Last month, professional road racing cyclist and mountain biker Lachlan Morton set off from Brittany at the same time at the Tour de France peloton with the goal of beating it Paris completely unassisted.
After 18 days, 5,510 km on the road with 65,500 meters of vertical gain, the ballsy Australian arrived in Paris during the early hours of June 13 with celebratory laps around the Champs-Elysées — five whole days ahead of the Tour de France. He averaged around 300km a day, sometimes sleeping just 4 hours a night.
Not only did Morton ride the 3,383 km of the race’s 21-stage route, but he also rode the transfers, adding around 2,090 km to his journey.
For context, the 3 weeks of the traditional Tour de France is considered one of the hardest endurance tests on the Planet, but riders “sleep in hotels and ride team buses to and from starts and finishes. While mechanics obsessively clean, repair, and tune their bicycles every night, riders get daily massages and chef-prepared meals designed for optimal fueling and recovery.”
Lachlan Morton’s Alt Tour
On the other hand, Morton’s Alt Tour (as he called it) was a homage to the first TDF over a century ago, a more rugged affair which “prized riders’ self-reliance, with the modern adventure riding trend of bikepacking.” Morton biked the route completely unassisted; carrying all his own gear, food, and made all his own repairs (of which there were several over the course of his journey). He camped outside and ate in restaurants along the way when possible.
Morton’s Alt Tour was plagued with problems early on. Knee issues forces him to switch between his riding shoes and a pair is green Birkenstocks with a strap removed and flat peddles, plus he suffered many punctures over the 18-day period.
However he persisted, through intense elevation in the Pyrenees, knee pain, rough sleeping and strong headwinds to beat the peloton by five whole days. His ride raised a huge $475,000 for World Bicycle Relief, enough for more than 3,200 bicycle donations.
- lachlan_morton: Wikipedia / Unsplash