#lael-wilcox

tag

Radavist x Komoot: The Women’s Montañas Vacías Bikepacking Challenge

Radar

Radavist x Komoot: The Women’s Montañas Vacías Bikepacking Challenge

“I think the big highlight for me was just the energy—the energy shared any time I passed someone, or they passed me—I’d stop and think I was alone, and all of a sudden, I’d turn a corner and see someone I knew. The energy we left echoed through those mountains.”

This past April, in the quiet Spanish town of Teruel, a few hours east of Madrid, 56 riders set out by bike to take on the Komoot Women’s Montañas Vacías Bikepacking Challenge, an eight-day exploration of one of the least-populated regions in Europe. The 57th rider, Josie Fouts, followed along in the media van and recaps the challenge below.

Note: This article is part of a sponsored partnership with Komoot. We’ll always disclose when content is sponsored to ensure our journalistic integrity.

Do It Because You Want To: The Arna Westfjords Way Challenge

Reportage

Do It Because You Want To: The Arna Westfjords Way Challenge

The route is just under 1,000km tracing the Westfjords of Iceland, the most remote area of a sparsely inhabited country in the Arctic. The challenge is to finish the mixed gravel and pavement route in 4 stages. The weather can be harsh. The wind can be fierce. But that’s what makes this place. It’s stunning and it’s brutal. Treeless mountains rise out of the sea. There’s very little development. Beyond a flawless road system, humans have left little impression. It’s a wild place and we get to ride our bikes through it.

Radar

Sink Into The Earth Video

Coinciding with our Reportage today, here’s our standalone video showcasing Lael‘s time on the AZT.

On April 12, 2022, Lael Wilcox set out to ride the 827-mile Arizona Trail faster than anyone had before. She completed her ride 9 days, 8 hours, and 23 minutes later on April 21. This is her story.

Note: Lael’s time is not recognized by the AZT Race administration which prohibits media coverage. The current official records: Men’s – Nate Ginzton – 9:10:44 Women’s – Chase Edwards – 10:18:59

Lael Wilcox Establishes New FKT* for the 800-Mile Arizona Trail

Radar

Lael Wilcox Establishes New FKT* for the 800-Mile Arizona Trail

We are beyond excited to report that after 9 days, 8 hours, and 23 minutes our dear friend Lael Wilcox has established a new overall fastest known time for the 800-mile Arizona Trail Individual Time Trial*!

Tackling the Arizona Trail at a record-setting pace, from the Mexico border to the Utah state line, is one of the most grueling cycling challenges in the world and we couldn’t be more excited for Lael’s accomplishment. In the coming weeks, we’ll be featuring a full report from Lael’s time on the trail in addition to a short film from Rue Kaladyte. In the meantime, head over to Lael’s Instagram and send her a virtual high-five!

Edited on 4.23.2022 for clarity: We have correspondences with John Schilling, the organizer of the AZTR, where he reached out to Rue, the videographer and Lael’s wife about the media rule. Lael and Rue accept the * by their time for breaking the media coverage rule implemented in 2019. Previous records still stand.

Lael Wilcox’s 2022 Arizona Trail 800 Time Trial Preparations and Gear List

Reportage

Lael Wilcox’s 2022 Arizona Trail 800 Time Trial Preparations and Gear List

The Arizona National Scenic Trail is 800 miles of singletrack, stretching from the Mexican border to the Utah border and traversing most of the state’s major mountain ranges. With initial development in the 1990s, the hiking trail passes through several wilderness areas, requiring bike detours. The current bike route is 827 miles, including a 24-mile required bike portage through the Grand Canyon (wheels can’t touch the ground).

Radar

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.”

Radar

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

Reportage

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

Reportage

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

Reportage

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.

Cycling Westfjords Way: Bicycle Touring One of Iceland’s Most Remote Areas – Pt 01

Reportage

Cycling Westfjords Way: Bicycle Touring One of Iceland’s Most Remote Areas – Pt 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

Reportage

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.