UPDATE: We reached out to one of the organizers for a recap on the event, here is what Berten De Canne had to say…
“Saturday, August 19th 2017, 22 riders (20 male and 2 female riders) from 7 different nations gathered in a former locomotive repair hangar for a briefing and a group dinner. About two thirds of the riders also slept in the venue. The next morning at 8.00, the start for the first edition of ACT5 was given. A group ride till the outskirts of Antwerp, and then the riders were on their own. The first 150 kms are pretty flat and then it starts going up gradually. We knew we had built a challenging trail with lots of off-road and climbing.
The first heavy stretch was at km415 Bouillon – St Cécile. Five riders had already scratched before even reaching Bouillon, due to mechanical problems, physical problems or not enough training. The part in France was a bit easier before hitting Belgium again. The riders ware aware that the heaviest part of ACT5 would be Luxemburg (start at km 580), with some hike ‘n bike. But even the part before Luxemburg proved to be hard, because 6 more riders scratched even before the border with Luxemburg. Once through Luxemburg, we were convinced that all those riders would make it to the finish. However, 2 more scratched here. After Luxemburg, it’s back into Belgium again and then towards Germany and the Netherlands and Belgium. Nine riders were left and they all made it to Zandvliet and all within the preset time of 6,5 days. Lieven Schroyen, a local rider from Zandvliet, made it first in 4 days, 6 hours and 23 minutes. About 10 hours later, Gert-Jan Staelens (Belgium) finished, followed by the Picard Brothers (Carl Carini and Stéphane David) (France). Johanna Josten (the Netherlands) came in fourth and was the first female rider to finish. Alan Goldsmith (UK), Bart Zeeuw van der Laan (the Netherlands), Florian Thiessen (Germany) and Tom Sap (Belgium) all made it in time.
So was it a success? For us, definitely. Nobody got hurt and everybody made it safe back home. On top of that, if someone like Alan Goldsmith calls it “epic” and “I’m gonna tell all my friends they have to ride this,” then you know as organizers you did a good job. Will there be a second edition in 2018? For sure! Mark your calendar: Sunday 19th August 2018 @8.00 start at Zandvliet. Will it be the same track?Most of it will be. We’re changing the start location (start & finish at the same location now), we’re adding a little bit more kilometers and we’re taking out the bits of tarmac still left.
Hope to see you next year and… be prepared !
Berten De Canne”
A-Cross the 5 is an unsupported bikepacking adventure through 5 countries. Participants start and complete the ride near Antwerp, Belgium over a maximum period of 7 days. There isn’t much information available to date regarding route specifics, but the race will surely provide a great opportunity to learn a little bit about the 5 countries in one great ride.
Race tracking is provided by Legends Tracking, follow the event here.