Trackstalkpacking

 Nicholas Carman1 4304

Don’t forget to follow Lael and the HLC on Trackleaders.com.  She’s carrying a small transmitter called a SPOT which sends a signal to the moon every ten minutes or so.

And you thought following colored dots on the internet was fun.  At the crossroads of tracking riders online, stalking riders in real life, and bikepacking.  It’s trackstalkpacking!

I spent the first day of the HLC chasing riders, but I wasn’t racing.  I rode sections of the HLC track to meet riders at critical moments, or at scenic vistas to capture a few photographs live from the race.  I’d ride to the nearest town and scan for free wifi with my MacBook Air, to check the progress of each group on Trackleaders.com.  Then, I’d extrapolate their trajectory to try to intercept them on the trail.  I pedaled with German rider Klaus Thiel for a bit, and saw Omri and Niv about seven times during the day.  A smartphone with cell coverage would simplify things greatly, but I still had tons of fun.  After nearly 100 miles of riding on my first day, ending at Ein Nun, I can say that trackstalkpacking isn’t for everyone.  It is a curious hobby requiring quick judgement, a general interest in watching other people race, some fitness, a bike, and basic computing or smartphoning skills.  Next time there’s a multi-day race in you neck of the woods, get started with an S24TSP and be back to work in the morning (this is a variant of the wildly popular S24O).  Don’t have three weeks to burn on the Tour Divide this summer?  Go trackstalkpacking for a week in Colorado.  Live near Tel Aviv and want to test our your new Revelate seatpack?  Go for it!  Just don’t harass the riders.  Positive vibes only.  That’s a rule.

Lael reported than a man came around last night just past dark offering her spaghetti and water.  She declined, until he informed her that he was doing this for all the riders.  She took a to-go cup of hot noodles.  That is some extraordinarily generous trackstalking.  Thanks to the spaghetti man!

For a report from Day 1 of the HLC, including photos, read my article entitled Live from the Holyland Bikepacking Challenge in Israel at Bikepacker’s Magazine, your online resource for bikepacking news, reviews and features.

Screen Shot 2015 04 10 at 7 30 13 PM 

And if you haven’t been following the race, Lael is out front and headed for Mt. Carmel, the Mediterranean Coast, and Tel Aviv.  A bank of wet weather is quickly approaching, teasing a few rain showers during the day today.

Thanks to everyone who shared supportive words for Lael.  I read them to her the morning of the race, and at intervals since the start.  Lael runs on sunshine, sandwiches, and the good spirit of others. 

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13 thoughts on “Trackstalkpacking

  1. I have been folllowing/tracking the race constantly. Well….nearly so. I text reports to Erin who has less time to stalk. I am so impressed! I’m sending positive energy Lael’s way. She is amazing!

  2. This is a beautiful thing to watch. Keep it up, Lael. You’re a hero. And also an inspiration to countless women cyclists I’m sure – my wife is involved as a womens cycling ambassador and she is sharing this far and wide.

  3. Looks like something happened earlier today, as everyone went off course for a while. The pack is back on track now and Lael just blazed past 2 riders OB and IS putting her back into 2nd place. She’s just turned left off of Highway 224 onto the back roads and is now only a KM or so behind the current leader YR! She’s unstoppable! Go Lael!

    • Lots of details to catch up with. The race was paused to restart in Arad, considered the northern edge of the desert and likely to be dry for the next week. The north was unrideable and would be for days. There is talk of a handicap system to account for the past effort of the riders, and Lael’s lead. However, it looks like she might take round 2 in a KO as well. Leaving Arad the route followed a series of paved detours on the first day to avoid unridable clay in some fo the wadis near the Dead Sea. Even on the paved roads down there, some light flooding left a coat of white clay on all the riders as they passed last night. The weather is coo and dry, even ca little cold at night. The riders are fighting strong winds from the S and W, which has been their direction of travel thus far. Once reaching Mizpe Ramon Lael will be back on the nice IBT trail and will enjoy some tailwinds and descent down to Zofar/Tsukim in the Aravah Valley. She loves this southern portion of the route, most of which follows the new IBT. Yam Raz (YR) is from Zofar, and also knows there trails well. I am not sure where Niv AMos is (NA) at the moment, but he passed me first last night where I camped. He is a very strong rider whose SPOT has track irregularly.

      • Thanks for the status update, Nick! I was left waiting in suspense! What an ordeal! I am pleased to hear that that can at least reset the race and so impressed by all those who had the tenacity to continue!

  4. So cool, thanks!

    Your blog is really amazing and inspiring. *love*

    And if your girlfriend had a twin, I would marry hear on the spot to start such travels!
    *smile*
    Yes, she can take it as a compliment 😉

    In the meanwhile I’ll continue to cycle my solo rides…

    Cheers, have fun and good luck!
    Georges

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