We offer you the second interview to the managers of the five toughest MTB races in the world. In this occasion we talk with Francesc Sallent, Director of Transpyr, the Spanish race that in its second year has come into the top of the hardest races.
Recently, the Mountain Biking UK magazine selected the five hardest MTB races in the world. Transpyr (TR) is one of the top five.
What makes TR one of the hardest MTB races in the world?
The Transpyr is progressively being known as The Graduate in Mountain Biking. Probably the main reason is the average stage distance and climbing meters, 105 km and 2.500 m during 8 daily stages, in any kind of terrain. Starting with 3 very hard journeys, this coast to coast epic provides any kind of situation that avid bikers most appreciate and are part of the sport.
What do you think makes TR different from other events?
The illusion and thrill of having a mission to fulfill: to join the Mediterranean and Atlantic seas along the Pyrenees in only 8 days of pure mountain biking. The sole challenge of becoming a Transpyr Finisher moves most of the participants field, thus it is not an ordinary mountain bike stage race but a lifetime adventure for any avid biker worldwide. Innovative, fully reliable GPS technology is used to follow the route, avoiding to put intrusive signals everywhere and therefore being able to discover the wonders of the Pyrenees as it is.
How many bikers attended the TR last year and how many were women?
Transpyr is very young and as a selective event there were around 85 participants in 2010 and 185 in 2011, expecting above 200 for 2012, always in teams of 2 or 3 riders and with around 10 women average every year.
What kind of bikers usually go on the TR?
So far we had mainly two profiles, coming from a total of 15 different countries. First of all we have pioneer mountain bikers who have already tried any kind of race and adventure, plus quite trained avid bikers who do not want to miss this challenge. Then we have some endurance oriented amateur athletes who like mountain biking or cycling and wanted to test their skills and strength in this outstanding adventure.
What percentage of the participants finish?
We have a ratio about the 80% of the starting participants managing to become a finisher, that is, covering the whole distance of the event in the maximum authorized time. Which, to our eyes, speaks about the strength of the individual will that everyone of us holds inside. Some of the remaining 20% may have had a small problem one day, even a bicycle failure, allowing them to rejoin the course of the event although not deserving the finisher distinction.
How did the TR originate?
It is a long story watching the birth and growing of events such as Transalp until a few romantics of the Pyrenees and mountain biking got together and decided it had to be done. There is no big event company backing it, neither big sponsors so far. Just tones of illusion, promoters private investment and risk, and hundreds of riding kilometers to provide a unique experience to those who dare.
How has the TR evolved through the years?
We can feel that in just two editions Transpyr deserves the attention of the biking community worldwide. The present economical crisis situation –especially deep in Spain- not helping us to grow faster, we focus on the quality of every small part of the event so that at least we can preserve the very good satisfaction ratio of the participants, while we try to grow in field number and hopefully finally deserve the confidence of sponsorship.
How many people are involved in the organization?
Transpyr is a small family of highly committed friends and loyal collaborators which during the event reaches around 50 people, plus some external services
Where do the funds come from to finance the event and what percentage comes in from (sponsors, fee participants, hosting city, etc)?
We are in the investing start up process. At present, the overall result says that participant fees covers around 60% of all costs, being small sponsorship and especially promoters investment what makes it possible.
Finally, what would you say to a biker to convince him to choose the TR over other MTB races?
Transpyr is not another ordinary mountain bike stage event but a class of itself, the culmination of your biking life: the Pyrenees coast to coast is an outstanding lifetime experience where competitive riders find as well their place as we time up the stages and the overall event. In short, Transpyr is The Graduate in Mountain Biking.
Previous interview: Roman Urbina, founder of La Ruta de los Conquistadores
Next interview: Ironbike
Other sections related:
Mountain bike stage events