Trans Am Bike Race leaders will descend out of the mountains today, headed for the flatlands of eastern Colorado and Kansas. Steffen, Evan, Lael, and Sarah make up the top group, while Steffen clings to a 90 mile lead. All images by Nathan Jones and the Trans Am Bike Race blog.
Lael called yesterday just after I posted an update from our conversation the night before in Lander, WY. I don’t remember where she was at the time, the wind was overwhelming the microphone on her flip phone. She sounded great, fully energy, her voice was healthy. I asked how she liked riding with Evan, since she’s never much liked riding with anyone. She said it helped that the two of them were riding a similar pace, and when riding within range of each other they are loosely racing each other, more like a constant reminder to keep the pace moving. It reminds me of the tactics employed by riders in the professional peloton to chase down the leaders, except this race is over 4200 miles on one stage.
Steffen is riding very strong out front, getting plenty of rest and pushing a fast pace during the day.
Sarah made a very short day yesterday, riding less than a hundred miles from Saratoga, WY to Walden, CO. She stopped in Walden around 2:30PM for about 12 hours, and seems to have spent much of that time at a local motel. Lael rode from Jeffrey City, WY and arrived in Walden, CO in the evening just after dark and stopped for a nearly six hour rest, so both female riders should be well rested. However, it seems likely that Sarah may have slowed during the day and stopped early for more than just a few extra hours of sleep. During such extreme endurance challenges, many strange ailments may arise to challenge a rider. At the time of writing, I do not have any clear information about her condition, although she is riding strong this morning, which is a good sign. I hope she is able to continue the race in her own style. I know how hard it was for Lael to race the Tour Divide last summer while suffocating through Canada and Montana.
Lael, Evan, and Sarah all left Walden, CO within five minutes of each other, and they continue to ride within 5 miles of each other this morning. Steffen is about 90 miles ahead of the newly formed chase pack. His lead over Lael and Evan has diminished slightly since yesterday, although they still must climb to the highest point on the route today, over 11,542 ft Hoosier Pass. Thereafter, the route dives eastward out of the Rocky Mountains and onto the plains of Kansas and into the Ozark Mountains of Missouri.
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