This isn’t just any race though, it’s a self-supported ultra distance event that takes each rider right across America, through ten states covering over 4,300 miles. Each year only a handful of women register, but that doesn’t mean to say they don’t fair well. In 2016, Lael Wilcox beat everyone in the Trans Am Bike Race and made a two-hour lead on Steffen Streich who came in second.
Another woman to not shy away from racking up some epic miles is Emily Chappell of the Adventure Syndicate who famously smashed everyone in the Transcontinental Bike Race also back in 2016.
Following in their tyre tracks is Alaina who started commuting by bicycle back in 2015. Soon after, her daily commute became a hobby as she became more involved with cycling challenges, the first of which was cycling LEJOG in 14 days back in 2016. It was this journey that would ignite her passion for endurance cycling.
“Upon returning [from LEJOG], I just had to plan something else, but bigger. Seven months later I found myself in Nordkapp in the Norwegian Arctic (the most northern point of Europe), with a plan to ride 100 miles per day until I hit the Croatian coast. I did this self-supported and solo, camping along the way. 5,137 miles later my trip was complete, and I managed to raise over £5,500 for a Syrian aid charity.”
With both LEJOG and her European adventure safely tucked under her belt, Alaina turned her focus on the next challenge as she says; “My crazy best friend actually suggested that I enter the Trans Am Bike Race, and after initially dismissing it, I realised it would be the next natural step up.”
“Long distance riding has taught me, and hopefully shown others that our predefined limits are nonsense: it is amazing what our bodies and minds can achieve, if we just believe it, and give it a go!”
Now, it’s not just the race aspect or the distance aspect that makes the Trans Am Bike Race so daunting, it’s the long and lonesome hours spent pedalling whilst knowing there’s no service or support vehicles to act as a safety net. So how’s Alaina preparing mentally for that? – “Fortunately, I think my mental resilience is my strongest attribute, and so for me, the key in this will be training my body to physically match up to what my mind expects of it.”