Affectionately referred to by organisers as ‘the godfather of gravel, Ten Dam returns for a third time to Transcordilleras. He finished second to winner Peter Stetina in the eight-day stage race in 2022, then won the overall last year.
Transcordilleras is a stage race, an endurance test and a bikepacking adventure rolled into one across 985km of the three ranges of the Andes mountains in Colombia, which begins February 11. Returning for the eight-day, self-supported stage race that concludes on February 18 are top Colombians Antonio Donado Calle, who was second overall last year, and Brayan Chaves Rubio, third overall.
Marcelo Gutierrez, Colombian mountain bike national champion and downhill legend, will also be hoping for a better year after a late DNF in 2023 following a crash and resulting fractured clavicle that ended his week in the last 10km from the finish line on stage 8.
US-based newcomers for the eight days of racing include Russell Finsterwald, who won Big Sugar Gravel in 2022, Whitney Allison, who was second overall at the 2023 Belgian Waffle Ride Quadrupel Crown, and Griffin Easter, who was third at Rebecca’s Private Idaho last year and on the road won the queen stage of the 2017 La Vuelta a Colombia.
On the start for the non-stop category is Canadian road veteran Rob Britton, last year’s Belgian Waffle Ride British Columbia winner with top 10s at SBT GRVL and BWR California.
The full version of nearly 1,000 kilometres takes in a staggering 23,650 metres of elevation gain, most of it on remote dirt roads and washed-out gullies. Category winners will be recognised in Santa Fé de Antioquia for the top individual men and women, as well as two-rider teams, composed of one woman and one man.
For the week of suffering, organisers provide a navigation device with live tracking and overnight accommodations each night. Participants must carry their own supplies, from bike repairs to apparel and nutrition.
It can be a daunting week, but Finsterwald said it was all about “respect the terrain, embrace the altitude, and just keep pedalling”.
“I’m mostly excited for a new type of challenge and look at this race as a great way to build some fitness for the upcoming race season as well as a way to test out some of the new equipment I’m…