On 6 August 2015 Paola Gianotti and Paolo Aste outdid themselves yet again by completing the Red Bull Trans- Siberian Extreme, the world’s longest and toughest bicycle stage race according to many of the competitors. The Italian pair, who finished third in the general classification, and who raced with outfits made for Bicycle Line (with Effepi fabrics and Elastic Interface pad), gave us an account of their experience in the following interview.

      Third place on Trans-siberian Red Bul for Paola and Paolo

- Is it truly the world’s most extreme race?

PAOLA: It’s definitely a very extreme race. 7 climate and 9 time zones, 60,000 metres altitude difference, 9,200km to cycle in little more than 286 hours. The physical and mental stress in this competition is very high.

PAOLO: This was undoubtedly one of the most challenging races that I have done. The length of the stages and the intensity of the race pace really tested us.

- 23 days and 9,195 kilometres, what pictures spring to mind after all these months?

PAOLA and PAOLO: The immensity of Lake Baikal - the world’s largest and deepest lake, the gaze of the few people we met along the road who were selling fruit and vegetables in the middle of nowhere, meeting a 74-year-old lady who was touring Russia alone on her mountain bike, the colours of the sunsets close to the border with Mongolia and the few chaotic cities which disrupted the majesty of nature.

       Trans-siberian Red Bul 2005: Paola Gianotti and Paolo Aste

- How did you manage or tackle or experience the race from both a physical and mental point of view?

PAOLA: There was a lot of physical stress because the race pace was so high and this also led to a very high mental stress. As the only woman taking part some of the other competitors were not always exactly happy to have me with them in the group, just because I am a woman, and psychologically this made everything heavy going.  I managed to control the stress by trying to remain concentrated on the objective and also thanks to the excellent management by both our teams, who helped me a lot.  

PAOLO: Racing as a duo we took it in turns to cycle. One at a time we were therefore able to rest and eat in the van and chat with the support team, which always helped mentally. We tried to eat and drink at regular intervals so as not to start drawing on "our reserves" of strength and recover quicker.

 - What was it like racing as a duo team?

PAOLO: It was our first experience of a duo race. There were obviously highs and lows due to certain strategic decisions that had to be taken according to our different physical and mental characteristics. All things considered it was, however, an extremely positive experience. We actually achieved more than we set out to.

PAOLA: It was without doubt different and fun. Racing as a duo we were able to manage the mental and physical stress better. It was a close-knit team with every member playing a part in achieving the goal: in other words of arriving at the end of such an extreme race. A fantastic experience.

     Trans-siberian Red Bul 2005: Paola Gianotti and Paolo Aste

 - In your opinion how was the organisation of this race with such a long route?

PAOLO: The organisation was impeccable. We were very impressed with the support given to us throughout the race in terms of logistic organisation, support vans and drivers, the food and the lodgings provided at the end of every stage.

PAOLA: The organisation was really very good considering the length of the route and the difficulty of being in a country that has no experience of such a race. All the organisation team were extremely kind and helpful. Being the first ever Trans-Siberian race there were some hitches, especially with regard to rules, but I suspect it’s not easy to sit down at a table and draw up the rules for such an extreme and new race.

 - How did you feel in the outfits made by Bicycle Line (Effepi fabrics and Elastic Interface pad)?

PAOLA: Fine. Going through different climate zones and cycling both day and night, changes of clothing were frequent. I found the outfits perfect both from a technical point of view, with excellent material and impeccable pad, as well as in terms of fit and looking good. The different types of fabric used were excellent for the different temperatures. No irritation, no rubbing, no problems despite the very long hours spent in the saddle. The breathable, stretch fabric clung to my body perfectly. I felt fine.

PAOLO: We were really comfortable. We had no problems of any kind and the pads gave us great performance. The clothing was suitable for all the climatic conditions we encountered, from -1 up to 40 degrees.

     Trans-siberian Red Bul 2005: Paola Gianotti and Paolo Aste