called Andreas Leknessund, for 3 weeks. Better said, he staid at his parents, cause Leknessund, 13 years old at that point, was away several hours a day training on the bike. At first it seemed strange to him, using up so much time.

It didn't really touch Valur until the fourth time in a row his exchange student came home early from training, tuning on the TV. Watching cycling, of course. But on that day he was hyped. Almost screaming a certain guy called Boasson Hagen to the line, who finished second to a Slovakian youngster. Later, as Valur gained interest, he learned from Andreas how the world of cycling works. And that that amazing young superstar was called Peter Sagan.

A day later, after school, training and Stage 4 of course, Andreas offered Valur a small ride with one of his bikes that Valur also rode those spare kilometers to school with. It didn't completely fit, but both having a height of around 1.75 worked well. Being in the mid-west of Noway in summer temperatures were nice for a ride such as this, going on the fjordic norwegian coastline. Valur enjoyed it, more because of the countryside possibly, as he isn't too often on a bike in Iceland and suffered under the wind and the up- and down going roads on the rough coastside.

However, they went on two further rides in the time, and Andreas told Valur a lot about the sport. But then time was over; and on his way back home Valur kind of missed cycling already.

A few weeks later thigs were forgotten however. Back with his friends they had other things in mind like going to school, fishing for the biggest fish, fishing for the most beautiful girls and playing handball like nordic guys do. He even made it into the U18 national team of Iceland, eventhough also playing football aside and having the downsides a young guy maturing and tasting all the sweet flavours of growing up does.

On a trip with the national team for the european U18 championships 2014, taking place in Poland, things took another turn. Valur and his team failed to pass the pre-eliminary round and finished 9th. Interestingly, at the same time another event took place in Gdansk. The Memorial Henryka Lasaka, a small UCI 1.2 bike race. At first Valur didn't even recognize it, but when visiting numbers were significantly lower at that day Valur found out why in his free time after the morning game. And eventhough he wasn't really able to see much of the race standing in a corner near to the finishing line, he did catch the spirit of the race. Impressed by the enthusiastic visitors, which was kind of the opposite to the U18 EC, Valur that day got a little nostalgic and reconsulted his old skype account to contact Andreas again.

And guess what: The norwegian, riding successfully as a Junior in these days, was riding quite successful as a Junior in Norway. Holding contact for 2 or 3 days back in Iceland worked out, but then the 2 were too busy with their own lifes. But then things drastically changed. Already suffering on the icelandic economical crisis Valur's parents had to finally give up on their small business, with his father taking a job in Bl├Ându├│s and moving there, by car 75 kilometers away from Sau├░├írkr├│kur. That left two options open for Valur. Moving with his parents, or going into the handball school to Reykjav├şk.

Heavy hearted Valur decided to go with the family option, most likely leaving the dream of becoming a professional handball player aside. He did that not only for his family, but also for staying close to his friends and to his girl Freyja, a gorgeous Icelandic beauty. His parents were able to drive him there once a weekend, but other than that Valur kind of was alone. When his crew was on the run he often just was too far away, and Bl├Ându├│s was a village for workers and older people with less in his age. Skype was his only way of escaping that tristesse at that point, but communicating with his friends was not the same via internet.

Being a guy that knows how to distribute his ressources very well he always had something saved in the bank. And after two weeks of school and family (=boredom) he decided to give it a shot, buying a used roadbike from a frenetic old Belgian Bobby Fisher fan living in Selfoss. Andreas, who he had more contact to since using Skype more often now, gave him the advice to search for a used one. In Iceland exactly 3 were on offer, so he took the best looking one.

With that he used to ride more and more as the days went flying. His big motivation once again was his friends, and after 3 months of going further and further he decided to do the big one. Going all the way from Bl├Ându├│s to Sau├░├írkr├│kur on a friday after school to visit his friends. He failed.

As he was fear of the 75 kilometers road he went on to take the shortcut over the gravel and mud roads which were just 50 kilometers. He lost. As it got darker and darker he suffered under a flat tire. In the dark he wasn't able to repair it properly, so he had to walk the last 15 kilometers through the cold & dark night (don't even ask for mobile connection in the middle of nothing), ringing at his best friend door at 2 o'clock in the morning. From that point on he was that crazy bike freak for his friends.

Valur got used to it however. Sunday, after a warm goodbye from Freyja, he went back home the long route and made it in 3 hours. But making it enlightened a flame in his heart. Every day after school he now went to go on a ride with his old Ridley. He grew fast riding on the coastlines and the streets. Soon he made the 75 kilometers in 2h30, going to Sauðárkrókur every weekend.

None of his friends or anyone who knew from Iceland besides that old Bobby Fisher guy shared the passion he had for cycling, but they accepted it. Andreas, now 17 and growing into an oustanding Junior cyclist, gave him training advices and basically on everything else related to cycling. They skyped almost every day sitting on their computers going through cycling streams. Valur only faced one new problem soon: His body.

Valur used to be a rough muscular guy that wasn't shy of some hard defense in handball, but that kind of changed with his cycling life. He still was spot on in terms of body shape, but a lot lighter. Well, he could have been. But growing another 17 centimeters in 1 year Valur hit two meters soon, which made riding his old bike impossible. And of course, there was absolutely no chance of finding a used bike in his range, so a new bike was needed. But, and there was the big problem: How should he afford that?

He started asking for help in the social media, tried to find a job besides cycling, but nothing worked. Andreas, who grew into one of his best friends, tried to help consulting the contacts he had through the Norwegian cycling federation, but nothing worked out well enough. Even that Belgian Bobby Fisher guy tried to help, not only by sharing Valurs story, but also by giving him an old mountain bike he restaurated in his free time. For free, with only one obligation: To visit him by bike one time down there in Selfoss.

3 months of mountain-biking had their upsides for Valur however: He was able to go the gravel and mud roads to visit his guys and girls, which saved him 30 kilometers. He could even join his proper handball training in the evening sometimes in Sauðárkrókur, but the train for the national team had already departed at that point. Two of his friends made it into the national U20 squad, now they were proud members of the Reykjavik Sport School having their accommodations for the Sport Department at the Reykjavik University in the bank. Instead, he trained handball for fun, but switched his focus for longer rides. Sometimes on the endless full-gravel roads in the Icelandic highlands, but for obvious reasons climbing always was a tough thing for him.

Handball and mountain-biking balanced each other perfectly well, but that one phone call in September 2016 changed everything. Sources told the mysterious caller, that Valur was in need of a road bike fitting the special needs of both his body type and the Icelandic roads. He told that there was a way to solve the issues, and that Valur would get a brand-new 2017 road bike. For free. Well, Valur had to solve three tasks for that.

1. Meet up at Keflavik Airport to receive the bikes and meet up with the mysterious donator.
2. Come by bike, in 1 week, and go back by bike, in 1 week.
3. Film the whole story.

It was an easy choice for Valur, packing his backpack and getting ready, which included to tell his parents about his plan. Interestingly they have not been shocked by that (opposed to Freyja), but instead they even told him they received a package of a new go-pro adressed to his name, but now they knew what that was for. Kind of confused Valur took it on, to start his move.

7 days later, after over 300 kilometers on mostly graveled roads and sleeping in tents, bathing in rivers (and one time in as shower) and eating disgusting food or fresh berries, Valur finished his trip, fully recorded on the go-pro. On the cold route doubts arised in him, what would happen if the caller didn't appear or if he just wouldn't make it. But neither cold weather nor cold thoughts could stop rough Valur.

In Keflavik he then was rewarded for his efforts. And what a reward! Valur met two guys there; one of whom he already knew in beforehand. One of those was a proud man, smiling all the way. Valur knew him. The other guy expressed his respect for Valurs trip. He ordered some hot chocolate for all 3, to then reveal the deal.

The man was from Ridley, the Belgian manifacturer. They heard from the story of mine out of the other person sitting on the table. The former Belgian directeur sportiv Jelle Fleminckx, that has been part of the management of the old Davitamon - Lotto team. Valur didn't knew. However, Mr. Fleminckx created the connection as he shared the story with the Ridley guy. So Valur got a new Ridley bike.

But not only that, Valur also got offered what was kind of a job in the following minutes. They wanted to make a story out of Valur's stpry for their website. The journey through the hell of winter Iceland for the passion of cycling. That's what the go-pro was for. But not only that. There was a job on offer. Some might think a crazy one, and clearly Valur did after having him explained what that was about, but surely something that has never been there before.

Ridley claimed, that there is a new series on the block. A road series that is experimental, new, and completely crazy. They want Valur in cycling. They offered him to be the one-man experiment. They wanted him to ride the Ultimate Cycling league as a Ridley rider, having his equipment sponsored by the brand. In exchange for sponsoring Valur, there should be footage of Valur's journey in Iceland and the Ultimate Cycling League available for Ridley to use on their campaign.

The cherry on top was the surprise that awaited Valur next. Beneath the new Ridley 2017 bike (what a beauty!), there was a fully prepared vintage bike after 1970's standards awaiting. They offered Valur a ride home, taking all 3 bikes with them by car, to sign the deal, which was sommething undeclineable after that week.

On the way home he thought about that, clearly understanding that that would mean being away from home for a long time. Thinking of Freyja and his friends made the decision harder. But then, the 1970 bike with integrated tools to repair the bike would allow him to go the shorter route, which clearly was a major factor opposed. Well, more likely to finally grab the chance to become a semi-professional sportsman - if it wasn't his first passion handball, then his second and rising passion cycling - and even more the chance to have a f***ing amazing exciting unique adventure he can even be proud of if he sucks.

This might be the one chance for Valur to write history. Trying it out is the only option. So Valur signed the one-year contract with Ridley, not having real earnings from that besides a spare budget for himself, but more weighting is the equipment and the opportunities he takes from that deal. The Ultimate Cycling League 2017 will have what the whole UCI hasn't got: An Icelandic member.

Some call him the Glacier, some call him the new "Iceman", his friend Andreas Leknessund in his blog gave him the nickname "Frozen Blood". For his friends from Sauðárkrókur he is just Valur, the only guy in Iceland that rides a road bike. And certainly the only one that feels the best when it's terribly cold. When wind, rain and snow disturb others, Valur reaches his best performances. He feels home when the road is flat and rough, being used to the gravel and mud of northern Iceland. No wonder he claims Stijn Vandenbergh and Thomas de Gendt as his favourite cyclists. It is Ultimate Cycling League's newest surprise:

Valur Jarvi J├│hannson

As soon as the season tickets were out I knew it: This will be an amazing adventure. Not only that I absolutely love the bikes Ridley gave me. It is just the mystery of all together.

Telling all this my friends was a tough job, as it means that I am away from home for quite some time. Freyja was kind of pissed off as I told her I signed a one-year contract, meaning that I could basically be somewhere all over the world at any time if they need me to be there. Telling them that I am a pilot project they don't know how the project will develop doesn't help either. And telling my parents that I'll do so in my last year of school didn't help either.

All my words on how important that was for me and how I could share my passion turned backwords on me, as people didn't seem to understand me. No surprise, as people in Iceland basically have no clue what a cycling race is. So, with shots firing at me from basically all directions, I went out riding. I trained harder than ever. In first instance for me, but than also to show all what I can do. Mostly my family, but also the guys of Ridley that put their trust in me, including that old man Mr. Fleminckx from Selfoss. And yes, I visited him with my road bike, making the trip in 6 days (two-ways).

In this time I felt a huge mental growth. On one side on this trip, driving >100km for 6 days in a row the first time on my bike. I learnt how to recover, how to sharply concentrate when I was tired and how to use my energy reserves in terms of taking in and spending energy. But on the other side also in general. My mindset on how to focus on sports and how to organize cycling with social life developed. I even went back to school in Sauðárkrókur, planning my training around this. Going with the 70's bike over the gravel & mud ways to school, reducing the time I need at the morning to 1h15min, being allowed to take a shower before the start in the gym (Thanks to my school here for supporting this project). Having most of my stuff for school there at friends or at Freyja's house. Going either to handball training and then home on the normal road or for a longer ride out southwards from there if no handball training.

The weekends were stuffed with hanging out with my mates & Freyja and/or some big circles southwards. My life was well organized, and I had loads of fun in it. That's the perfect life.

April 2017, Osted, Denmark (somewhere in dead-middle of Zealand)

A new bike, state of the art anno 1975. That was the goal.

His young son, a keen cyclefan with a faster internet connection, had discovered the Ultimate Cycling League and told his dad about it. And even if Kim couldn't outrace everyone, he certainly felt he could outsmart them.

So what was state of the art 30 years ago?

A frame consisting of two triangles with a geometry setup for comfort and endurance, not pure speed. The material would be aluminum-tubes bent in his own shop.
The handlebars looked very handlebarey and normal, because you wouldn't want anything fancy incase you got injured or the bike broke or anything.

The mechanics were mostly scavenged from two early 70's Campagnolo bikes, which meant that the pedals, gears and such look very professional stylish, almost as if Merckx himself were going to ride it.
For brakes, a set Altenburger Synchron calipers were ordered. Nobody exactly knows how good they are, but with a name like, they obviously had to be the best ever, right?

"Yup, I might just make it to Wisconsin in a few months" Kim thought to himself.

Of course the bike still lacked stuff like a saddle, lights and a thing for a bottle. It didn't lack mudguards however, because mudguards are for cowards.


My second attempt, was scraped first time due to the quality of my application, need to be more careful with those GaijinÔÇÖs, they can be quite strict.

Anyway IÔÇÖm in, Mr. Butler said in the phone no rush I will be at least a week, so I left the letter on the table yesterday. Now I am sitting here in my Kimino with my Sencha trying to calm myself down.

It is not a bloody weak. The race starts Saturday 17th of June, it is just 4 days!
Have to find an pre 1979 racing bike on the net that I can pick up as soon as I get to Milwaukee, find someone to take care of the dog and the apartment, book airplane ticket, all within the next 24 hours. Not to mention packingÔÇŽ..my God no noÔÇŽI havenÔÇÖt got a suitcase.


Stress level +30% (time)
Anxiety +20% (fear of the unknown)
Helth +15% (tea)
Spirit +20% (looking forward to travel ÔÇô first time out of Japan)

Ian Butler

Trekking the States - Update

Dear Ultimate Cyclists

In just a few weeks, our very own story of adventure is about to unfold. Our first season will most likely remain limited to the three races (Trekking the States, Icelandic Challenge & Czech to Slovakia). We're very thankful to the organisers to play an essential role in pioneering this new sport. As the sport will gain popularity, we hope more races to pop up and get some sort of revenue for both organisers and riders.

We appreciate all the candidates signing up for this new adventure. We realize the paycheck is somewhat on the disappointing side for now, but we hope to change that within only a few years.

With Trekking the States coming closer and closer, we can give some more information on the first official UCL race.

Stage 1 will take you from Milwaukee to Campaign over some 390 kilometers. So best prepare well for this opening event, as it will be a great first test for any rider. Provisions will be available around Naperville, which you won't go through but pass by within some 20 kilometers. You will also have another provision post around the town of Dwight.


Stage 2 goes from Champaign to the small town of Linton and will be around 207 kilometers, with provisions at hand in Terre Haute.


Prepare well for this first event and we'll see you at the start line the 17th of June, in Milwaukee!

News Concerning 2018

We have yet to start the first race of this new chapter in cycling history and we are already having positive reactions from all around the world. One such reaction has gone so far that we might already have a first confirmed race for the 2018 season. Details will have to be hammered out but the race would take place on Irish soil.

Let's hope for some four-leaf clover luck!

A World Championship Ultimate Cycling?

While we're still working very hard to have an International Governing Body for this new sport, we are also looking into the possibility of organising World Championships for this new discipline of cycling.

With the current budget it'll be hard to get it organised, but maybe with enough volunteers and many helping hands we can pull it off come October 2017. We hereby launch a request for any volunteer to aid us in trying to bring the World Champion jersey to Ultimate Cycling.

Our graphical designer has already gone to work on it, being overly enthusiastic, and came up with the stylish idea of making the Rainbow Jersey for Ultimate Cycling a bit more ... ultimate!

Is this the future World Champion Jersey for Ultimate Cycling?

In order to professionalize the sport, certain members of the organisation are also arguing for a uniform rule concerning bikes & parts. A general consensus of what type of bikes are allowed and which ones are not can only help the sport evolve, they say. If one race organisor says 1975, the other says 1985, it can make a big difference and not everyone can afford to have 5 bikes standby.

We are definitely not out of the woods yet, but we have high hopes for the future!
Edited by Ian Butler on 13-07-2017 15:06

Sex: Male
Nationality (region): Oregon, USA (Originally from Los Angeles).
Date of Birth: 03/03/1995
Height: 6-foot-3 (190cms)
Weight: 185 pounds (84kgs)

When I saw the email saying the first race was going to be in the United States I got really excited. But, then I read further... Wisconsin. Are you serious? Really? That's not exactly what I was expecting.

While I was kinda hoping to race in my hometown of LA, I thought we would we at least be in some big city. Milwaukee wasn't what I had in mind.

Whatever. We will be there, I guess.

Rylie had nearly the same reaction when I told her.


Sex: Female
Nationality (region): Oregon, USA (Originally from Denver, Colorado)
Date of Birth: 21/10/1994
Height: 5-foot-7 (170cms)
Weight: 125 pounds (57kgs)

There are three things I can't stand: 1. Losing. 2. Men who stare. 3. Road trips with Justin. I have a feeling all three are going to happen in this first race.

(1) Losing: Cycling is new to me. On paper, it's simple. Just turn the pedals. In practice, it's much different. To be honest, I don't think I'm ready.

(2) Men who stare: I can see you looking at me. I'm not blind. Those that stare and don't come over and at least try to start a conversation are just creepy. I understand that I'm fairly attractive, but there is more to me than just looks.

(3) Road trips with Justin: Instead of flying to Wisconsin, Justin insists on driving the 30 hours to save money. I don't know if I can handle being alone with him for that long. There is a strong possibility I might jump out of the moving car.

Too harsh? I still have feelings for him, but he turns into a douche when something doesn't go his way. On a 30-hour car trip, something is bound to go wrong.

Wish us luck, we need it.

Hi everyone!
I still can't believe that I'm here in Milwaukee, on my mum's old bike, about to be a part of this new UCL. I've been looking forward and training for this moment for a couple of months now and I'm itching to go. I've no clue how I'll do but right now finishing sounds good!

The route looks really tough but I've been looking at the route maps intently, finding the right food to take with me (or to get on the way, hi Dan!) and I think I can finish. Some of the riders seem like they'll be really good but I think a lot of them are sort of like me, a bit younger looking for this amazing sounding opportunity to pay off! I especially can't wait for the mountains where hopefully my young legs and smaller frame could even move me up a bit and get a couple of points if I'm not too tired. I think I'm the youngest person here at 21 but I'm probably wrong!

Hopefully, I can put up some blogs up during the race to tell you guys how it's going for me and in the race (is there any coverage anywhere? I heard that famous (as you get in CX) CX commentator might be roped into a couple of them?). If not, it's because I probably only have time to eat, drink and sleep!

30/12/14 - matt17br said "Sutty's birthday is more important than [Jesus' Birthday]"
24/2/21 - kandesbunzler said ÔÇťI donÔÇÖt drink famous people.ÔÇŁ

[ICL] Santos-Euskadi | The Life And Times | [Doomed] i.imgur.com/c85NSl6.png Xero Racing
[CX] Listerijns & Kiwis

3x i.imgur.com/wM6Wok5.png x3
Ian Butler

Officially Launched!

Just a little over a week until the first Ultimate Cycling event, we have great news coming from the Ultimate Cycling League. After long talks with the UCI (the world governing body for sports cycling and oversees international competitive cycling events), a decision has been made. Ultimate Cycling will not be recognised as a UCI sport, but instead the UCL will in itself be the governing body of the sport.

Official guidelines and a rulebook are being written as we speak and we expect a fully professional season in 2018, with this year being considered an "essential test year". So what can be expect from a governing body?

- Regular doping tests.
- Clear rules that the race organisations have to follow concerning safety.
- Minimum wage and prize money.
- ...

All in all, it's good news for our sport and while some were initially disappointed to not have come to an agreement with the experienced UCI, others feel it'll be healthy to stay independent.

Dear readers,

in cooperation with Ridley we set up a blog, which will follow my adventure in the Ultimate Cycling League. Therefore, you'll hear from me now either right from this point [Ridley Website BlogPoint] or under www.valurontour.is, the website my friend Sigurd did set up for me.

Talking of Sigurd, not only him but all of my mates were as happy as I when we heard that outstanding news: The UCL, in it's first season, comes exclusively as one of their three events to Iceland. And even better, starting in my hometown in Sauðárkrókur. This is a great thing for me personally, and also for all my mates and my family to understand what the f*** I am doing. But trust me, Sauðárkrókur will be on fire the day the race is there.

As a result it was clear for me that I have to be spot on fit when the race starts. In no way I would be a guy that comes unprepared to home soil and hope that the race will work it's way all alone. No. I will be prepared. From the point on when the news were there I started to expand my rides. Longer. Harder. Faster. At first I did the first parts of the route. I still do whenever I have time. As I did the full ride the first time it took me 3 days to reach the finish. But legs went better and better, soon I only needed two days. And then, 2 weeks ago, it was my first ride going 295 kilometer in one day.

Of course, people weren't happy with me doing those rides. I skipped countless days of school, I had less time for my friends and my girl. And my family - well - don't talk about those. But my decision stands: It is dedication to an experiment. And going through Iceland cleared the last worries of my mind.

With all the support I get the goal is to be competitive from the beginning on. The trip to the US will be learning days, that is for sure, and we'll see how it's done there. But trust me, together with Ridley we are working on plans how to have a proper preperation for that. And of course, they want to see some action from me there, so I won't just sit around. At least they will be receiving pictures from me, as I'll go-pro the racing, which will be streamed at Ridley & my website.

But then again, the USA will kind of be a warm-up for me. And for the fireworks to come. For now I'll train on the gravel roads of Iceland, making sure that I've ridden the Icelandic challenge multiple times before. Not only to gain some road knowledge for the race, but also to gain some confidence for myself and to become stronger and stronger, so that there is an Icelandic guy ready and set for some competitive racing at "Trekking the States".

But be prepared for more. If you come to my Iceland I will know every turn to take, I will know every corner. I will know every piece of dirt on the roads all the way from Sauðárkrókur to Ásahreppur. You can be stronger than me. Most likely somebody will. But if there is one sure thing in this world, then that I will give my all to - if you win - make this the hardest win for you you've ever achieved.

Icy greets,

Ian Butler

Trekking the States
Sponsored by Trek


Race Information

Stage 1



The first stage of Trekking the States has one purpose: to seperate the real from the pretenders. It's no secret the UCL isn't quite sure what they've got yet, with their new sport. They want to keep the door open for everyone to join, but they really want their sport to go into a professional direction, and this first stage is to demotivate those who just want to ride a bike and have fun and maybe get on the television. At 390 km long, this race will open Ultimate Cycling with an endurance challenge.

Not a lot of climbing, but a rather sharp (albeit small) climb six kilometers in, this ought to please those attackers, trying to break away early in the race. The race rules for Ultimate Cycling have yet to be written, so who knows what works and what doesn't?

Expected Weather: 20-24┬░C, Dry, strong wind (E)

Stage 2



The second stage is more humane, with 207 km to be crossed. It isn't climbing-heavy, and features no off-road sections. Partly to recover from the first stage, this is an open race. Making smart decisions will be essential on this course.

Expected Weather: 23-28┬░C, Dry, medium wind (E)

Stage 3



The stages grow even shorter. This one ought to give fireworks. Still not a lot of climbing to do, but the accumulation of stages will start taking a toll. Don't underestimate riding these distances on old bikes, there's a big difference between bikes in the 70s and bikes now!

Expected Weather: 23-27┬░C, Dry, medium wind (N-E)

Stage 4



We finally start climbing. Not in the traditional sense like in the Tour de France, but climbing nonetheless. a 20 km climb with 1,5% average. It's a strength sapper, believe me. Otherwise, it's constantly up and down on this course. The distance is another challenge.

Expected Weather: 25-30┬░C, Cloudy, medium wind (N)

Stage 5



An interesting profile, with a motivating distance for attackers. Almost 2000 height meters in 140 km, that shows it's not for pancakes. The weather ought to cool down a bit, with predictions of heavy wind blowing from the North.

Expected Weather: 25-28┬░C, Cloudy, strong wind (N)

Stage 6



Five days behind us but things don't seem to slow down. The focus of the stage is climbing, but only in the latter half of the race. A climb of 5 km at 5%, and another climb at only 2% average but over 15 km. Not for the traditional climbers, but for those powerful enough to keep the high pace, going slightly uphill.

Expected Weather: 24-27┬░C, Light Rain, strong wind (N)

Stage 7



A time trial. 48 km alone in the saddle, with almost 1000 height meters, so it's no ordinary time trial. Riders will have to manage their efforts well in order to avoid blowing up early.

Expected Weather: 25-28┬░C, Sunny, medium wind (N)

Stage 8



We're slowly heading back to sea level, and it shows up in this profile. There is some climbing to be done and it's never really perfectly flat, but the general trend is to go downhill. A stage of 188 km with constantly up and down. Those who need to make up points in the Overall Classification will make their move here!

Expected Weather: 25-28┬░C, Sunny, medium wind (N-E)

Stage 9



A finish equally epic to the race start. A 350 km adventure from Greenville to Charleston, at the sea. By this time, only a few riders will still be in contention for the overall victory. Who will win this first Ultimate Cycling League event?

Expected Weather: 26-29┬░C, Cloudy, medium wind (E)


It's the first official Ultime Cycling League event. Even for us analysts it's guess-work at its best. At the moment, we have around 40 participants for this race, but with two days left until the start and registration still open 24 hours, we expect some names to be added.

So instead of making a wildly inaccurate top 10 prediction, we present 10 riders to watch during this first UCL event.

1. Rylie Wilson - The first woman to sign-up as a UCL rider. She has already written history in her own way, but she has yet to prove herself on the bike. Will she turn into a serious contender over time or just turn into "that woman who dropped out away as quickly as she signed up"?

2. Allen Caldwell - A professional triathlete, Caldwell is probably a serious contender for the overall victory in this first official race in of UCL. He's from the United States and that ought to motivate him even more. Expect him at the front more often than not.

3. Pierre Vermaelen - If Ultimate Cycling had been an official sport 15 years ago, this man would've been World Champion ten times in a row by now. He is absolute legend in the old-bike-milieu and partly the reason this sport is turning into a real thing now. But he's aging and he's given so much already. It's his dream to at least win one official event, after winning 71 'retro-races' already.

4. Felix Walker - Most likely you've heard this name before. Walker has won the KoM in both the Tour and the Giro in road racing. He's a very able cyclist and takes a big risk by changing direction in his career. It could turn out great, or as a big mistake.

5. Rudy Vecker - has a lot of experience on bikes, both in road racing and on old bikes. He could be a real contender for at least a stage win, and perhaps even the overall victory.

6. Kim Kastrup - Already a fan-favorite here in the United Stages. Large groups of people have already expressed being fan of this Danish enigma with a bike shop. He created his own bike and is here to prove a point. But what that point exactly is, nobody knows.

7. Ludvig Svendsen - Another professional triathlete. Unlike Caldwell, however, he sees UCL only as a good training, so the question is: how deep will he go?

8. Millie Currahan - The second female on our list. She's still young, but seems promising. She wants to have a serious UCL career and become a top rider. In a unisex sport, she has a few disadvantages. She'll need all the willpower she can muster to make her dreams come true.

9. Julianas Kristasis - Kristasis has the most unbelievable life story so far. Racing in the United States, we wouldn't be surprised if Hollywood showed interest to buy his life story and make it into a movie. But Kristasis is here to race. It's the kind of rider we all want to see do well.

10. Valur Jarvi J├│hannson - The big adventurer. One of the more exotic riders in the peloton, coming from Iceland. He's the youngest of the entire peloton and also the largest. This gentle giant has already conquered the sympathy of many fans. He hopes of riding the top 10. But with stages over 300 km and his young age, it won't be easy.

Other Race Information

Start Date: 17th of June, 2017
Finish Date: 25th of June, 2017
Stages: 9
Entry Fee: $250
Total Distance: 1925 km
Bikes & Parts: Year 1978 or earlier.


Wage: $100/stage
Finishing Bonus: $250
Stage Winner Award: $100
Overall Award Money:
1st: Trek Madone 9.5 bike
2nd: $5000
3rd: $2500
4th: $1000
5th: $500

Disqualification Rule:
1st time: -5 points
2nd time: -15 points
3rd time: DQ

Points per Stage:
1st: 20 points
2nd: 15 points
3rd: 12 points
4th: 9 points
5th: 7 points
6th: 5 points
7th: 4 points
8th: 3 points
9th: 2 points
10th: 1 point

Note: The King of Mountain side-classification has been cancelled after the sponsor of the event dropped out unexpectedly.

Accomodation and provisions included.
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I just saw the full public route reveal and I'm super-excited for this - well, all the days except the first and last. I'm not bad over distance but 350km+ will hurt a lot. But if I can survive those two I really look forward to testing myself in the stages in between (especially the hillier stuff) and hopefully going for some early attacks. I was disappointed to see the KoM competition being dropped as I was interested in maybe taking some points there if I was feeling good. But first I need to focus on tomorrow, eating well and making it to the finish.

Also saw Felix Walker signed up for the UCL - I knew him when we were young but not overly well. He used to be a decent rugby player but guess he stopped growing and I think I'm probably better than him now Pfft Good for his cycling though and pretty cool for a Wanaka lad to have such a good cycling career. Shame about the whole Aussie thing but whatever.

Well, I better get some rest, I'll be out for another training ride tomorrow then the day after is the race. Hopefully, I can find some like-minded less strong riders to stay with and get to the finish. If any of said riders read this, please talk to me about it Pfft

30/12/14 - matt17br said "Sutty's birthday is more important than [Jesus' Birthday]"
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[ICL] Santos-Euskadi | The Life And Times | [Doomed] i.imgur.com/c85NSl6.png Xero Racing
[CX] Listerijns & Kiwis

3x i.imgur.com/wM6Wok5.png x3

A few days before leaving for USA

"I ever tell you 'bout Jacky Durand?" Kim Kastrup asked his son.

The son didn't reply.

"Well, I'll tell you what I told i UCL-interviewer: What a guy, attacking, attacking and attacking. I can't outrace any of those former pros in the pack, but I can outattack them!"

Kim smiled, indulging in a nostalgic flashback.

"Yeah, I remember the day you were born. It was snowing and I was 30 kilometers from the hospital. Of course I rode out to see you, through snow and all.
I told the interviewer all that. She loved it, the Durand-part, the you-part, the attacking-part. She said I was sure to get some attention from the fans.
Imagine that, your dad, riding in the breakaway, crowd cheering he goes by on his Kastrup-bike."

Kim turned to his son.

"You imagining that?"

The son didn't reply.

"... go tell your mom I'm almost done in the shop."

Hello there.

I just got off the flight in Milwaukee. It's still a couple of days till UCL starts. I don't know what I've got myself into.

I decided to reach the venue a couple of days early to get a hang of the weather and stuff. It's not too humid so that's a relief. My bike has made it safe and sound, and I'm glad I don't need to put in any last minute repairs. I've been catching up on those videos on YouTube, but I hate handling the small parts. Have to start working on my patience!

I see the town has a lot of posters for the UCL, so I'm guessing the launch will be with a lot of fanfare. I received the race routes a couple days back and I can't say I'm overjoyed. The first couple of stages I need to do something and something big. I don't fancy those mountains I'll be climbing later on.

Anyway, I'll be off now to get myself registered and see who else has joined up with this mad new enterprise. Catch you later.


credits to Kiserlovski once again!
Name: Julianas Kristasis
Sex: M
Nationality (region): Lithuania/Ghana [born in Palanga (Lithuania), riding under the flag of Ghana]
Date of Birth: 14/7/1993
Height: 1.88 m
Weight: 82 kg
Weather Abilities: working very well in hot temperatures, less affected by humid air

Flat Riding: medium
Climbing: low
Bike Handling: high
Stamina: very low
Accelaration: high
Sprint Speed: very high
Recuperation: low
Attacking Spirit: very low
Repairs: high
Off-Road: high
Food Management: high

Biography/The Story behind the Story:

Julianas was born in Palanga, a small coast town in Lithuania. As the second son of two teachers he learned one thing early: To never become similar to his parents.

In his younger years Julianas was a decent cyclist, on the road he was okay but in the former soviet region he grew into a more than decent track cyclist, on his way to a good career. Things started to turn around at the age of 16, where the very intelligent guy was about to attend his last year of school. Julianas came home with a friend of his, telling about his sexual values (he is bi-sexual, had his first friend there).

From then on his parents distanced further from him, and Julianas went away from home at the age of 17. Not to study however, but to start a gap year. Volunteering for Amnesty International and a regional homeless resocialisation project in his schooltime led to the idea to go to Africa for one year, where he worked on a ranch in South Africa's Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park for half a year.

But after that he didn't came back to start, as intended, social studies. Instead he moved to southern Botsvana to join a self-servicing village of a minority closely related to the San. There he spent one year, even growing into the honor of receiving the membership of the village, something only born-into's can receive at any point.

After that experience he never came back to Lithuania; instead he started studying cultural relationships in Addis Abeba. Though it only took one semester for him to then join a volunteer project in Latin America, where he firstly worked on building up a destroyed village in Guatemala. After that he spent three months in Peru, helping a fisher's village to build up a new working way suffering from the huge El Nino.

Coming back from that he went on to take the flight home to Addis Abeba via Dakar and Accra. Traveling through Senegal was a great thing for him, also meeting up with and old member from the Botsvanian village close to Lokgwabe, where his fight for local education was rewarded so well. In Accra though things changed, as he got kidnapped on the street.

After his surprised kidnappers found out that Julianas had a) absolutely nothing on offer for them, as nobody from the "white world" cared about him and b) no problem to communicate with them (beneath English and Lithuanian he speaks perfect French, Spanish, some German and Russian and several dialects in Africaans), they decided to rob him and leave him alone.

Julianas, with absolutely nothing than pants and himself, tried to make his way in Ghana. After two hard months in Accra, where surviving between the civil war, hunger, pain and the occuring problems with him being white was all he cared about, a person he met on a market in Accram took Julianas to Kojina. The village close to the Cote d'Ivore and near by the Krokosue Forest Reserve, where he built up a new life.

Soon the rather black white guy was well-known and accepted in the town for his large contributions in terms of technical knowledge on any imaginable problem. And not only did help on that, he also took over a bigger role in the negotiations with the chinese neo-colonialists, of which short-term offers the village of Kojina was able to resist as one of the few villages around.

Telling his unbelievable story to the local guys made him kind of a town hero, in combination with the positive influence he had on infrastructure and education. 10 months into the Kojina time the governeur of the village visited Julianas, who still lived together with Arikas (the guy that took Julianas with him) family, and gave him a special present for all his efforts for the village: An old bike. Julianas, with the help of the villages mechanic (if you want to call him that) Chibuike, completely repaired and renewed it; it turned out that it was built back in 1976.

With this bike on his hand Julianas started cycling again, but not as a sport. To cover long distances for the village, when there was no other vehicle on offer. The younger guys in the village grew interest in cycling while hearing the story of Julianas, so at one point he had the option to race again. It was a hilarious coincidence however on that 30th Serptember of 2015:

Japheth, a guy from the village, heard in school about races taking part close the the border in the Cote d'Ivoire. As he wanted to know more about that he convinced Julianas to go there with him, of course via backside of a truck, and watch it. It was incredible. Hundreds of thousands of people were on the road at the Tour de C├┤te d'Ivoire-Tour de la R├ęconciliation, when the 4th stage finished in Abegourou, 80 kilometers away from Kojina. The 35 year old Belgian Koen Demuynck won, but furthermore, he gave his starting number, signed, away to Japheth, who had the luckiest day in his life.

Four weeks later a guy on a truck (how else!?!) joined the village, asking for Japheth, telling that they needed a cyclist. It turned out that the national squad of Ghana needed a rider for the Tour du Faso, and they needed a rider. Somebody from there had to have recognized that there was a (former) cyclist in this village, and that they needed him now because in 18 hours 400kms away the Tour du Faso would start. The problem was: That guy wasn't even from Ghana, but from Lithuania.

But only for 2 hours more, because in exchange for 5 bikes for the village and the promise of new equipment for the local school Julianas Kristasis had a passport from Ghana and headed, on the backside of a truck with his old bike, towards Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso. Well, it was 10 days of pain and Julianas finished second last, but what an experience that was. On the flat stage to Boromo he even finished in the Top 10 in the sprint.

Most interesting however was that talk to Mekseb Debesay. Riding for a team called Bike Aid he talked about that amazing project, and beneath meeting nice guys I also learned about the power of cycling.

6 months letter a letter from Germany reached me, telling that they want to contribute to Japheths love for cycling. Matthias Schnapka, who matches the heigth of him, donated his old bike to Japheth.

It never arrived here. As didn't the new equipment for the school. Or as only 2/5 bikes from the government arrived, and they were rotten. Telling that to the BikeAid Team represented by Mathias, they arranged a surprise visit for 2016, after the Tour de Cote d'Ivore. Japheth didn't finally got his bike, but a jersey from the team signated from all. He took it tears in his eyes. What a nice team. And they also had something for me:

A one-way flight to the United-States for 2017. They told me that there was a chance to earn the bike if I really have it. They told me about this race, where my bike should be perfectly fitting for. I can't imagine anything for that to be honest, but for having the chance to bring Japheth his bike it's worth a shot.

Julianas is riding for Ghana, but he is a citizen of the wold. He won't be able to finance anything if it isn't for donations from others or prize money he earns. But he'll try at the Trekking Americo to do it and earn the bike. For Africa. For Japheth. For Cycling.

I've done it. Now that I am here everything looks even tougher. Obviously I hoped for less climbs, but who'd I be to expect an easy race. The focus will, of course, lay on the flat stages. Legs feel good, I might be one of the contenders, at least according to the race organisation.

9. Julianas Kristasis - Kristasis has the most unbelievable life story so far. Racing in the United States, we wouldn't be surprised if Hollywood showed interest to buy his life story and make it into a movie. But Kristasis is here to race. It's the kind of rider we all want to see do well.

Over the last days I did some testings with my bike. Japheth and the guys supported me a lot, searching all over the region back in Ghana. Before I had my flight we even had a look all over the "legal" markets in Accra.

Arriving in Milwaukee it was all about getting to know the others, possibly even agreeing on some alliances. I met two very interesting guys from Africa, Faytinga and Adrian. Had a quick ride with the two to test some legs and damn, they don't look bad. I very much look forward to the race.

Join my movement #forjapheth!

Julianas Kristasis

Here in Milwaukee, things look much more bright now, especially after I got my bike, a beauty, designed and built by Milanese Alberto Masi.

1976 Masi Prestige


Been down at the UCL registration office, and meet with some of the other riders, a nice and very mixed group. I expect to do quite well, but hey no reason to race if you donÔÇÖt. Now I guess I will take a trip into town on my new bike, looking for some good food.

Kanpai Izakaya, Chicago St, Milwaukee


Edited by Tamijo on 18-07-2017 14:41
Jan Anatol Chicu

*Sorry about the lack of banner, it will be updated when I get back from holiday

The plane ticket to the U.S. was no small expense, basically all my savings spent on the cheapest possible flight - which added about 8 total hours of layovers to the long transatlantic journey. I'm only just getting over my jet lag now but the atmosphere here helps, the weather is sunny and there's quite a nice turnout of curious spectators, cycling fans and hardcore retro collectors - there seems to be a retro bike show accompanying the race, there's quite a nice carnival feel, with most fans lining up to met Vermaelen and some Dane, who I'm not sure I ever learnt the name of.

Of course I couldn't afford to take my beloved bike across, instead I was directed to an old man who was willing to rent out his '72 Colnago Super, the 'friend' translating for me seemed to provide some dubious information and my questions were answered in a vague unsettling way which didn't rattled my nerves a little and his eventual promise to 'fix it up for me if I had trouble on my ride' led me to believe he didn't understand the entire enterprise to begin with but I spent some time on it with 'borrowed' tools and made the best of it.

With my first race just about to start, I'm actually feeling quite relaxed, I've got absolutely no goals for the first stage - it'll probably be an incredibly fierce contest and its dreadfully long, so I'd rather save my legs for another day - but after that I'll go for any opportunity to pick up a stage win or something, racing for financial gains isn't the most noble cause but you've got to pay for the return ticket somehow...

"What done is, is one." - Benji Naesen

We have arrived in Milwaukee! And I didn't kill Justin in the process (I'm so proud of myself). But, I hope Justin realizes that if get enough prize money here that I'm going to be flying all the way back to Oregon by myself. He can fly back to Milwaukee to pick up the car and drive all the way back home.

With a couple days to relax before this grueling first race, I explored the town a little bit. Not as bad as I thought it was going to be. I like traveling and seeing new things. Justin, on the other hand, not so much.

He just wanted to stay at the hotel and work on his bike. Whatever.

I'm having a great time and I'm not going to let him drag down my mood.


There is a time for fun and games, and there is a time for getting down to business. For some reason, Rylie struggles to separate the two.

If it wasn't for me, she wouldn't even have a bike or equipment. I had to hustle to get these 1974 Schwinn Varsity Sports. They weren't cheap. Hopefully, I'll get a return on my investment and find the money to travel back home.

Meanwhile, Rylie is too busy wandering around town looking for cute dresses or whatever women shop for these days. Don't get me wrong, she is a talented athlete and trains harder than anybody I know. But, she never takes herself too seriously. It's what I love and hate about her.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I should have been the "Cyclist to Watch." But, no. Rylie gets the headlines again because of her pretty face. I get it, I enjoy looking at it too. But, come on... There is no way she is going to beat me.

While she might be the attractive figure that the UCL uses to promote their new brand of cycling, I want to be the champion on the road that people remember.

Faytinga Amanakzhigraib

Faytinga Amanakzhigraib is one of the most popular African riders in cycling right now but has made the unorthodox choice to switch to the independent and upcoming series the Ultimate Cycling League. We had a few words with him a day before the first race.

Faytinga, the question on everybody's lips really - why have you made the switch?
I mean I love the road cycling and riding at Qhubeka and of course in France but I did miss the sense of adventure and the kind of rides and races that the UCL wants to have and the team sort of knew that. I could have happily ridden on the road for another 10 or 15 years and who knows - I still might! But no, Qhubeka gave me this opportunity to represent them in this series and there wasn't a doubt in my mind - no real risk taken.

And what does the charity mean to you?
Well, I don't have the personal connection to them but I've done a bit of work for them and represented them this year and they're a fantastic charity doing great work giving bikes to both children and adults and helping them and their community. It's an honour to represent them here and I hope to do them justice.

What are your aims for this race?
I really like the route but like everyone really I have no idea how strong we'll all be in comparison to each other and who the real contenders will be. But personally, I will be aggressive, making moves and my main goal is to get a stage win.

Have you caught up with any of the new riders?
Well I knew Felix [Walker] decently well from some breakaways on the road and have briefly said hello to him here but I didn't know anyone before this, but a couple of days ago I met another African, Julianas, who was a very interesting man and a good guy. We went out for a ride yesterday and I got to know him a bit better - he may be from Lithuania but he's riding for Ghana and it's nice to have some African representation here and I know there's others who i've met and look forward to getting to know.
Ian Butler

Trekking the States - Stage 1
Milwaukee - Champaign

Welcome to the first race of the new Ultimate Cycling League. We kick off Trekking the States in the city of Milwaukee, where 46 riders are ready to write history. Along with the 40 official UCL riders, there are six local riders registered at the last moment. We wish all 46 of them a great first stage.

Race Profile

Quite the challenge for a first stage. The message in this course is obvious: they want to take the sport to a professional level as quickly as possible and they put monster stages like these in to dissuade average joe's from competing.

The winner of today's stage will write history as being the first Ultimate Cycling victor.

390,6 km to go:The riders look about ready. Everyone has some basic gear with him to fix their bike if necessary. We see water bottles and some provisions, but there are also those with a minimal set-up and who expect to be provided for along the route.

We're ready for the start. Here comes the gunshot that launches the race, and we're off!

375 km to go: We're already in the suburbs of Milwaukee. So far the riders have simply enjoyed the crowd along the road, enjoyed the attention. The officials car rode in front of the peloton and things have looked like a parade so far. I don't think any of the riders dared to break up UCL's parade by attacking. But the crowd's lessening now and it looks as if we're ready for the real race to start about now!

372 km to go: Pasali Kolayukbatinov is the first attacker in the race! He has a long day ahead of him and he wants to get a head start. Going with him are local rider Tim Archer, Greek rider Akathi Theodorakis, 18-year old Jos├ę S├ínchez Ram├şrez and Kim Kastrup, the Danish cult hero. Five riders, prepared for a 370 km trip!

364 km to go: The five work together well, and in the peloton nobody is eager to sacrifice their own chances to bring back the attackers. The big question about these one-man teams is how the races will unfold. We'll learn soon enough, I guess.

302,5 km to go: The five leaders have a 7 minute advantage. Meanwhile we've had our first flat tyre. Felix Walker struggled a bit with his bike but eventually managed to change his tyre and catch up with the peloton again.

284 km to go: We're already over a hundred kilometers in the race and the five attackers have 13 minutes on the peloton, where the pace is simply not high enough. Among the leaders, Ramirez is struggling a bit, and no longer relaying. His water bottle has been empty for a while now and passing a fountain he didn't want to risk stopping and letting the other go. He needs some water, fast.

280 km to go: And the race is really breaking open, now! Kim Kastrup increased the pace slightly. Just enough to drop Archer and Theodorakis. Ramirez looks like he's dying but by sheer willpower he's still hanging on. Kolayukbatinov and Ramirez don't even add up to Kastrup's age, which is noteworthy. 20 and 18 years old, with the 39-year old Kastrup. It seems a good combination of experience and sense for adventure.

264 km to go: And now things are moving in the peloton as well. With "only" under 300 km left, Pierre Vermaelen sees an opportunity to break this race wide open. He attacks on an uphill section. The road rises about 3% here for a few kilometers. It's not really climbing, but it's tough enough to drop behind if you're not strong enough.

Tony Gregory loses contact, as do Jon Stuart, Silvio Morello, Martin Lemmings, Peter Venturi and Matej Molnar.

257 km to go: The three leaders are losing time to the upcoming chasing group, consisting of Pierre Vermaelen and another 20 or so riders. The peloton has split into many fractions, with the largest part moving at an increased pace. Vermaelen and Walker are the ones showing the most initiative. Vermaelen has extensive experience with this kind of racing and Walker is a professional cyclist, so that shouldn't be so surprising.

242 km to go: Bad luck for Miarian Dupont, as she has to give up in the race. After a problem with her gears, she managed to only make it worse. Her bike is totaled and she won't be making the finish line today.

240,8 km to go: Time's up for Archer and Theodorakis. After being left behind by their co-attackers, they're now swallowed up by the moving peloton and left behind instantly.

Meanwhile, the difference to the leaders of the race is diminished to 6 minutes.

239,2 km to go: Word has gotten around to the attackers that the peloton is nearing. Kastrup remains calm, but his two co-attackers don't want to be caught and they increase the pace drastically. Kastrup follows them, but no longer relays himself.

236 km to go: The battle continues for the attackers. The peloton, now reduced to 18 riders, is cooperating quite well and the three attackers are now trying to match that pace and keep it up for another 230 km. Kastrup has let the two young riders go and is now taking some time, filling up his water bottles and getting something to eat, waiting for the peloton.

228 km to go: Kolayukbatinov and Ramirez can't keep up the fast pace and are now only 2 minutes ahead of the peloton, where Kastrup has taken place in last position.

220,1 km to go: Looks like we can start again from scratch, as the last remaining attackers are caught. We have 21 riders in this peloton. Their names are:

Allen Caldwell
Felix Walker
Adrian Ndjankonga
Jan Chicu
Ludvig Svendsen
Jeanne Serreau
Rudy Vecker
Pierre Vermaelen
Justin Reed
Faytinga Amanakzhigraib
Lukas Sev─Źik
Boris Bauer
Wallace Lester
Greg Williams
Jolyon Huan
Valur Jarvi J├│hannson
Jos├ę S├ínchez Ram├şrez
Pasali Kolayukbatinov
Keigo Yoshigaki
Kim Kastrup
Rylie Wilson

However, not far behind them, trailing by 3 minutes, are 6 riders. Their names:

Julianas Kristasis
Chad B. Stephenson
Daniel O'Reilly
Yeray Gallego do Prado
Robert Joseph Giordano
Millie Currahan

196 km to go: Things have slowed down a little bit, with riders eating, drinking and some relative rest on the bike. In the sun it's quite hot right now and the riders seem to be saving themselves for the finale.

193 km to go: The rest is over! We have an attack and this is not a trivial one. Boris Bauer, Pierre Vermaelen, Lukas Sevcik and Wallace Lester are making a run for it!

There are plenty of riders trying to go with them and the group gets pulled on a long line. It's enough for Rylie Wilson to drop out. Ramirez and Kolayukbatinov have given a lot in the early attack and don't even try to hang on at this point.

192,4 km to go: Rudy Vecker with an impressive attempt to make the jump to the attackers. He's some 100 meters behind.

191,8 km to go: The four attackers work together well and they keep Vecker at 100 meters. The other riders are already over 400 meters behind, now hesitating as to who should do the chasing.

190,3km to go: Rudy Vecker is fighting for his life to catch up. The four attackers see that the peloton is distanced enough and now take some gas back. This allows Vecker to catch up. Five leaders now.

183 km to go: The gap has already grown to 2 minutes. It looks like the peloton has given up on the chase. Some riders are clearly annoyed by this, mostly Allen Caldwell, who looks quite strong today.

165 km to go: Here are the five names of the attackers again: Vermaelen, Vecker, Lester, Bauer, Sevcik.

Vermaelen has been doing races like this the past 20 years or so, he knows what he's doing and he can take the distance.
Vecker also has some experience with Ultimate Cycling, so we expect him to know his stuff, too.
Lester is a new name and it's a pleasant way to get to know him this way.
Bauer used to play tennis but changed to cycling. It seems he made the right choice.
Lastly, Sevcik is a professional cyclist, always been a good domestique but now riding for himself.

157,6 km to go: The five leaders have had some conversations and it looks like they were productive. They relay well together and it looks like they made an agreement to keep riding until km x. That makes things even worse for the chasing group, who are completely disorganised. The gap is 8 minutes.

157,2 km to go: Theresa Johnson won't be finishing today's race. She's just quit.

152,8 km to go: We have some news from further down the field. Several riders have formed some kind of gruppetto. Although there is no time limit, you don't want to cross 200 km on your own. The gruppetto is already 52 minutes behind the race leaders.

110,5 km to go: With their lead at around 15 minutes, the five leaders have a high chance of making it to the finish line. They still work together well and there's plenty of experience in their group. The winner of today's race is most likely in this group. 110 km is still a long way to go, but 15 minutes is a big lead.

108km to go: A problem with Lucien Strauss' bike. It takes him a long time to find the problem and now he's back on his way, having lost about 10 minutes.

94,9 km to go:Allen Caldwell is more than tired of the lack of cooperation in the chasing group. On a long straight section, he goes to the other side of the road and gets in time trial position. He takes 50 meters... 100 meters... 150 meters.

91,2 km to go:Are we about to witness a formidable comeback? Caldwell is coming closer to the leading group. He's signaled at 13 minutes from the race leaders.

82 km to go: Caldwell's efforts might just be rewarded. 8 minutes left to the head of the race. Meanwhile, the chasing group has now been caught by another group. Maybe this will give them a motivation to increase the pace.

53 km to go: Not far now. The leaders are still relaying well, riding a steady pace. Caldwell is only 3 minutes behind them.

46,5 km to go: Attack! Pierre Vermaelen wants to leave his companions behind! Rudy Vecker is quick to react. Boris Bauer takes a bit longer but then jumps on the opportunity and the trio rides away from Sevcik and Lester.

45,2 km to go: Caldwell has been stuck on 3 minutes for a while, now he's dropping back again. 4 minutes. It looks like he's suffering a lot, too.

36 km to go: Boris Bauer with a flat tyre at a very unfortunate moment! This leaves Vecker and Vermaelen alone at the front. Both experience with UCL. No coincidence in the first UCL official race.

24 km to go: The duo know each other. Both seem equally strong today and neither is trying to get rid of the other at this point. Their lead over Bauer, Lester and Sevcik is only 2 minutes. That's still not conclusive, so they have to keep riding.

22 km to go: Caldwell's suffering has no end. He's 8 minutes behind the race leaders again. On the other hand, the group chasing behind him is still 7 minutes further back. So Caldwell should be able to secure a sixth place if he manages to keep himself together.

17,4 km to go: Vermaelen tries to get rid of Vecker! But the Luxembourger knew this was coming and reacts easily!

14,2 km to go: The big chasing group has broken into two big parts. Serreau, Svendson, Huan, Williams, Walker, Johannson and Kastrup are one part, the other, between a minute and a half and two minutes behind are Currahan, Giordano, Reed, Chicu, Stephenson, do Prado, Ndjankonga and Amanakzhigraib. They'll have to hurry if they want to pick up any points at the finish.

9 km to go: Vermaelen realizes he can't get rid of Vecker today and the two look like they'll ride to the finish together. Who's faster in the sprint? We'll find out soon.

7 km to go: Icelander Johannson and Australian Felix Walker make a late move for some points. They ride away from their group. A strong attack after about 375 km behind them!

3 km to go: Who has any juice left in their legs? We'll find out soon...

800 meters to go: Vecker is forcing Vermaelen to stay in first position. The Luxembourger won't let the Belgian out of his sight now.

400 meters to go: Tension rising. The crowd is rather large and they're cheering the riders on!

200 meters to go: Vermaelen gets out of the saddle and starts his sprint! Vecker follows.

100 meters to go: It seemed as if Vecker had everything under control, but Vermaelen takes a few lengths!

50 meters to go: Vecker keeps going and makes up some space. Vermaelen is finished and sits down. Is his lead enough to secure the win?

Finish: It isn't! In a 390 km race, Vecker wins over Vermaelen with half a wheel! He timed his sprint better and kept going to the line, winning the first stage of Trekking the States!

Lukas Sevcik makes a late move for the third place. He comes in solo, just ahead of Bauer, who settles the sprint for place 4 ahead of Lester.

And here comes Allen Caldwell. He looks completely broken, but takes 5 points today nonetheless.

Felix Walker shook off Johannson in the final kilometers and is 7th. Johannson is a nice 8th today.

A group of five will sprint for the remaining points... And it's Williams and Huan who pick up the last points.


Tony Gregory has abandoned today's stage.

The last rider to finish is the Turkish Ayla Demir. She finishes over 3 hours later.

Result - Stage 1
1Rudy Vecker10:58:24
2Pierre Vermaelen"
3Lukas Sev─Źik3:14
4Boris Bauer3:25
5Wallace Lester"
6Allen Caldwell14:21
7Felix Walker16:05
8Valur Jarvi J├│hannson16:39
9Greg Williams19:22
10Jolyon Huan"
11Ludvig Svendsen"
12Keigo Yoshigaki"
13Jeanne Serreau"
14Kim Kastrup20:25
15Justin Reed23:41
16Faytinga Amanakzhigraib"
17Adrian Ndjankonga"
18Jan Chicu"
19Robert Joseph Giordano"
20Millie Currahan"
21Yeray Gallego do Prado"
22Chad B. Stephenson"
23Daniel O'Reilly28:11
24Rylie Wilson37:14
25Julianas Kristasis52:02
26Rafael dos Cardosa53:42
27Vincenzo Lombardi"
28Chris Lou Anderson"
29Peter Venturi53:48
30Lucien Strauss53:49
31Mateusz Kranitsevski1:00:16
32Pasali Kolayukbatinov1:24:58
33Jos├ę S├ínchez Ram├şrez1:26:41
34Martin Lemmings1:53:13
35Richard Murphy"
36Akathi Theodorakis2:11:26
37Tim Archer2:23:50
38Silvio Morello2:36:59
39Matej Molnar"
40Robert Selig"
41Marcel Phillips"
42Jon Stuart"
43Ayla Demir3:09:15
DNFTony Gregory-
DNFTheresa Johnson-
DNFMiarian Dupont-

Overall Classification
Rudy Vecker20
Pierre Vermaelen15
Lukas Sev─Źik12
Boris Bauer9
Wallace Lester7
Allen Caldwell5
Felix Walker4
Valur Jarvi J├│hannson3
Greg Williams2
Jolyon Huan1
Jan Chicu0
Kim Kastrup0
Justin Reed0
Rylie Wilson0
Keigo Yoshigaki0
Millie Currahan0
Faytinga Amanakzhigraib0
Julianas Kristasis0
Chris Lou Anderson0
Peter Venturi0
Jeanne Serreau0
Rafael dos Cardosa0
Chad B. Stephenson0
Robert Joseph Giordano0
Jos├ę S├ínchez Ram├şrez0
Lucien Strauss0
Yeray Gallego do Prado0
Pasali Kolayukbatinov0
Mateusz Kranitsevski0
Ludvig Svendsen0
Adrian Ndjankonga0
Vincenzo Lombardi0
Richard Murphy0
Akathi Theodorakis0
Matej Molnar0
Silvio Morello0
Daniel O'Reilly0
Ayla Demir0
Martin Lemmings0
Tim Archer0
Robert Selig0
Marcel Phillips0
Jon Stuart0
Theresa Johnson-5
Miarian Dupont-5
Tony Gregory-5

Hot damn that was hard!

What a tough race - I was hurting the whole time but in the best way - it was really enjoyable in that chasing group - I got dropped from the front group halfway through but I managed to catch and pass some of those guys in the chasing group I joined. We rode well for a while looking for the points once my group had caught the rest of the peloton which didn't attack. With about 25km to go the guys like Walker and Johansson went off the front and I couldn't match their pace but to come in in the group behind them for 20th was way above my expectations and definitely gives me a boost going into the mountains.

I think I judged my food pretty well and got the right stuff and knew what was on offer at the provisions stops (where we had a mutual agreement for a certain amount of time at) and what I didn't need to take as much of at the start of the day. It's a really fun and unique way to race and I wouldn't have it any other way. I may have wanted to puke at the end and the legs will be sore tomorrow, but bring it on, I love the UCL already.

The bike also held up well today, didn't have any issues - it's a pretty good one that my mum used to own, she won it at some triathlon event when she was young. I got it done up for the race over here and luckily it survived the flight from Queenstown! Fingers crossed I won't have to fix it too much before the end of the race - I spent a while tuning it up again tonight and will do it every night and pre-stage but as I'm still learning the finer points of repairs I'd like not to have to do it under pressure on the bike - I've got experience enough in races like the Coast to Coast but who knows how I'll go here.

My plan tomorrow will be similar to today but I'd like to have a go at an attack depending on my legs and the pace of group that I'm in. But it might be best to save myself to see what I'm capable of in the stages with more climbing metres. Who knows?
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