Q & A with Phil after racing TransConti16 - Kinesis Bikes
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Q & A with Phil after racing TransConti16

We took time to catch up with a less weary but still mean and lean Philipp Swedthelm fresh on his return from the. Transcontinental race

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So Phil, recovered now

Phil: I actually feel quite good, I expected it to be worse. I am always hungry and tired but I still don’t sleep very well. In the first night I woke up and didn’t know where I was and wanted to get back on my bike. It will take a while to recover from a race like that completely, both mentally and physically.

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I bet it must seem weird adjusting to the real world and going back to the 9 to 5. What was the best bit you can look back on from the race?

Phil: For 12 days I didn’t do anything else other than ride my bike, eat and sleep therefore it was weird to come back to London, but now it’s time to get back to work and real life.

I really enjoyed the Alps. There were some parts of the Alps I hadn’t been before and the terrain just suits me. The best part of the race was CP4 in Montenegro. After crossing the border from Bosnia to Montenegro via a gravel road the parcours to CP4 went through Durmitor, a national park with incredible landscapes and stunning views. Riding there while the sun rose was just amazing.

I received a lot of support via social media. I didn’t read all the comments but knowing that so many people followed helped enormously to keep going.

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Dare we ask about the worst bits? We hear that people called you the smiling man cause of some of the coverage of you, but I guess it wasn’t all smiles?

Phil: There were several hard moments I had to overcome. On the 3rd day it was pretty hot in France and it was flat most of the time. It felt like I wasn’t moving.
On my way to CP3 I had problems with my neck. I was not able to lift my head and was mainly looking at my stem. I was concerned I might have Shermer’s neck, a typical problem of long distance riding. I had to stop regularly to stretch my neck and shoulders. On this day I had to stop after 205km already. Far away from my daily target. In the end the longer break helped me to recover from the first days and It was the reason I could increase the speed in the last days.

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After 3800km pretty much nonstop, how is the bike looking?

Phil: The bike is very dirty and probably needs a full service. We had several days with rain and in the Balcan region the route included many kilometres on gravel roads. In Greece and Turkey we had temperatures up to 40 degrees and it was dusty. I didn’t really clean the chain properly- every day you just put additional lube on the chain. So I think the chain will have to be replaced. Despite gravel roads and poor surfaces I had no mechanicals or punctures at all.

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After all that I guess you are pretty sure of your kit choices, any idea what you’d take or not take next time?

Phil: I couldn’t imagine riding all the time in one outfit, so I took two shorts and two jerseys. After a few days you don’t really care about clean shorts anymore. Next time I would probably try it with just one outfit. I slept a few nights outside and slept very well but I didn’t recover properly so I will try a bivvy bag in future. If it’s too cold for the bivvy bag I will sleep in a hotel. I had a really small and light sleeping bag and mat already (approx. 700g) but that would save some weight.

Philipp Assos (193 of 217)

How comfortable are you after all of this? Any aches and pains ? I’d guess that’s pretty natural for this type of thing.

Phil: Despite all the training on the bike I did core training regularly. This paid off, during the race I had only problems with my neck. I think I didn’t use the aero bars during the preparation often enough. After adjusting my handlebars slightly, it was much better. During the race I didn’t have any problems with my knees or feet but afterwards my feet were swollen for a few days. I was pretty lucky; I saw other riders who had problems holding a fork.

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What’s the plan now for the rest of the year and into the future?

Phil: I am already back on the bike and will commute to work regularly but I haven’t planned any long rides for the next weeks. I am very happy finishing in the top 20 and you start thinking what might be possible with this years’ experience but it’s too early to think about future events and whether or not I will take part at the Transcontinental Race or similar events next year.

All the best from all of us hear at Kinesis UK, a Top 20 was a superb effort for your first time. Bravo, no doubt we will be hearing more from Phil in the near future!

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