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Rapha Gone Racing Lael on the Tour Divide

This one from Rapha and Lael is not to be missed!

“Crisscrossing the Continental Divide for 2,450 miles between Banff in the Canadian Rockies and Antelope Wells on the Mexican border, the Great Divide is one the world’s most iconic long distance mountain biking routes. On this sky high trail, there’s no such thing as a regular ride. But even by ultra cycling standards, Lael Wilcox’s history on the route is a colourful one.

In 2015, Lael raced the Tour Divide – an event that follows the route – and set a new women’s course record despite having to ride herself to an emergency room en route to deal with a persistent breathing issue. But rather than celebrating her achievement, Lael set out to better it. Just two weeks later, she rode to the start from her home in Alaska, took on the trail for a second time and lowered her own record by another day and a half.

Today, the outright course record is held by the late long-distance legend Mike Hall, whose time of 13 days 22 hours and 51 minutes has stood since 2016. Inspired by Mike’s methodical approach to managing the mileage but convinced she can beat the record, Lael is returning to the Rockies with unfinished business. In the latest episode of Rapha Gone Racing, we document her latest record attempt and follow her as she runs into issues much bigger than any bike ride.”

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Rapha’s Documentary on Lael’s FKT in Alaska

Earlier this year, Lael departed on an FKT on the Alaska Pipeline route. Rapha was there, documenting her efforts:

“Four feet wide and carried five above the ground by a seemingly endless series of stanchions, the Alaska Pipeline is, for most of its 800-mile route, the only mark humanity has made on the pristine wilderness of this last frontier. The only mark, that is, except for the road that accompanies the pipeline on its long journey south from the Artic outpost of Prudhoe Bay to Valdez.

For born and bred Alaskan Lael Wilcox, this lonely road has always held a special interest. In fact, she’s ridden most of it before. But this time she’s back with a new challenge to set a Fastest Known Time, or FKT, for the route and bring a new source of energy to the road. By pushing herself, she hopes to encourage other riders, wherever they live and however long they’ve been riding, to do the same.

But this is a record attempt not a race, so Lael’s number one adjective is to have fun. All you have to do is show up with what you have, ride with all your heart and see how it goes. Oh, and you need to eat like it’s your job! Created by an all-female crew, tune into this latest episode of Rapha Gone Racing to find out how Lael got on in the Alaskan wilderness and whether the rumours that she is quicker than crude oil are actually true.”

Check out this wonderful documentary here and see Lael’s gear breakdown in our Related Archives below!

Komoot Women’s Torino Nice Rally: Lael and Rue’s Kit Breakdown

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Komoot Women’s Torino Nice Rally: Lael and Rue’s Kit Breakdown

With a group of fifty women, we’ll begin the Komoot Women’s Torino-Nice Rally at 8 am on September 24th. It’s not a race, but a challenge to finish the route in a week with a finishers’ party at the Service Course in Nice on October 1st. While the ride is self-supported, women are encouraged to ride together, help each other, share stories and positivity and build a rolling community. It’ll definitely be hard, but it’s meant to be fun. Adventure arrives when we push our limits into the unknown with the confidence to see how it’ll unfold. I’m deeply encouraged to see fifty women take on this ride, make it personal and do their best.

Designed by James Olsen, the Torino Nice Rally is a 700km mixed surface route traversing the Alps between Turin, Italy, and Nice, France. With ten significant mountain passes, it climbs famous cols and old gravel military roads, passing small towns and refuges along the way. The highest point is over 2,700 meters with 17,500 meters of climbing. James has been hosting an event on the route for years— it’s not a race, but a challenge to finish in a week. Riders begin together and leapfrog along the way, sharing kilometers and stories. At different junctions, there are options for routing— to take the smoother longer course or the rougher more direct track. There’s always a debate about equipment choice— whether to ride a gravel bike or a hardtail, both have their benefits. Camping and staying in shelters along the way are recommended.

The Westfjords Way: Bicycle Touring One of Iceland’s Most Remote Areas – Part 03

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The Westfjords Way: Bicycle Touring One of Iceland’s Most Remote Areas – Part 03

There’s a place to get soup at the halfway point. We’ll stop there. They might have some dried fish and rugbraud to pack for dinner– traditional Icelandic bread; dark, dense, and sweet. In the past, the locals dug holes and used the heat from geothermal water to bake the bread. We pack a sandwich to go, throw a leg over the top tube and let the wind carry us down the way. When the wind is your friend, there’s no feeling like it.

The Westfjords Way: Bicycle Touring One of Iceland’s Most Remote Areas – Part 02

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The Westfjords Way: Bicycle Touring One of Iceland’s Most Remote Areas – Part 02

The table has a basket of homemade hot rolls; some with dried fruit, some with seeds, all with a bit of salt. There are two loaves of hot fresh bread, wrapped in towels and a plate of cheese– local paprika and pepper sheep’s cheese, brie, gorgonzola, sliced Havarti with labels for different percentages of fat. There’s sliced ham and salami, hot scrambled eggs with herbs, bacon, and butter. There are sliced cucumbers and tomatoes, red bell pepper and pickled fish, a plate of fresh fruit– slices of melon, pineapple, grapes, apples, and oranges, all perfectly ripe. There’s thick Icelandic yogurt, a carafe of coffee, and containers of juice. There’s cereal and milk and homemade jam.

The Westfjords Way: Bicycle Touring One of Iceland’s Most Remote Areas – Part 01

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The Westfjords Way: Bicycle Touring One of Iceland’s Most Remote Areas – Part 01

Wind in your face, wind at your back, pockets of light, sideways rain, hot springs, wild blueberries, glaciers, Arctic fox, sheep laying on the thermally heated roads, waffles and whip cream– this is the Iceland I’ve seen from the bike and we’ve only been here for three days. I’ve heard about a volcano erupting in the past year, polar bears floating on ice from Greenland to the north coast of the Island in the past ten years and a pregnant cow that swam 2km across a fjord to escape the slaughterhouse. The substance of legends, these stories are actually true. This place is dynamic. Volcanoes and lava create new land. The wind and rain create new lakes. This place is constantly changing and you feel it while you ride through it.

358 Hard Miles: 26 Hours, 55 Minutes – Lael Wilcox at the 2021 Unbound XL

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358 Hard Miles: 26 Hours, 55 Minutes – Lael Wilcox at the 2021 Unbound XL

“You just dance up those climbs. It’s amazing to watch.”

“Thank you.”

These are some of the only words we’ve exchanged, despite riding together for the past ten hours. It’s a few more hours before I learn that his name is Dave. That’s ultra-endurance. Sometimes you talk and sometimes you don’t, but it’s still great to have company riding through the night. I later find out that Dave is in his 50s and from Wisconsin. He must outweigh me by a good 50-80lbs and most of it is muscle. He’s a powerhouse on the flats and I’m light up the climbs. He groans and says “shit” a lot, but when the lady at the gas station asks if we’re having fun, he says, “we’re having the time of our lives.” And we really are. It’s hot and humid and hard as hell, but there’s so much beauty out there. Beauty in the sunset and the sunrise and the warm night— the cows and the fields, the open expanses.

Lael Wilcox’s Trans Alaska Pipeline Time Trial Gear List and Introduction

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Lael Wilcox’s Trans Alaska Pipeline Time Trial Gear List and Introduction

I was born in Anchorage, Alaska, as was my mother. My grandfather was born in Fairbanks, Alaska, as was his father.

Alaska became a state in 1959. It’s a complicated and very beautiful place. It’s home.

In 2017, I rode all of the major roads in the state— about 4,500 miles, a mix of gravel and pavement. By land, Alaska is huge— twice the size of Texas. The road system is very limited, many places are isolated. I wanted to ride my bike to connect as much as I could. I set out in a series of trips— riding for a week or two at a time and hitching back to town to work at The Bicycle Shop to fund the next leg. For the most part, I rode alone. It was a lot of freedom and I had the time of my life.

Reflecting on my rides later, I wanted to go back to share my experience. Both with Rue, the love of my life, and with the public through photos and videos. This is something I have thought about since the fall of 2017.

Congrats to Lael Wilcox for Winning Unbound Gravel XL!

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Congrats to Lael Wilcox for Winning Unbound Gravel XL!

With gravel races attracting more and more professional cyclists from road racing, being able to hold onto consecutive wins is becoming more and more difficult. Not for Lael Wilcox, however, who took on the XL at this year’s Unbound Gravel. The XL traverses 358 miles (576km) of the Flint Hills out of Emporia, Kansas, all self-supported and just as hard as years prior.

We’d like to congratulate Lael, who finished in 26 hours, 55 minutes; the first woman and 10th overall. Check out her Instagram page for more wonderful moments captured by Rue!

Go, Lael! GO!

“Lael Rides Alaska” 2021 Femme-Trans-Women’s Scholarship Winners!

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“Lael Rides Alaska” 2021 Femme-Trans-Women’s Scholarship Winners!

Please see Part 01 here: Top 11 finalist for the 2021 “Lael Rides Alaska” Femme-Trans-Women’s Scholarship: Part 01
and Part 02 here: Top 11 finalist for the 2021 “Lael Rides Alaska” Femme-Trans-Women’s Scholarship: Part 02
and part 03 here: Top 11 finalist for the 2021 “Lael Rides Alaska” Femme-Trans-Women’s Scholarship: Part 03

Design a 1,000-mile route in Alaska, tell me your plan, about yourself and what you need to make it happen. We’ll supply the bike, gear and a travel stipend and then you get to go do it this summer.

I am blown away by the honesty and ambition of this year’s applicants. They told true, sometimes hard, stories and hopes for the future. This has been a difficult year for everyone and I am deeply inspired by all who applied and shared openly about their experiences and their drive for adventure and challenge.

With the help of Cari Carmean, Natsuko Hirose, Kailey Kornhauser and Abigale Wilson, we narrowed the 126 applicants down to 11 finalists. I am beyond excited to announce that Dorothy O’Donnell and Olivia Juarez are the two recipients of the 2021 “Lael Rides Alaska” Femme-Trans-Women’s Scholarship…

Top 11 finalist for the 2021 “Lael Rides Alaska” Femme-Trans-Women’s Scholarship: Part 01

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Top 11 finalist for the 2021 “Lael Rides Alaska” Femme-Trans-Women’s Scholarship: Part 01

Top 11 finalists for the “Lael Rides Alaska” 2021 Femme-Trans-Women’s Scholarship

Design a 1,000 mile Alaska bike adventure, tell me about your plan and yourself and how you’ll make it happen this summer.

With the help of Cari Carmean, Natsuko Hirose, Kailey Kornhauser, and Abigale Wilson, we’ve selected 11 finalists from the 126 applicants. It has been extremely encouraging to read about women from around the world that want to take on this challenge and have so many unique approaches. I am honored to share a few of their stories. This has been a hard year for everyone. While highlighting positivity, there’s always an undercurrent of endurance and reflection. These are bold stories of perseverance, of finding connection, learning about ourselves and what truly matters.

I’m thrilled to share that we have the capacity to give out two full scholarships this year to outfit two different adventures this summer. Thank you so much to our generous and thoughtful sponsors.

The winners will receive either a complete Specialized Diverge with Easton carbon wheels or an adventure bike built up by SRAM, Revelate Designs bikepacking bags, Big Agnes camping equipment, PEARL iZUMi apparel, a premium subscription to Komoot, a Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM GPS, a $300 gift card for Competitive Cyclist, Rene Herse tires, an Ergon saddle, a year subscription to Bicycle Quarterly, Trail Butter, Hydro Flask hydration, and a $1,500 travel stipend provided by Easton, and the Radavist will also kick in a $500 travel stipend for one of the finalists.

Now’s the really hard part– we have to choose two winners. Announcements to come later this week.

Read on below for the first of three posts showcasing the 11 finalists…

Rapha Sponsors Sarah Sturm and Lael Wilcox and Launches Women’s Instagram Channel

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Rapha Sponsors Sarah Sturm and Lael Wilcox and Launches Women’s Instagram Channel

Rapha is growing their support for women and not just professional cyclists. Today the brand announced its sponsorship of two charismatic personalities, Sarah Sturm and Lael Wilcox. Both of these women are great representatives of the gravel/adventure/touring market and we couldn’t be more stoked for them. Rapha also launched a women’s Instagram, so keep an eye on that for more updates as events warrant.

Lael Rides Alaska 2021 Femme-Trans-Women’s Scholarship

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Lael Rides Alaska 2021 Femme-Trans-Women’s Scholarship

In the summer of 2017, Lael Wilcox rode all of the major roads in Alaska, totaling 4,500 miles on mixed pavement and gravel. Lael is fourth-generation Alaskan. This is where she began endurance riding and her goal to get to know her home state.

In 2020, Lael went back to Alaska with her girlfriend Rue, a photojournalist, to ride together and document her project of riding all of the roads.

This scholarship is intended to enable another woman to design and ride her own 1,000 mile Alaskan adventure in the summer of 2021. This scholarship is open to a woman (including femme, trans and non-binary) of any age with any level of bicycle touring experience. We are looking for positive energy and a strong desire to experience the remote roads of Alaska and have some fun.

The recipient of the scholarship will receive a Specialized Diverge bicycle, Revelate Designs bikepacking bags, PEARL iZUMi apparel, a premium subscription to Komoot, Easton wheels, a Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM GPS, Big Agnes camping equipment, Rene Herse tires, a year subscription to Bicycle Quarterly, Trail Butter, and a $1,500 travel stipend provided by Easton.

Prepare a digital application based upon the questions on the following page and send to Lael Wilcox and the selection team at laelridesalaska@gmail.com no later than February 6, 2021. Provide your responses as the text of an email. The recipient of the scholarship will be announced April 5, 2021.

The scholarship selection team includes Lael Wilcox, previous scholarship recipients Kailey Kornhauser and Brooke Larsen, Abigale Wilson from PEARL iZUMi, Cari Carmean from The Radavist, and Natsuko Hirose from Bicycle Quarterly.

Head to LaelWilcox.com to apply for this scholarship!

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Lael Rides Alaska

After we featured various Lael Rides Alaska stories last year, PEARL iZUMi has sponsored this wonderful video project by Rue!

Lael Wilcox is a 4th generation Alaskan and an ultra-distance cyclist. In 2014, she began pushing her limits in her home state and dreamed that one day, she’d ride all of the major roads in Alaska– connecting the dots and traveling under her own steam to places she’d heard of but never seen. In 2017, after her first year running Anchorage GRIT, Lael spent the summer riding all of the roads, some 4,500 miles. She had the time of her life but rode mostly solo, and that experience was all her own. In reflection, she wanted to share more–to show people the beauty and truth of Alaska and inspire more people to ride there. The global pandemic of 2020 provided a unique opportunity to revisit this project–ride from home, spend time with her family, bring them along, and encourage others to pursue their own adventures.

Riding roads is feeling topography and weather, seeing history and reality, and experiencing everything along the way. If the finish line is home, how much farther can we go? If we bring along our loved ones, how much more will it mean?

This project is in support of the Anchorage GRIT project and the “Lael Ride Alaska Women’s Scholarship Program.”