The idea of the route and a race popped up in 2015. As many other bikepacking races it was inspired by Tour Divide. And you can obviously read the origin in the name of the race. And since we got no continental divide at our backyards we used "unite" as a token of union, that we're trying to form around our route and race.
Each year we developed a new segment of the route, scouted it, tested it. And then we organized grand depart on that newly developed segment to get riders feedback and make corrections to the route if needed. Slowly but steadily we build the whole route. And it was only possible with help of those people, who showed enthusiasm and love for ultradistance bikepacking in Russia, and who donated their time and energy in our project.
First 1000 km segment "Petrozavodsk — Konakovo" scouted and tested.
First grand depart in July on 1000 km "Petrozavodsk — Konakovo" segment. Six people showed up at start, but only three of them made it to the finish line.
Tour Unite 2017 grand depart riders
This year 17 people rode the segment, but only 9 of them finished.
In 2018 we added another segment to the route: 1300 km "Konakovo — Voronezh". Whole route was 2300 km.
This year total of 36 people rode Tour Unite, 11 of them rode "Petrozavodsk — Konakovo" segment and 25 rode "Konakovo — Voronezh" (16 people during GD and 9 while riding ITT).
Tour Unite 2018 grand depart riders
Only 10 of 11 riders finished "Petrozavodsk — Konakovo" and 10 of 25 riders finished "Konakovo — Voronezh" segment.
Vladimir Traburov finished whole 2300 km route this year during his ITT.
We added yet another segment: 1300 km "Voronezh — Rostov-on-Don". Grand depart on the segment was northbound, 7 riders participated.
Tour Unite 2019 grand depart riders
This year total of 10 people rode new segment, and only 3 of them finished.
Nikolai Gurov won GD and set the course record for the segment: 11d 16h 33m. He described his adventures in the interview here.
Yuri Krupenin finished GD with second place but didn't stop there, and moved forward on the second segment and also finished it, resulting 2600 km in one ride.
In 2019 total of 33 people rode Tour Unite, and only 19 of them finished (58%).
The loss of motivation was the most common case of rider scratching. New segment amplified this problem with thorns, sands and heat. The second common case of scratching was rear derailleur damage.
Wave of Tour Unite riders overcame our counting capabilities, so we're unable to provide statistics from now on. But it's more riders than previous year for sure. Also there are lots of unregistered riders who use Tour Unite track as baseline for their bike tour, with some variations and detours on the road.