Chapeau to Emily Chappell!

emily chappell

Emily Chappell - adventurer, author and ex-London cycle courier, was the first woman to finish the gruelling Transcontinental Bike Race No.4 after riding unsupported for 13 days 10 hours and 28 minutes.

Chappell had previously attempted the race in 2015 but had to pull out due to health issues. The route changes annually but is always a huge physical challenge with this year's course covering approximately 3,400 km with about 50,000 metres of climbing.

Incredibly, Chappell finished nearly two days ahead of her nearest female rival, Johanna Josten-Van Duinkerken. In last year's race only one woman made the finish line.

The PEdAL ED Transcontinental Bike Race lets riders pick their own course. The rules are that riders must start and finish at set positions and arrive at various checkpoints along the way. This year's fourth TransCon started in Flanders, finishing in Istanbul, with riders travelling via Clermont-Ferrand in France, the Furka Pass in Switzerland, Italy's Passo di Giau and Durmitor Massif, in Montenegro.

Organisers of the race describe it as: "a long and beautifully hard bicycle race for masters of self reliance." Like its American cousin, the TransAm, competitors must ride unsupported for the duration and no drafting is allowed. Successful riders get by with minimal sleep.

Watch the video below to see Emily describe the last torturous 12 hours and why she could have completed the race a day earlier if she'd been better at route planning:

The men's winner, for the third year, was Belgian Kristof Allegaert who took just 8 days and 15 hours to reach the finish line. Over 200 competitors took part in the race, which started on 29th July, but many of those failed to complete this tough European challenge.

Emily Chappell hasn't been put off by her exhaustion following the race and plans several more endurance events this autumn, starting with the North Coast 500, and the Ride Across Britain -Land's End to John O'Groats. Chapeau Emily!