Lael left Anchorage on May 1 with a lightweight touring load including a pair of running shoes, a jump rope, and all 12 maps for the Trans America Trail which she studied on the ferry down from Haines. I will meet Lael at the finish line tomorrow with her seatpack, jumprope, sleeping bag and pad, and a fresh pair of clothes. We’ll take a few days to rest before riding to northern NY. Here, Lael calls from western VA while riding past a Dollar General, the “rural Wal-Mart” as I like to call it. Check out more photos from Nathan Jones and Anthony Dreyer on the Trans Am Bike Race Blog.
“Did you see me riding good? I just drank a Mountain Dew! It’s everywhere around here, and in Kentucky. Mountain Dew is everywhere there, and there are lots of those above ground swimming pools and broken cars. Kentucky is pretty ghetto but I like it.”
Lael called this morning while working hard up the hills of western Virginia. Her proximity to the end of the race lifted her spirits, and the Mountain Dew sent her through the roof. She was whooping and hollering on the phone. Notice how many photos Nathan and Anthony have posted of Lael on the Trans Am Bike Race Blog where she is pumping her fist, usually at road signs? She does that a lot in real life too. Usually, when we’re trying to get some miles done, she pretends to be wielding a six-shooter and fires off a few rounds at signs indicating places and distances, once these micro-goals have been achieved. 320 miles to Yorktown? Bang, bang!
Lael seems to have settled down for a 3.5 hour rest last night, preparing for the 400+ mile push to the finish line. If she can stay on the bike tonight, she is likely to arrive in Yorktown before noon on Wednesday.
Steffen holds strong to his lead out front, currently fifty miles ahead of Lael with 265 miles to the finish. This distance will be hard for any rider to challenge unless Steffen is forced to stop. Steffen appears to have slept for as little as 45 minutes last night, although he did sleep about 6 hours in Hazard, KY the night before. In the nights before Hazard he also dabbled in short cat naps as Evan and Lael pressed from behind. All of this is contrary to the regular long periods of sleep he took through much of the race. However, he did ride through the first night of the race, only to stop before the end of the second day for a nine hour rest. If he can keep his eyes open tonight he will be the first rider to Yorktown.
Evan Deutsch stopped for only 2.5 hours last night in Wytheville, gaining an hour on Lael in the process. He is also coming off a 7 hour rest the night before in Hazard. It will be interesting to see if all three riders will be able to continue through this final night.
I received a message from Gerry this morning, a TABR fan who was on the route in the mountains of western VA. He writes, “I just met Lael in Catawba at about 8:00 am. She was smiling, looked strong, and was pleased to have a tailwind. She said that she was trying hard to do well. She blasted off, missed her turn, and then got back on course. She is moving!”
As of 10:44 AM EST, Steffen is 260mi to the finish, Lael is 310mi, and Evan is 344mi. We can expect the first rider to arrive around sunrise on Wednesday. Showdown at the corner of Bacon and Main Street in Yorktown, VA.
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