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Olympic medallist and multi-discipline World Champion, Emma Pooley, has surprised some (but not those in the know) by winning Further – an adventure race in the wilds of the Pyrenees that lived up to its name by traversing roads, tracks, old smuggling routes and cross-border hikes between France, Andorra and Spain.


After a winning ride time of three days and seven hours - almost three hours ahead of the next rider home - Pooley said “That was simply the most fun I’ve ever had on a bike. Thank you @furtherjournal for planning an incredible race. Expect a stream of gravel-bike-adventure posts... But right now, I’m sore and sleep-deprived and very happy to have a rest and amazing coffee at the oasis of @zeroneuf_escapes


For an endurance adventure race the 529km parcours might have seemed relatively short but many of the twelve obligatory sectors (which race organisers ensured were completed using GPS tracking) evolved from surfaced roads, to double-track gravel and finally into rough hike-a-bike sheep tracks, reaching heights of up to 2,540m.

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The initial selection of leaders was made by the hike to meet race founder and director, Camille McMillan, at the only checkpoint of the race on the dramatic summit of Mont Fourcat which offers 360 degree views of the Pyreness from its 2,001m summit. Such was the extremity of the parcours, the first two riders to reach the checkpoint simultaneously from different sides – Lissen Hockings and Tim O’Rourke - were three hours behind the expected arrival time.


Pooley made the checkpoint in third place and continued to ride into the night to move into second place behind Mason Cycles rider, Angus Young. She finally bedded down for a few hours of sleep in her bivvy bag at 2am in the morning.

Further is a good name for this event... I’ve been riding / hiking carrying my bike since 10:30am yesterday. It’s dark. Since sunset I’ve been chased by dogs, blocked by cows, and nearly rode into 2 wild boar. My legs are trashed, my backside will never forgive me, and I’ve been perhaps the most dehydrated ever. Now I’m bivi-ing behind a car in the mountains, still in stinky kit. Is this madness? But the stars are amazing and I’m happy. Not sure I can carry on tomorrow but it’s worth a try! *oops apparently it’s a race".

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Day 2 saw riders tackle the Port du Rat, a gravel road leading to a rocky hiking path over the 2,540m-high ridge-line into Andorra – this race went where motorized vehicles couldn’t. During the climb in the valley Pooley made up a gap of 10km to catch and pass Angus Young. The two traversed Andorra and hopped over the old smuggling route back into Spain. They arrived at the bottom of the wall of mountain that lead up to beautiful Port d’Aula at 10.30pm on Saturday night. Strategy came into play as it was almost a vertical kilometer of hike-a-bike to the top and across the border back into France. Young passed Pooley and struggled through the night up 80% of the climb, stopping at 1am, whilst Pooley refreshed on some sleep before starting again at 3am. She summited the ridge before a tough gravel decent back towards some sort of civilization, finally passing an exhausted Young in Aulus-les-Bains.


From there three sectors remained, but Pooley didn’t look back, finally arriving at the finish line at 6.30pm.


Of the 27 starters only 8 finished, with one former TransContinental Racer stating that it’s one of the hardest races he’s ever participated in. However the community that gathered at the race headquarters, Zero Neuf Escapes, to ‘dot watch’ on the interactive map agreed that going Further had been a good thing for everyone involved.

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Further is proudly supported by Café du Cycliste, Mason Cycles and Hunt Bike Wheels.

Photography by Further. High resolution versions of the images above are available for download and usage with appropriate credits in the associated Media Kit.

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