Taking place on 19-25 July, the Craft BIKE Transalp is a seven-stage, 625km mountain bike race with +19,000m of climbs, from Ruhpolding in the Bavarian Alps to Italy’s stunning Riva del Garda. Among its 1,200+ riders is Jon Fearne, who will be taking on this gruelling route for the first time with teammate Oli Woods. Here, Jon explains the challenges ahead and the training and nutrition needed to conquer them:


Jon Fearne

What Unique Challenges Lay Ahead?

The key is the altitude and the constant climbing. You’re looking at +19,000m of climbing over seven days, so when you’re based in the UK it’s very hard to replicate that kind of training. Luckily, a friend sent me up every big hill we could find! I run training camps in Tenerife too, so I’m quite used to that kind of riding at altitude.


My race partner has been based in the Alps for the last three months, so he’s been able to get some good climbing in. Time on the bike is going to be acute if you’re training for something like this. Even if you can’t replicate the climbing, you need to be putting 4-6-hour rides in, depending on what your goals and fitness levels are.


Some people are riding out there for 8+ hours, but Oli and I are hoping for about 4-5 hours each day. That’d be great!

What Inspired You to Compete in the Craft Bike Transalp?

I’ve coached top-10 finishers for this event before, which has sparked me to go out there and do it myself. I’ve ridden certain stages in the past but I’ve never done the complete seven days, so it’ll be my first time bringing it together as an athlete.

I did a stage race in Lanzarote back in January, which was just four days, and that went really well. There will be another three days added onto this race, so it will be interesting…

I’m riding a Cannondale F-Si Lefty. I’ve also got a spare Lefty in case anything goes horribly wrong!



What Is The Toughest Climb On The Course?

The first stage isn’t too bad, there’s only about 2,000m of climbing, which is quite nice, but as you move on there are some nasty, big climbs. Stage 3’s Tauernkreuz (pictured) is around 2,500m and starts low. You have pretty much the whole climb to do and that’s right at the very start of the stage, so you’re talking 20km up to the top. It’s a hard start to the race because you haven’t had a chance to warm up properly.

What Is Your Race Day Nutrition Plan?

60-90 minutes before the race I eat a solid breakfast to fuel my first hour of riding: porridge mixed with honey and nuts, toast, orange juice and a cup of tea. Leading up the race I’ll sip on an energy drink to deal with the nerves and maybe eat an energy bar just before the race starts. If it was a shorter race I’d add a caffeinated gel for a quick start, but on these longer events I’ll save it for about midway.


I’m also having around 750ml of fluid and two energy gels every hour. I tend to have a carb electrolyte drink so that I’m getting hydration and energy at the same time. You’re out there for a long time and it’s a big demand on the body, so you need to make sure that you’re fuelling properly.


How Do You Stay Motivated Through a Gruelling Multi-Stage Race?

My race partner is a super-psyched Duracell Bunny, so he’ll keep me motivated if I dwindle. I raced Ironman semi-professionally for a long time. Ironman comes down to that one start, but because Transalp is a multitude of days you haven’t quite got that nervous energy on the start line. The start on Stage 6 and Stage 7 will definitely be more nervous when you realise that it’s coming to an end.


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