At the start line of the 7,080 kilometre Tans Am Bike Race course in America there were nine women in a field of 66 intrepid hopeful riders.
Today, the first rider crossed the line – and it was Lael Wilcox. She rolled her way to the Yorktown Victory Monument having ridden 4,270 miles in just over 18 days ahead of her closest rival (male) Steffen Streich who finished two hours later.
In a hilarious post race video on the Trans Am Facebook page, we hear Lael describes the moment where she and Steffan met on the course – they rode against each other for some time, then when she took a wrong turn he briefly waited for her, then asked to talk. She recounts: “He said: ‘We’ve been battling this for two weeks, lets finish this together’. And I said ‘no it’s a race’! But [he said] ‘you’re losing’, and I just said ‘no!’, then I just took off!’” She then adds: “And then my Di2 battery died..” – she still won, though.
The self supported race sees riders travel across wide open, exposed terrain from Astoria, Oregon to Yorktown, Virginia , with every item required for their journey on their bike. You can follow Lael’s ride retrospectively by seeing her checkpoints here, and you can see how all the other riders in the race are doing here.
Bike packing is something Wilcox is renowned for. In 2015 she rode the ‘Tour Divide’ off-road race from Canada to the Mexican border – winning the women’s race, setting a new record, and beating many of the men.
She keeps an extensive website here where you can see reports of her travels over the last decade. In her own words, Lael describes her interests thus: “I think about things when I’m moving. I run, I ride bikes, and I do yoga.”
We hope to have more information soon, but for now, we’re just so excited for Lael, and would like to extend our huge congratulations from TWC!