Bikepacking races operate under the same general principle: cycle the full path end-to-end, as fast as possible, in a solo, self-supported fashion, under your own power. You will find below the individual rules along with an explanation as to why they are there.
This is a race. Whether you race for a top 10 finish or race yourself, you must give your all, safely. If people prefer to tour we have a touring map available as well. If you need to hitch a ride to a nearby town for resupplies, sleep or repair this is fine provided that you return to the exact location (within 5 meters) where you left off to continue the race. Canada is a huge country with constantly improving (and already impressive) cycling infrastructure. If a bike path or calmer side road is found along the official route but is not indicated on that route you are welcome to use it. As long as it does not materially shorten the distance it will not be considered a disqualification-worthy deviation. Use your best judgment and look out for your own personal safety at all times.
The official path will be available on the private racers' resource page on this website and may change at any moment before or during the race (of course if a road closure forces a change racers who already passed that point will not be penalized for deviating). It is downloadable using RideWithGPS and is already cut into 4 sections for convenience. In the case of a flood or forest fire a racer may use any mode of transportation they can find to cross the danger area or avoid it altogether without penalty. They must, however, make up for that distance through a loop or detour of their own choosing of equal or greater length before the end of the race.
The race is a web-administered, do-it-yourself challenge based on the purest of wagers: the gentleperson’s agreement. Nothing to win or lose but honor.
An app will be made available for Android and iOS that supplement the tracking offered through Trackleaders and allow any communications from the race director to the whole group. Having this application installed and functioning during the race is mandatory.
Every bike will be inspected at the start of the race and should include at least one battery-operated back light, at least one back-facing red felector, at least one battery-operated forward-facing lamp, at least one forward-facing reflector, red or amber reflectors on the pedals (reflective tape is ok, velomobiles do not need this). A bell must also be present on the bike and easily accessible on the handlebars (it is a legal requirement in some provinces like Ontario ).
There is no such thing as being too visible to drivers on the road. The organizers encourage your creativity as long as the local laws are respected.
Riders alone are responsible for their own safety. There is no point in risking one’s life for a race. Be prudent, be visible, make your location known (see the following rules).
Riders must have a fresh canister of easily-accessible bear spray at the starting location. Note that getting those sent ahead by mail may be difficult or impossible, so you are encouraged to buy locally from Whitehorse shop owners. It is wise to call early to reserve one.
You can ride any bike you want: bicycle, tricycle, recumbent, velomobile, etc. as long as no engine or sail is involved.
Riders may not draft or collaborate with other riders to gain aerodynamic benefits.
No motors can be used.
It is a self-supported race.
The race uses Trackleaders as the final record of adherence to the path, completion of the race and completion time. Racers must broadcast their position at all times. In order to allow all participants to feel safe, the Trackleaders-associated tracker can be shut off up to 5 kilometres from their intended sleeping location. The app will keep privately communicating the sleeping location to the race organizer. The race organizers however must be able to validate that people are not sleeping in private residences (except AirBnB and Warmshowers) and so the racing app will keep tracking the location of the racers. Should law enforcement or public safety personnel need to find a missing racer or document an accident this information will also be made available to them upon request.
Do not however forget to turn your tracker on when you start racing. Racing without a Trackleaders-associated tracker will result in disqualification.
Updates to the dispatch are time-delayed and not intended to ensure rider safety. Online GPS tracking is also not intended to ensure rider safety. It is for informational purposes as well as validation of course compliance.
A rider may resupply food/equipment, rent a room, launder clothing, even service their bike at commercial shops along the way. The intent is to ride unsupported between towns, and function self-supported when in towns. Any services utilized must always be commercially available to all challengers and not pre-arranged. No private resupply, no private lodging, with one single exception allowed.
The goal here is to be fair to all racers, including those who come from abroad. Everybody has the same requirements: race their race and organize for their needs without outside help unless that help is available to all. Racers may sleep at AirBnB or Warmshowers locations for example but not at a friend’s place unless that friend made a public announcement and credible commitment on the Facebook group to host any other racers. Given the length of the race however and the solitude it may engender racers are allowed one exception for private sleeping arrangements throughout the course of the race. That exception must be communicated to the race organizer with the use of the app before the start of the race. Racers not abiding by this stipulation will be disqualified. We do encourage racers to use online services to get counsel, for example, with emergency bike repairs if they are too far from a bike shop or if they prefer that format. The race manual will include such a contact that anyone can use.
Visitors are welcome during the race but may not bring supplies, offer lodging, navigation or other material help. Racers can mail or otherwise ship resources ahead of time to post offices, hotels, motels, bike shops, restaurants or commercial mail receiving facilities only using commercially-available means. Shipments can be sent no earlier than 72 hours before the start of the race. Any supplies required for after the end of the race can be shipped any way and to whichever location the racer chooses. It is common to mail a change of clothes, spare parts, supplements or even dry food ahead of time.
Racers are ambassadors to other Canadians of this new race format. Treat waitstaff, lodging operators, volunteers, organizers and other racers with kindness.
Weather in Canada can be rough and sudden. For example the Rockies in August are the site of massive forest fires. For your safety you are required to have reached Calgary no later than July 30th. If you think you cannot make the cut-off point by that date exit the course as quickly as possible. The segment between Vancouver and Calgary goes through many cities with bus stops, train service, or local airports. Racers who have not reached Calgary by that date will be deemed to have abandoned the race. For those who are touring or going at a much slower pace than the average the race director heavily recommends that – unless you have experience with snow and ice and the proper clothing and equipment to face those conditions – that you be off the course by the time the first non-melting snows arrive.
TransCanada Bike Race organizers reserve the right to relegate a rider from the Trans Canada General Classification (GC) for confirmed rules violations.
No rider will be notified of possible relegation mid-race. It is the sole responsibility of all riders to know the rules, police themselves, and in cases of course deviation, recognize their error and correct it before proceeding on route. Ideally, any rider who defaults on these rules will honorably scratch from the General Classification. Trans Canada is a do-it-yourself challenge. Racers alone must police themselves. There is nothing to win but a measure of your own personal achievements.
Riders must act in the spirit of self sufficiency and equal opportunity for all racers.
Note: If a racer voluntarily scratches from the General Classification mid-race, yet continues on to finish the Trans Canada, their individual tracking page will remain online/updated for informational purposes, however, they will be removed from the group (GC) tracking map.
Pairs are a self supported unit allowed to share any and all resources within the unit. The rules are the same as for solo racers with one all encompassing exception. That exception being that support is allowed between the paired racers. The pair may share resources, navigation duties, as well as being allowed to draft and tow etc. Paired racers are essentially joined at the hip or in tandem across the country. Pairs do not have to exclusively travel with each other–solo riding is allowed–but both riders must reach the end of the route before the pair is deemed finished.
Paired racers may not draft other pairs or interfere with solo racers in any way.
Paired racers must both carry a tracker. If one of the pair quits the race, the other is allowed to continue to finish and may be ranked in the GC with an asterisk denoting paired travel.
To clarify, paired racers start together, ride together, and hopefully finish together. Drafting is allowed between the pair as well as sharing all other resources. These features are what distinguish paired riders from solo riders.
2020-12-04: Initial text
2021-01-03: Removed the pedal reflectors obligation for velomobiles