Dennis Lastochkin walks, or rather rides, us through his win at the East Texas Showdown. Brainchild of Patrick Farnsworth from the Bikes or Death podcast, the early March event feels like a season opener of sorts for the multi-day endurance crowd and traverses 400 miles through southeastern Texas. Check out this from-the-saddle tale of bikepacking’s “Super Bowl.”
Ultra Distance Plastic Resistance: An Open Pledge for the Ultra Community
We all know about FKTs and ITTs but there’s a new acronym on the ultra scene: PFT. The brainchild of Taylor Doyle, PFT stands for “plastic free time,” and was an ultra-racing style she undertook last year on the 2,600km Pan Celtic Race. The effort was so eye-opening about the amount of single-use plastics that are thrown out during most ultra distance cycling events that she’s back now with a new kind of challenge for would-be ultra racers: the Ultra Distance Plastic Resistance pledge. Read on for the full deets about this inspiring challenge!
FAIL 12: Tomorrow Comes Too Soon at Gravel Birds Ultracycling Challenge
For FAIL 12 Ryan le Garrec raced the first edition of Gravel Birds, a 750km bikepacking race in Portugal’s largest region, Alentejo. For Ryan, it was initially more about the idea of fast touring a well-curated route than properly racing the course. The region is characterized by a beautiful mix of rough hills, coastlines and small deserts inland. Its arid section, down South and just over the more famous Algarve, is often ignored by tourism yet hosts some of the most incredible hidden gems of Portugal and probably its best gravel tracks too!
The Bird Was a Butterfly: Ana Orenz on Recovering from Injury
About one year ago, Ana Orenz had a crash going downhill during the first night of the Trans Pyrénées. Her accident ended in nerve damage, spinal injury, and facial reconstruction. But Ana never backs down.
Continue reading below for Ryan le Garrec’s multimedia profile of endurance cyclist Ana Orenz…
Into the Mind: Catching Up with Ultra-Endurance Cyclist Theo Kelsey
I honestly can’t remember the first time I thought about racing bikes or the fact that people might be motivated to race them. I had some inkling that there were professional road cyclists out there, a la Tour de France, but any notion was vague. For me racing was seeped in the nostalgia of a sticky summer day, riding a green BMX bike with a dysfunctional coaster brake. Most likely hurtling at an irresponsible speed, chasing friends down a hill in the hot and dusty interior of BC. Later in life, a university roommate and great pal, clued me into gravel riding, the Tour Divide Race, and so on. Call it bike pack racing, call it ultra-endurance riding, call it solo-soul-searching, or call it some sort of competition of human versus wheels.
Freehub Magazine: Stronger Together Identity and Endurance with Alexandera Houchin
It has taken time for Alexandera Houchin to weave layers of her identity together. First and foremost, Alexandera is an Ojibwe woman. She’s also an artist, a farmer, a mechanic, a cyclist and a person who cares deeply about her community on the Fond Du Lac reservation near Cloquet, Minnesota. “Stronger Together” takes an intimate look into Alexandera’s life while examining concepts of identity, forgiveness and what it means to merge seemingly different aspects of your soul in order to continue moving forward, one pedal stroke at a time.
See more at Freehub!
Payson McElveen makes an attempt at being the first person in history to cross Iceland from coast-to-coast in a single push under human power.
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.”
Experience by Bike Podcast: Ep 16 – Jenny Tough
This is the first Experience by Bike podcast interview on YouTube, in which Seth talks with Jenny Tough, a freelance adventurer, writer, and filmmaker.
Jenny has competed (and won the women’s category) in two of the most notorious ultra-endurance bikepacking races: the Silk Road Mountain Race (2019), and the Atlas Mountain Race (2020). In addition to competing in bikepacking events, Jenny is an avid expedition runner and the first person to traverse the High Atlas mountain range, and the Tien Shen mountain range, through solo and unsupported journeys.
Experience by Bike chats with Jenny about her experiences and mindset during some of these adventures and discusses some of the ways in which Jenny gives back to the adventure community through her educational and inspirational content.
Follow Jenny on her adventures:
YouTube: Jenny Tough
Full Circle on the Grand Loop: Part III – A Cyclocross Specialist Turned Ultra Racer
This is the third part of an ongoing series:
Full Circle on the Grand Loop: Part II – The First Modern Bikepacking Race
Full Circle on the Grand Loop: Part I – Trail Visions Ahead of Their Time
Back in the late 2000s, I was a geology Ph.D. student at the University of Colorado and a devoted cyclocross racer. I got up early and did intervals in the dark before class and I raced around in little circles every weekend from September to December, chasing other skinsuit-clad guys hopping on and off their bikes for rather contrived reasons. I flew around the country to some of the biggest race weekends, chasing UCI points and top-20 finishes. I was infatuated with the sport until I rather abruptly became bored of those little circles.
Full Circle on the Grand Loop: Part II – The First Modern Bikepacking Race
Read part I here: Full Circle on the Grand Loop: Part I – Trail Visions Ahead of Their Time
With the ambitious origins of the Grand Loop being shared in Part I of this series, let us now dive into the impact the route had on the evolution of bikepacking, and more specifically, bikepacking races. After all, the Grand Loop Race (GLR) was arguably the first of the modern bikepacking events and is responsible for creation and evolution of some of the most popular and longest-running mountain bike ultras in the United States – the Colorado Trail Race and the Arizona Trail 300. The Grand Loop was also the first long and particularly difficult off-road route to become a notable draw for bikepackers.
You Can Now Buy the Movie ‘Onboard the Transcontinental Race’
Antonin Michaud-Soret’s film ‘Onboard the Transcontinental Race’ is now available for VOD purchase via Vimeo. This video looks at the beauty and the struggle of one of the hardest ultra-endurance races, the TCR.
“To ride the TCR is to explore who you become at the side of a road in the Alps or the Balkans, low on sleep, lucidity, hygiene and any notion of comfort: in the saddle, rolling over rough tarmac sixteen or eighteen hours a day; finding what exists beyond fatigue and exhaustion.”
Josh Ibbett’s Video from BikingMan Oman 2019
Today we’ve got a feature from Ryan Le Garrec featuring the BikingMan Oman and one of those riders featured is Josh Ibbett. Here’s Josh’s own account.
Get Lost and Find Yourself: Cycling to the Breaking Point on the BikingMan Oman – Ryan Le Garrec
Get Lost and Find Yourself: Cycling to the Breaking Point
Photos and words by Ryan Le Garrec
Long Distance cycling is a mental battle.