Trans Am Bike Race 2016 Update: Kentucky

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I’m excited to be reunited with Lael.  Speaking with her this morning, she is now racing to meet me at the finish. Photo courtesy Przemek Duszynski in Poland.

The Trans Am Bike Race continues with three riders gunning for the finish.  Steffen Stretch, who has held the lead since the Rockies, holds onto a 75-80 margin.  Early in the race, he rode at breakneck speeds and slept long nights, at much as 7 hours.  His pace has diminished, now matched by chase riders Lael Wilcox and Evan Deutsch, and he is taking shorter and shorter nights of sleep.  Last night, for the first time, he recorded several one hour breaks— most likely roadside cat naps— yet no prolonged period of rest.  For now, the plan is working, but it signals that he is digging deep.

I spoke with Lael this morning form Kentucky.  She was exuberant.  She has been healthy for the entire race (for the first time ever in an ultra-distance cycling event), she has been sleeping a lot, and she claims to be riding well and crushing the hills.  I don’t know what her plan is, and I don’t think she really has a plan, but at some point in the next two nights she needs to dig deep if she wants to be the first rider to Yorktown.  With under 800 miles to the ocean, there may not be a third night for the top three riders.  

The remaining route includes continuing punchy climbs in eastern Kentucky, and a few longer ascents up and over the Appalachian Mountains to the rolling coastal plain of eastern Virginia.  

I told Lael that both of the riders who reached out to us to prepare for the Tour Divide had dropped from the race, Adam Martinez of Anchorage, AK and Jan Bennett of Houston, Texas.  Josh Kato and Seb Dunne also dropped from the Tour Divide.  Juliana Buhring dropped from the RAAM.  I gave her updates about Mike Hall’s progress on the Tour Divide and she was stoked.  Lael said, “I gotta do this”.  Only 730 miles left to do it.

I fly from Anchorage, AK to Newport News, VA this evening to meet Lael and other racers when they arrive.  We plan to rest for a few days and and begin pedaling to Northern NY to see my family.  I hope to include a segment of the C&O Canal Trail along the way.

I will be at The Bicycle Shop on Northern Lights Blvd in Anchorage today if anyone wants to stop by.  I leave for the airport at 4PM.

Follow the Trans Am Bike Race 2016 at

19 thoughts on “Trans Am Bike Race 2016 Update: Kentucky

  1. This ending is getting so exciting. I will def have to take my phone out on the lab bench with me the next two days. I think she can take overtake him, but not if it means getting hurt or making a wrong turn because she is exhausted…I know she will try. She will own the Apps! If I was in NC visiting family I would def bike to Damascus to see her fly by. It should be an awesome reunion for you two. Take pics and give us a full report on your new adventure northeast. Where was the pic taken on the trail that you posted? Jo

  2. Have a good flight and reunion. No matter the outcome, tell Lael that she gave us a good show, and thank you also for the daily updates from the racer. I wish that I could be there for the finish. I hope that it isn’t so lonely as Antelope Wells was. Can’t wait to keep on reading the blog and future races.

    Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE smartphone

  3. After completing a bike race across length of America, most individuals might opt for an internal combustion alternative as means of transportation to pending family obligations. I hope you guys can, at least, enjoy a few days at the beach before proceeding Northward on 2 wheels.

  4. Thanks once again for sharing. It makes the race so much more interesting for those of us following online.

  5. Hi-
    We have a friend (Joe Allen) riding the Trans Am, and consequently I found yours and Lael’s adventures. My mom lives out on Pillar Point in Dexter NY, and I love the idea of riding up there from our house in NC- we are 30 miles north of Charlotte. If you don’t mind, what route you guys plan to take on your way up there in the next week or two? Cheering for Lael!!- Hannah

    • No route plans yet, I’ll load some basemaps onto the Garmin and pick up some AAA maps and we’ll piece something together. It will be mostly paved, as Lael is riding a road bike, but I’d like to connect segment of the C&O Canal Trail from Washington D.C. up toward Cumberland, MD. We’ll continue though central PA and NY up to the St. Lawrence River.

      • Ah ok. I was curious about how you choose your roads/trails…. divided state hwy, etc. The St. Lawrence/ Lake Ontario area is a great place to be this time of year- we’re looking forward to being there for a few weeks ourselves. Thanks for the reply- have a safe trip north!

        • Ah, I grew up in Cortland, NY but my folks moved north to Watertown after I left. They’ve since moved to Wellesley Island and work in Watertown. We’ll be there for a bit in early July and again later in the month.

          • Nice. My parents are originally from Potsdam, retired career military and divorced, but my mom lives there year round. Same plans here.

  6. Thanks for all the updates. Really fun getting the progress. I’m curious what routes you’ll be taking from Va to New York. I tried looking one time for routes out here in the East and I was not very successful. I’m also no where near as experienced or competent as you and Lael. Thanks for any more news. Safe travels.

  7. Take that back, it’s Evan that is closing in…so used to seeing their dots together. I hope she will gain more on him tomorrow. I won’t be up late watching tonight. Have agood flight…

  8. My family has a vacation home on the Rapppahannock River near Dunnsville,VA about 55 miles from Yorktown, north on route 17. We would be happy to host you to rest for a day or several as you travel north. The view of the river are beautiful and the pace is barely detectable.
    Contact me if this would work into your plans; you would be very welcome.

  9. Go, Lael, Go!

    If you guys find yourselves traveling through central PA near Huntingdon/State College, I’d be happy to offer you a place to stay. We live along Rt. 26 and have plenty of space, both indoor and outdoor. I would be super stoked to meet both of you!

    • If we ride D.C. to Cumberland, MD to Cortland, NY (where I grew up, so a required point of interest) via Pine Creek Gorge, I’d say there is a very good chance we will be back through State College. See you there, unless our plans change.

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