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 Trackleaders.com.