88 brave souls from 16 countries are pedalling away, all trying to beat each other to Istanbul
The cyclists in the second Transcontinental Race are off like a rocket on dodgy steroids, on a charge for Eastern Europe. They're taking part in the second such race, which sees riders from various backgrounds all pitting their legs and brains against each other.
It's not like the Tour de France - there's only one stage and the clock never stops. Neither do the riders.
It's only about 2500 miles - so what?
Think about it this way: true, it's a quarter of the distance of the Mongol Rally. But each rider has about a twentieth of the horsepower, a hundredth of the luggage space, and still no support whatsoever. They're still free to choose their route as well - it's a race, not a railroad
In a throw back to the cycling days of olde, it's a test of mental stamina as well as physical.
The basic premise of the event is that almost everything should be done in the saddle. You have no room for a tent, you can't stop for a hug, and rest stops are optional (and potentially in ditches). If you want to win, you have no time to stop.
On the third day of racing, the front runners are in the Alps heading for the second mandatory control point. The leader, Kristof Allegaert of Belgium, has almost cleared them entirely. He won last year's race, and seems to be defending his title so far.
There's a few fellow Adventurists on the race as well, notably our veteran Nick Dodd. As I write, he's riding along the German/Swiss border, following the Rhine for now.
We can't mock too much though, he's obviously got some nerve. We would say he has balls, but judging by his saddle we can't be too sure any more.