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.
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.