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D33 – Kilian & Jonas 3rd in Sun Trip 2024!

15.05.2024 - The Sun Trip
The Sun Trip The Sun Trip

DAY 34 <-> DAY 32

Imagine yourself the year you turn 19. Imagine explaining to your parents that you’re going to set off for the Moroccan Sahara desert on a solar-powered bike, and that there will be 17 other teams, all older than you, that you’ll never meet. Imagine camping out every night, cycling 235 km a day and finishing on the podium of this strange race. That’s what happened to two friends, Kilian Weigand and Jonas Becker: an extraordinary adventure for their young age, an epic that will remain engraved in their heads (and those of their loved ones!) for a long time to come.

On the morning of the 33rd day of their adventure, they were still a long way from the finish. They folded their tents south of Avignon, 300 km short of Chambéry. The southerly wind would carry them as far as Valence, but then it would rain all the way to Savoie.

At the end of one of their craziest days, they arrived at 20:15, in 33 days and 8 hours. They are now on the Sun Trip 2024 podium, after almost giving up on more than one occasion and having to resist the pressure of the valiant Belgians Géry & Baudouin right up to the end of the Spanish route.

On their odometer, there are several figures to take note of: 7508 km in total (i.e. roughly the same route as Jean-Marc Dubouloz), a daily average of 235 km, 50420 metres of positive altitude difference, and a daily distance record of 319 km!

Over a nice German beer, it was time to take stock, and there was much to be satisfied about, but also a few misunderstandings and regrets.

We had high ambitions at the start, but unfortunately the weather in the Pyrenees condemned us from the outset. Then we drove really hard, certainly too hard because the machine started to get tired. As early as Portugal our rear rim cracked. We had to change wheels and we told ourselves that we had to ride a bit more gently“. Overall, their fabulous tandem worked well, but the weight of such a machine inevitably has an impact: “Above 6% gradient we were really in trouble, so we tried to avoid the mountains as much as possible. In the end, we don’t know if a tandem is really suitable for racing on a Sun Trip, but it was a crazy trip all the same – it’s our greatest experience of life!”

It’s worth pointing out that they were among those (there aren’t many) who camped every night of the adventure, “almost always in wild bivouacs, and a little in Moroccan campsites for safety. On the other hand, we had quite a few nights where we were a bit scared and sometimes only slept for 2 hours...”.”.

The Moroccan loop was a shock for them, it has to be said that it was their first experience of long-distance travel, their first encounter with the real world (by which we mean the world outside the European paradise).). “We were shocked from the first days on the road in Morocco, the Atlantic coast was not what we expected. There are a lot of people around, we were never really able to relax and we were often asked for money. We were also quite shocked when we crossed the area affected by the earthquake in September 2023. 50 km before, in Marrakech, it’s all about holidays and money, but over there it’s total desolation. It wasn’t easy to cross this zone as privileged travellers, and we didn’t want to seem like voyeurs either“. It’s a great testimonial, reminding us that a Sun Trip is above all a journey, an encounter with the world, for the best and also for the most difficult..

“We would also like to express two regrets. Firstly, we think that the start was a month too early. We were almost always cold during the nights or while driving. Maybe it’s because this spring is particularly cold, but in any case for a Sun Trip we don’t think it was very suitable, we’d have preferred it to be warmer. Finally, we were there to take part in the race, but we have to admit that it was a bit difficult not to see any of the other participants. We only saw Vivien for 10 minutes in Taroudant! We lacked the strength of a group as was the case on the Sun Trip Alps projects, for example, but here we were registered on a big Sun Trip and that’s the rule, just a shame there weren’t more people registered, we might have seen more people…”. 

Now it’s time to head back to Germany, although not by bike. Sunday is Kilian’s birthday. Kilian turns 20 on Sunday, and both of them have their whole lives ahead of them.

Race position on Day 33

  • 1er : Jack Butler, in 23 days and 2 hours
  • 2ème : Jean-Marc Dubouloz, in 23 days and 6 hours
  • 3rd : Kilian & Jonas, in 33 days and 8 hours
  • 4. Géry & Baudouin
  • 5. Vincent Gallego et Luciano Trumpler


Other pics of the day

DAY 34 <-> DAY 32

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