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.
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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
Photos and words by Ryan Le Garrec
Long Distance cycling is a mental battle.