When he checked the weather report in the final few days before departing for 2017’s TransAtlantic Way Race – a 2500km a single stage self-supported road bike ride between Dublin and Cork via The Wild Atlantic Way – Björn Lenhard wondered what on earth he’d let himself in for. “I was like, ‘Oh Jesus, what have you done now?” Why did you register?’” he says with a bemused smile. But foul weather aside, only 6 days, 1 hour, and 24 minutes after cycling out of Dublin, Björn crossed the finish line in Cork as the winner. He then went on to repeat the feat in 2018, shaving off almost a day in the process to complete the course in an astounding 5 days, 3 hours, and 38 minutes – raw numbers that do little to communicate the bloody-minded stubbornness needed to endure, let alone win such a tempestuous event.
Skyping in a few weeks after the 2018 edition, Björn readily admits that neither the course nor country were reasons for registering for the event. For him, it was all about Mike Hall. “I saw the race come up on the internet, and of course, it piqued my interest,” he says. “A few months later, I saw that Mike had registered, and I thought, well, that’s a good idea. I mean, there are not many possibilities to race against him. Of course, that was before Mike’s accident in Australia – a terrible loss.”