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The Sleep Was a Snap of the Fingers: Lael Wilcox’s Silk Road Mountain Race 2019 – Part 3

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The Sleep Was a Snap of the Fingers: Lael Wilcox’s Silk Road Mountain Race 2019 – Part 3

The gravel pit turns to good, hard dirt and I begin the ascent. It’s my favorite kind of road, an even grade that feels like climbing the fortress walls to the castle as the road snakes up. It’s the morning of day 3 and I feel like I’m on a quick training ride, almost like the past two days haven’t happened or they’re a distant memory. I’m listening to music and my legs feel fresh and I’m having so much fun. The climb is an hour of effort and then a quick winding descent to the valley floor and dry Lake Kel Suu. Towering, freshly snow-covered mountains surround that makes me feel really small. I pass a couple of other yurt camps on my way to checkpoint 2 until I see the SRMR banner. A couple of little kids cheer me in. Jakub the Slovakian is packing his bike. I have to keep my focus. I take off my gloves and change the track on my GPS and take a couple of puffs from my inhaler and get my brevet card and my wallet and a couple of plastic bags and go inside the yurt. The floor is grass, so I don’t have to take off my shoes. Inside, a volunteer stamps my card and we get to talking. In some way, she’s related to Yura, the man with my favorite guesthouse in Bishkek. Yura doesn’t speak much English, but he makes jokes with his eyes and his hands.

It’s Still Well Below Freezing: Lael Wilcox’s Silk Road Mountain Race 2019 – Part 2

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It’s Still Well Below Freezing: Lael Wilcox’s Silk Road Mountain Race 2019 – Part 2

Read Lael’s first Reportage at You Can’t Win a 1,700km Race in a Day: Lael Wilcox’s Silk Road Mountain Race 2019 – Part I

I open my eyes to daylight, take a couple of puffs of my inhaler, compress the air out of my sleeping pad and get out of my sleeping bag. A rider with bags cruises by waving, a reminder that we’re still in a race. I stuff my whole sleeping kit into a dry bag and strap it to my handlebar harness. I turn on my GPS and put the race track on and on goes my SPOT tracker, pressing the boot print to initiate tracking. I move a pastry from my framebag to my gas tank for breakfast. I chug a full water bottle and put on my socks and shoes. The whole process takes twenty minutes and I resent the time lost. This style of racing is all about economizing time. The valley is cold, even at low elevation. I’m still wearing my down suit and rain jacket and I’m back on my bike, pedaling washboard downriver. I pass a pulled over rider and he passes me back. We don’t talk.

Lael Wilcox’s 2019 Silk Road Mountain Race Specialized Fuse Bikepacking Setup

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Lael Wilcox’s 2019 Silk Road Mountain Race Specialized Fuse Bikepacking Setup

With the 2019 Silk Road Mountain Race beginning tomorrow, we thought we’d give a break-down for what Lael Wilcox will be carrying on her bike for the duration of the event. Lael is hoping to finish the 1700 kilometer course with 27,000m elevation in 7-9 days. In order to do that, she has her setup dialed. Check out the full list below for those curious as to what an ultra-endurance racer carries on their bike.

Tour Divide Race: Part 4

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Tour Divide Race: Part 4

Words By Rugile Kaladyte, photos by Spencer Harding and Rugile Kaladyte

I’m not much of a writer, I prefer to stay behind the camera and let the photos do the talking. But what if photos aren’t enough? I like facts and I can provide those. Facts that led up to Lael’s scratching from this year’s Tour Divide. I recently posted on Lael’s Instagram that she scratched from the race this year after running into shoe sucking mud and waiting it out with other top racers. While waiting, she saw her women’s record pass by and her pink LW record dot would be almost a day ahead by the time conditions were suitable for riding. Acknowledging this, she brought me breakfast and spent the day with me and others while waiting for the mud to dry. Visiting me, her girlfriend, disqualifies her from the race. She knows this. We both do. I want to share a little more backstory. To put it out there while it’s still fresh.

2019 Tour Divide Race: Part 3

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2019 Tour Divide Race: Part 3

Words by Spencer Harding, photos by Spencer Harding and Rugile Kaladyte

Last year, Rue propositioned me about helping her document the Tour Divide race in which Lael Wilcox intended to best her previous record, I jumped at the opportunity. Later, Jay Ritchey would be added to the team to help Rue with the film they intended to produce about the race.  I was tasked with focusing on photographing her attempt and the race itself.  Rue has been flipping between photo and video very deftly and has some incredible images to add to this gallery.  Here is the third installment of our ongoing coverage of the 2019 Tour Divide Race. 

2019 Tour Divide Race: Part 2

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2019 Tour Divide Race: Part 2

Words by Spencer Harding, photos by Spencer Harding and Rugile Kaladyte

Last year, Rue propositioned me about helping her document the Tour Divide race in which Lael Wilcox intended to best her previous record, I jumped at the opportunity. Later, Jay Ritchey would be added to the team to help Rue with the film they intended to produce about the race.  I was tasked with focusing on photographing her attempt and the race itself.  Rue has been flipping between photo and video very deftly and has some incredible images to add to this gallery.  Here is the second installment of our ongoing coverage of the 2019 Tour Divide Race. 

2019 Tour Divide Race: Part 1

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2019 Tour Divide Race: Part 1

Words by Spencer Harding, photos by Spencer Harding and Rugile Kaladyte

Last year, Rue propositioned me about helping her document the Tour Divide race in which Lael Wilcox intended to best her previous record, I jumped at the opportunity. Later, Jay Ritchey would be added to the team to help Rue with the film they intended to produce about the race.  I was tasked with focusing on photographing her attempt and the race itself.  Rue has been flipping between photo and video very deftly and has some incredible images to add to this gallery.  Here is the first installment of our ongoing coverage of the 2019 Tour Divide Race. 

Radar

2019 Tour Divide Race Prep With Lael Wilcox

Part of Lael’s preparation for this year’s Tour Divide was to ride from Boulder, CO to Emporia, KS where she raced the Dirty Kanza XL, which is featured in today’s gallery! Leave it to Lael to ride 700 miles before racing 350 miles! She’s going to be prepared and ready for the TDR this year!

1000 Mile Tarmac Ride

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1000 Mile Tarmac Ride

1000 Mile Tarmac Ride
Words by Lael Wilcox, photos by Rugile Kaladyte and Trevor Raab.

Laboring up Mount Lemmon this winter with roadies on light bikes with rim brakes, I started thinking, I want a road bike! It rarely rains in Tucson, almost never in the winter. In the sunshine, rim brakes on carbon rims work fine. But what really is the difference? I was riding around on a Specialized Diverge, a performance carbon gravel bike with disc brakes and 38mm tires. I love the Diverge. It rides great. But I still had questions. What would a true road bike feel like? How would it feel after 100 miles or 200 miles or 1,000 miles?