Ride Along With Lael Wilcox on the Tour Divide

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The Tour Divide is the grandest North American mountain bike race. And in 2019, Lael Wilcox aimed to win it all.

Stretching from Canada to Mexico, the Tour Divide is a brutal, lonely race through the spine of the continent. Riders support themselves the entire way and face hardships like weather, altitude, and exhaustion.

“I Just Want To Ride: Lael Wilcox and the 2019 Tour Divide” tells the story of Wilcox’s 2019 race. She attempted to be the first female overall winner of the race. Follow along as she tackles the most notable bikepacking route in the world.

Lael Wilcox 21 Questions GearJunkie

'You Have the Lungs of a 75-Year-Old': 21 Questions With Bikepacking Badass Lael Wilcox

With each passing multiday, self-supported endurance bikepacking race, it becomes increasingly clear this is Lael Wilcox's world. We're just riding in it. But hit her with a few off-the-wall questions — like why Oprah would be her perfect riding buddy — and you uncover a charming and infectiously positive (if relentlessly motivated) person. Read more…

Writer and editor Sean McCoy

Sean McCoy is the Editorial Director of GearJunkie, and 5+ other AllGear websites.

He has been writing about hunting, fishing, trail running, camping, skiing, and more for 15+ years.

Prior to GearJunkie, he was the chief photographer for the Virgin Islands Daily News and former editor-in-chief for GearJunkie. Based in Denver, Colo., McCoy is an avid trail runner, camper, hunter, angler, mountain biker, skier, and beer tester.

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lael wilcox tour divide bike setup

Lael is based out of Anchorage, Alaska. In 2017, she was named “Bikepacker of the year” by  Bikepacking.com . She holds the women’s records in the Tour Divide and the Trans Am Bike Race and is the second woman ever to complete the grueling Navad 1000 course through the Swiss Alps. She has ridden over 100,000 miles in 35 countries and there is so much more she wants to explore. As an advocate to get more women on bikes, her current favorite project is  Anchorage GRIT , a middle school girls cycling mentorship program. This summer she is racing the Tour Divide and The Silk Road Mountain Race in Kyrgyzstan. Follow her adventures at  laelwilcox.com  and on Instagram  @laelwilcox .

Packing for the Tour Divide with Lael Wilcox

Revelate ambassador and 5-time Tour Divide racer, Lael Wilcox, breaks down her bike and bag setup, packing list, and a few tid bits about the race itself. Lael currently holds the women’s record for the Tour Divide at 15 and a half days. This year, she’s aiming to break the men’s record at 14 days! … [  Read More  ]

Raising Girls with Grit from A Seed on the Baja Divide

A yelp snaps me out of my daze and I see her go down, off the side of the ledge. Running on instinct, I limp down the steep slope to the beach. She’s down and then she’s up. “I’m okay!” Her mouth is caked with dirt and she’s covered in it. “Are you sure? Did … [  Read More  ]

Written by Lael Wilcox, photos by Nicholas Carman Riding out of Bahia Los Angeles, under the sun with a tailwind, Nick and I get in a fight because I want to run and he wants to keep moving forward. Fueled by temper, we ride fast through afternoon until we reach a crusty old car tire … [  Read More  ]

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Interview: Lael Wilcox on Ultra-Endurance Racing & Having the Courage to Take on the Men's Field

 Rugile Kaladyte Lael Wilcox

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Lael Wilcox rode the 2,100 miles solo from her home of Anchorage to the Tour Divide race start in Banff.

How Lael Wilcox Crushed the Tour Divide

A conversation with the new women’s record holder on the world’s hardest mountain bike course

Lael Wilcox rode the 2,100 miles solo from her home of Anchorage to the Tour Divide race start in Banff.

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The men’s record on the Tour Divide wasn’t the only one to fall this year. Lael Wilcox, a relatively unknown 28-year-old woman from Anchorage, Alaska, shattered the three-year-old women’s record on her rookie attempt. Wilcox shaved more than two days off the previous fast time, stopping the clock on the 2,745-mile event in 17 days, 1 hour, and 51 minutes. And despite her lack of experience and a nasty chest infection for the first half of the race, she finished sixth overall out of more than 150 starters.

But those stats are only part of the story. Leading up to the race, Wilcox rode—solo—the 2,100 miles from her home base in Anchorage to the race start in Banff. The whole journey, from Anchorage to Mexico, was the culmination of 10 months of bike touring, mostly with her boyfriend Nick, in Eastern Europe, South Africa, and Israel. It’s the couple’s longest stint in eight years of on-again, off-again travel that sees them home for a spell to work and save money and then away for as long as they can ride and support themselves.

We caught up with Wilcox a few days after she completed her record-setting ride. She seemed neither tired nor bothered by the fact that she was headed home to Alaska to work for a while. “It’s all just part of the ride,” she said.

OUTSIDE : For most people, a 2,745-mile race is the biggest thing they will ever do. But this was just a stop along the way for you, right? WILCOX: My boyfriend, Nick, and I have been on the road for the past 10 months touring. We heard about this route in Israel called the Holyland Challenge , so we went over there to tour it. But the timing was right, and we decided to go race it. That was my first bikepacking race. And I thought, “If this goes well, maybe I’ll do the Tour Divide.”

So it went well? It was rad. Actually, it sort of turned into a shit-show. They happened to have a lot of rain, and the terrain just turned into crazy, crazy mud that you couldn’t ride through at all. So they had to stop the race, transfer us down south, and then restart it. When they stopped it, I was 40 or 50 miles ahead of everyone, but we restarted all together. I was the only woman, and you know these guys were like, “We’re not going to let her beat us again.” In the end, we rode about 600 miles of the 800. And I got second. I had a lot of fun.

You had only done one bikepacking race before the Divide? Yeah, and before the Holyland Challenge, I had never used a GPS. Nick would navigate, and I’d just follow. I was always really bad with navigation. So during that race, I learned how to navigate, and that changed my life. I was like, “Hey, I’m never lost anymore. I have this GPS that tells me where I am. It’s awesome.”

But before the Divide, you figured you’d just do a 2,100-mile prologue. Doesn’t that seem like a bad idea? I wouldn’t have raced the Divide without first doing the ride from Anchorage to Banff. I’m from Anchorage, and I had never taken that road down to the U.S., so I just saw it as an opportunity to see that connection. Everyone told me, “That’s too much,” and “Don’t do it. Just take the ferry.” But I didn’t want to hear about it. I just want to do my thing. Obviously it’s a hair-brained idea… [Lael laughs out loud at herself, as she does repeatedly through the interview.] But I mean, you know, go for it. I figured if it doesn’t work out, who cares? I’ll just move on. I could just ride somewhere else.

How was the tour down? It was a lot of alone time, even more than the Divide. I’d go 100 mile stretches and see no people. It’s all paved, but it still feels more remote. I saw like a hundred bears.

Actually, the ride from Alaska was mentally a lot harder than the Divide. No one really understood what I was doing. I was on the fringe. You’re this weird girl out on a bike sleeping on the side of the road, and people look at you strange. For the Divide, people know what you’re doing. They understand it. But when you tour by yourself, you’re a loner. It’s a cool experience, and I liked it. But it’s nice to know that there’s an end date, that I wasn’t going to go on forever like that, being alone, passing through the world. You engage with people more quickly because you’re alone. But it’s the northern country up there. For a lot of people, it’s like the end of the earth. There’s a lot of weird stuff going on. Like people hiding from society. 

After that ride, you spent a week recovering and then started the Divide. How did it go? The first day, I was riding really hard. I did 183 miles, and I was having so much fun. The weather was pretty bad. We had rain, freezing rain, and hail, and it was cold, and I felt that my lungs were starting to hurt, just burning. At first I thought they were just opening up, but then I got really short of breath, I was sort of gasping. I developed this sort of infection, though at the time I didn’t know what it was and I just kept moving along. But I couldn’t breathe, and after that first day I went slower. I walked a lot. And I was so tired that I had to stop early, like 9 p.m. every night.

In Helena, maybe six days in, I went to the urgent care. They took a chest x-ray and said I had some form of bronchitis, but that’s sort of an overarching thing. It was just some sort of respiratory infection. So they gave me an inhaler, which really helped, and antibiotics. And in a few hours, I was feeling so good that I rode until 3 a.m. I wasn’t better immediately, but in two days I finally felt better. I still had a pretty bad cough, but at least I could breathe. That was something like eight days in, at the end of Montana.

lael wilcox tour divide bike setup

When you started, what was your goal? And did the sickness change that? I wanted to ride as hard as I could. I planned to sleep four or five hours a night and just see how it went. I didn’t have specific mileage or time goals. I knew about the women’s record, but I didn’t have a smart phone and couldn’t monitor it. Sometimes when I saw people along the way, they’d tell me I was ahead of it.

And then you had some route issues in Wyoming? I loaded the track for the racecourse before I left Alaska. That was on May 16. And I guess while I was en route to Canada, they updated the track. But they never posted anywhere that it had changed. So I was following the 2014 track, but I had no idea. I got to Pinedale, in Wyoming, and I got all these texts from Nick saying that I was off route and that I needed to go to the outdoor shop and get the new track.

Nick has been in touch with the guys who monitor the race. They were like, “I don’t know about the race standings, but we’ll definitely honor your course as the record because it’s the same one that the previous record-holder rode.” But I didn’t think about going back. This was when I had just started feeling healthy again, so I wanted to keep moving forward.

How does it make you feel that your record will count but you won’t get credit for the win?  I don’t know if it’s been decided yet whether I’m in the official standings or not. And the whole thing makes me feel a little sad. I was really doing my best to ride the route and stay true to the spirit of the race. And with a technicality like this…I don’t really want to engage in it because it hurts my heart. While I was riding, I was really worried that I was going to get disqualified. You feel like a kid who’s in trouble, which is terrible because I was working hard to be honest and stay true. I did everything I could. And I guess I’m just grateful that I got to ride. I still got the record, and I guess that’s more important than the race.

“It actually doesn’t matter that you have a piece of shit bike or that you’re a girl. The riding speaks for itself.”

So do you think you would have been a lot faster if you’d not been sick? If I had been healthy, yeah, I definitely would have gone faster. When I started, I just went as hard as I could and I figured that if I blew up, I’d work out something else. I guess that’s sort of what happened with getting sick. It made me ease off. But yeah, without that illness I definitely would have gone a lot harder. 

So will you try again? Yeah, I might. It could be cool. Not next week, but… [Lael trails off in laughter.] But this year the weather was good, too. The passes were clear. So harder conditions would be a different race. I don’t know, it kinda creeps into your head, and then you have to just do it again.

Endurance racers always want to try again, but it usually takes awhile, especially after a big race. You definitely seem chipper for having just raced 2,800 miles. I’m always chipper. [She laughs again.] I don’t know. It’s just obsessively riding. It becomes almost like breathing. Riding is how I learn about the world. It was great just to see all that terrain, to take it all in and be outside so much. The weather was so good that I was able to just sleep out every night. 

Did it ever feel dangerous to you? Not on the Divide, but in Canada. There’s this stretch of road from Prince River to Prince George, like 300 miles called the Highway of Tears. Lots of women have been abducted there, and there are signs that say stuff like, “She’s gone. Why risk it on the Highway of Tears?” It feels terrible to be out there, and I was riding by myself. You look at the pictures and you think, “That girl looks like me.” So by the third day I just had to get off that road. There was a huge rainstorm, and trucks were sending big waves of water over me, and I should have stopped. But I just had to get out of there.

Is doing a race like the Divide different for women than men? People want to be more involved with you when you are a woman. They want to help you more, which is nice, but it can also be kind of frustrating. On the Tour Divide, people would come out to see me, and it’s like they felt like they were my friends already even though I didn’t know them. I guess people can relate to me more than they can to the men. It’s easy to look at these racer guys and think, “Man, I don’t have that kind of ability.” But they look at me, and they’re like “If this little girl can do this, maybe I can do something.” And that’s good. I want to empower people, to inspire them. I mean stop making excuses. At least try.

So do you consider yourself the race’s fastest woman or just a fast racer? Results speak. People talk a big game about what they can do and what somebody else can or cannot do. People would treat me like a joke, especially in Israel, where women aren’t as active and I was racing on really crummy equipment. But that’s the exciting thing about a race. You enter, and you get your result. And no one can take that away from you. That’s just how it is. It actually doesn’t matter that you have a piece of shit bike or that you’re a girl. The riding speaks for itself.

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Tour divide 2024.

Banff, Canada

Running from Banff, Canada to Antelope Wells on the US-Mexican border, the Tour Divide is for many the halo event of Bikepack Ultraracing. There are both Southbound and Northbound riders racing self-supported along the ACA's Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, always with a few weather re-routes to spice it up.

13:00, 14 June, 2024

Distance — Elevation

4,400km — 60,000m

Last Year's Female Winner

Lael Wilcox

Last Year's Male Winner

Ulrich Bartholmoes

Covered By:

lael wilcox tour divide bike setup

Ali Macleod

lael wilcox tour divide bike setup

Kitty Dennis

lael wilcox tour divide bike setup

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lael wilcox tour divide bike setup

I Just Want To Ride – Lael Wilcox and the 2019 Tour Divide

by Hannah Dobson November 27, 2019 2

There was a bunch of controversy around this year’s Tour Divide, with the lead up to it marked by the kind of kerfuffle that the internet breeds best (or worst). In short, Lael Wilcox planned to make a film about her Tour Divide attempt, and disagreement ensued over whether this was in keeping with the spirit – or rules – of the Tour Divide.

It’s not the first time there’s been debate over what constitutes support on a long distance event – indeed our own mile muncher Jason Miles has railed against the self-appointed, solo bike ride Council of Elders written about the topic .

Whether you think that Lael should have been able to have a film crew on the route in order to make a film of the Tour Divide, whether the organisers should have allowed the film crew there, or you really don’t care either way, the documentary is now out.

The launch blurb says:

Lael Wilcox loves the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route.

She loves the climbing. It’s pass after pass. She loves the roads. They’re not too technical. She loves the landscapes. Traveling from Canada to Mexico, all on your bike. The Tour Divide, it’s her kind of race and she’s done it twice before.

The 2019 edition was set to be truly unique as she attempted to be the first woman to be the overall winner the race. But would the weather cooperate? Would the race and route play out as it had in her previous attempts?

Follow along as Lael takes on the most notable bikepacking route in the world and has to overcome natural and human barriers to embrace the true reasons for why she rides and inspires others to ride. Go Lael.

Does this make you want to race the Tour Divide? Or just ride the Great Divide route, at a more leisurely pace? One where you can pause to savour the pies in Pie Town, stop to sink beers with locals in small, dusty towns – maybe just camp an extra night because the stars are so beautiful?

For another perspective on long distance racing, check out Greg May’s take:

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Comments (2)

I remember the debate at the time, and the film makes some (justifiable IMO) points abouts double standards. I think Lael comes across as a honest story-teller and the fim is even more watchable for all that goes along with it. I’ve no interest in doing like what these folk do, but their determination and athleticism is inspiring . Worth 40 mins of anyone’s time,

Well worth watching, Kudos to Lael and “f*ck you” to the armchair **** on Facebook.

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Anchorage’s Lael Wilcox overcomes health scare and brutal weather to win endurance bike race

lael wilcox tour divide bike setup

Lael Wilcox finished first among women around 3 a.m. local time Monday at the border to Mexico in the 2023 Tour Divide. (Photo by Rue Kaladyte)

Anchorage’s Lael Wilcox faced more than her fair share of challenges on the way to winning the 2023 Tour Divide women’s race. The 36-year-old endurance cyclist arrived in Antelope Wells, New Mexico, around 3 a.m. local time Monday after riding through the night to finish with a time of 16 days and 20 hours.

Wilcox finished with a 125-mile cushion over Katya Rakhmatulina, who came in second place the next day with a finish time of 17 days, 8 hours and 48 minutes.

This was her fifth time competing in the race that begins in Banff, Alberta, and ends at the U.S.-Mexico border in Antelope Wells, but it marked her first time winning the grand depart, which is the mass start race that takes place every summer.

Wilcox was the first woman to finish the race in 2015 with what appeared to be a record time of 17 days, 1 hour and 51 minutes, but she was disqualified for riding an old track. She went back later that summer and rode the race by herself as a time trial, setting a record for finishing in 15 days, 10 hours and 59 minutes. That mark still stands. She was disqualified again in 2019, and had to stop early in 2021.

“It feels great,” Wilcox said. “I’ve been going after this for eight years, and can finally say I won it.”

In 2015, the course had been changed by about 10 miles, but she said she didn’t receive the notification from an organizer. Wilcox famously rode 2,140 miles from Anchorage to Alberta for the start of the race. Back then, she was still using a flip phone and didn’t get great cell reception while riding through trails and mountain ranges.

“Since it was an old track, I could still officially break the record, but was out of that year’s race,” Wilcox said.

Wilcox said the 2023 race was “the hardest for sure” because of what she had to endure and overcome along the way, including “a health scare and some pretty crazy weather.”

“The first seven days, it rained in thunderstorms every single day, and then it created this really nasty, almost impassable mud that pretty much wrecked everyone’s bike,” she said. “Everyone had to go to bike shops to get their bikes fully rebuilt.”

Even when the rain stopped, the challenges persisted — this time, in the form of a “pretty consistent strong headwind coming out of the south.”

“That’s what really killed my lungs,” she said with a raspy voice that still hasn’t recovered. “Just breathing that dry, hot, dusty air. After a day of it, I just totally lost my voice and was struggling to breathe.”

lael wilcox tour divide bike setup

Lael Wilcox finished first for women around 3 a.m. Monday at the border to Mexico in the 2023 Tour Divide. (Photo by Rue Kaladyte)

A couple of days later, she woke up severely dehydrated and throwing up while in New Mexico where there wasn’t much water and very few services. At that point, Wilcox was afraid that she might have to quit but didn’t.

“I rode myself to a hospital, got an IV, and then felt quite a bit better, so I was able to continue and finish the race,” she said. “I was just so happy I didn’t have to quit. It was pretty tough.”

Before the weather became a debilitating factor, Wilcox was on pace to break her record set back in August 2015. However, due to the muddy conditions, her progress was slowed significantly, and she was no longer at a record-setting pace.

“On those days, usually we’re riding some 10, 12 or maybe 15 miles an hour,” she said. “In the mud, you’re hardly walking a mile an hour. To do that for like 12 hours, you really don’t make it very far.”

Wilcox, who is from Anchorage but now lives in Arizona, was a full day ahead of her record time at that point in the race and had to watch that work evaporate. That didn’t matter to her in the grand scope.

“I was super driven to finish just so I don’t have that kind of on my shoulders,” Wilcox said. “I had to dig a lot deeper than I usually do just to kind of overcome all these circumstances. I feel like I gave it my all and I feel really good about that.”

[ With medals and mettle, Special Olympics Alaska athletes shine at 2023 World Games ]

Setting sights on a grander prize

At 2,700 miles long, the Tour Divide is one of the longest races that Wilcox has participated in during her eight-year racing career — and the one she has ridden the most. The longest race she has ridden is the Trans Am, which stretches 4,200 miles across the United States from the West Coast to the East.

She’s going for the triple crown of bikepacking this year with one down and two more coming up later this summer and fall.

The Colorado Trail Race in August is 500 miles of singletrack trail in August, and the Arizona Trail Race 800 is in October.

On average, it usually takes her a couple of weeks to recover from a race, and she has a fun recovery plan in store for this upcoming weekend.

“I’m heading back up to Montana, and I’m going to be guiding a stretch of the route that I just raced on an e-bike,” Wilcox said. “It should be a fun way to be outside and kind of spinning my legs but not working too hard.”

[ Oregon pitcher creates memory of a lifetime at the 2023 Alaska Legion Midseason Classic ]

Josh Reed is a sports reporter for the Anchorage Daily News. He's a graduate of West High School and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

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Lael wilcox bike setup: trans alaska pipeline time trial gear list and introduction.

By: Rugile Kaladyte & Lael Wilcox July 13, 2021

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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.

lael wilcox tour divide bike setup

In the summer of 2020, Rue and I flew back to Alaska to ride the roads together and make a video for PEARL iZUMi. Riding from home felt like a good choice during the pandemic. Our first big stretch was flying up to Deadhorse, the farthest north you can go on the road system, and riding 500 miles (800km) back to Fairbanks. We toured it together over six days. It’s a really challenging ride— along the way there are only two places to get hot food (the Ice Road Trucker Cafe in Coldfoot and the Yukon River Camp) and no grocery stores. The road is super punchy with plenty of climbing and the surface can get rough. In the summer, there are clouds of mosquitoes and the sun never sets. It’s so far north that there aren’t any trees for the first 240 miles (385km). Sightlines are expansive. This is the land of the grizzly bear, muskox, caribou, and moose. And there’s a road that runs through it.

lael wilcox tour divide bike setup

The road was built in 1974 as a supply road for the Trans Alaska Pipeline System and was initially called the North Slope Haul Road. It was opened to the public in 1994.

If the road wasn’t there, I couldn’t ride through it. It exists because of the Trans Alaska Pipeline. I am grateful to be a visitor, to see this land from my bike seat. The more I experience places for myself, the more ideas I get.

I thought of riding a time trial on the roads following the pipeline, about 860 miles (1380km) from Deadhorse to Valdez last August. I ran out of time. It’s a great ride to come back for— a chance to spend some time in Alaska this summer, visit my family and go out for a real ass-kicker.

lael wilcox tour divide bike setup

I’ll begin my ride on Tuesday, July 13 at 9am Alaska time. Follow my progress on trackleaders.com .

Rue will be there to document my ride and will be shooting a video for Rapha. We’ve hired Ana Jager to be her driver. It’s pretty awesome to have a full female crew.

My main motivation is to see how fast I can ride it and encourage others to both come break my record and just come ride the roads. They’re remote and gorgeous.

lael wilcox tour divide bike setup

There was talk a few years back about hosting a race that finished in Deadhorse. I think the Dalton Highway is much more suited to touring and time trials. Although the road is public, it is still primarily used by long-distance truckers and North Slope workers. There is no cell phone service, so they communicate with CB radios. If there’s a cyclist on the road, they let each other know. They are worried about our safety, but can easily work around individuals or small groups. Sending dozens of cyclists on the Dalton Highway, particularly in a bikepacking race-sleep-deprived state could cause bad blood between truckers and riders. I’ve toured this route twice. Both times, truckers stopped to check in on me, even offering me water, juice, and fresh fruit to keep me going. I’d like to try and maintain that camaraderie. We’re all passing through a very special place.

lael wilcox tour divide bike setup

Notes on gear and route:

I’m carrying a tent for the first time in a race or time trial because of the mosquitoes. I usually carry a bivvy or just a sleeping bag or nothing at all. I plan to sleep about four hours a night and know I wouldn’t sleep for a minute if I didn’t have a bug net. The first chance to get any food is at mile 240 (km 385) at Coldfoot Camp. They have hotel rooms as well and serve food from 5am to midnight. The next chance is at mile 360 (km 580) at the Yukon River Camp. They’re only open from 12-7pm, so there’s a good chance I’ll miss the hours. I’ll carry as much food as I can— Gnarly powder drinks , Trail Butter, salami-hummus-cream cheese tortilla roll-ups, surelis, brownies and more are going in every bag and every pocket.

lael wilcox tour divide bike setup

I’m bringing a Suunto 9 Peak watch to try and record one continuous GPX file for my ride. The battery is supposed to last for a week on low power mode. I hope to finish my ride in four or five days.

For future record attempts, I’m not worried about what route people choose. Start at the general store in Deadhorse and finish at the marina in Valdez. There are very few options for deviations. The only real choice is to ride through Fairbanks or bypass it. It’s about 30 miles longer to ride through Fairbanks, but it’s the only real city along the way with bike shops. If I need to get my bike fixed along the way, I’ll add the miles and ride through Fairbanks.

lael wilcox tour divide bike setup

My Trans Alaska Pipeline Route on Komoot:

2021 Specialized Diverge Zipp 303 Firecrest wheels (SON dynamo front hub) Rene Herse Oracle Ridge tires with Endurance casing (700×48) Easton AX70 carbon handlebars Zipp aerobars SRAM AXS shifting SRAM Red crankset 38T chainring 10-50t Eagle cassette SRAM Red hydraulic disc brakes Zipp stem & seatpost Ergon Women’s SR saddle

lael wilcox tour divide bike setup

Revelate Designs Pronghorn handle bar system Medium dyneema drybag Mag-Tank 2000 2x Mountain Feedbags 10L Spinelock seatpack Jerry Can Topo Designs accessory bags for organization Specialized SWAT bag for SWAT box

Electronics

20,000 mAh power bank phone charger Micro USB charger SRAM battery charger Extra SRAM battery Headlight Airpods SPOT tracker Wall plug Sinewave Cycles Beacon dynamo light Blinky tail light

Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM Iphone on Quadlock as backup Suunto 9 Peak to record the ride

lael wilcox tour divide bike setup

2oz sealant Tire plugs Spare tube Pump Superglue Patch kit Tire lever Quick links Spare derailleur hanger Brake pads Pliers Multitool Chain lube

Rapha short sleeve and long sleeve jersey Down jacket Cargo shorts (with chamois cut out) Gore-tex rain jacket Rain pants 2x wool socks Buff Powerweave shoes Mitts Gloves Gore-tex shell mittens Clear glasses Sunglasses

lael wilcox tour divide bike setup

Big Agnes Fly Creek HV1 carbon tent Western Mountaineering Hyperlite sleeping bag Klymit Inertia X-Frame sleeping pad

Gnarly Nutrition : Gnarly Vegan, Performance Greens, Fuel20, Pre Workout, and BCAAs Trail Butter Surelis (Lithuanian cheese cake bars) Nut & farmers cheese pastries Sandwiches 2x Rapha Bidons Metal shaker ball

lael wilcox tour divide bike setup

Albuterol inhaler (for asthma) Caffeine pills Ibuprofen Toothbrush Toothpaste Chapstick Extra hair tie DEET (for mosquitoes) Bear Spray Topo Designs wallet

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Meaghan Hackinen is the First Woman to Finish the 2024 Tour Divide

The canadian completed the 2,745 bikepacking race in 15 days and 23 hours, coming within 14 hours of the course record..

Don't miss a moment of the 2024 Tour de France! Get recaps, insights, and exclusive takes with Velo's daily newsletter. >","name":"in-content-cta","type":"link"}}'>Sign up today! .

Meaghan Hackinen arrived at the U.S./Mexico border in Antelope Wells, New Mexico after 15 days and 23 hours, becoming the first woman to finish the 2024 Tour Divide bikepacking race.

Hackinen, from Kelowna, British Columbia, was the seventh rider overall to complete the 2,745-route that began in Banff, BC on June 14. According to Bikepacking.com , Hackinen has become the first woman to complete the Tour Divide grand depart event in under 16 days.

Less than a day later, 27-year-old Ana Jager arrived at the finish in New Mexico, becoming the second woman to complete the race. Jager won the event in 2022.

This year, Hackinen came within 14 hours of the Tour Divide women’s record, which was set by Lael Wilcox in 2015 during an individual time trial of the route.

Read also: Justinas Leveika wins 2024 men’s Tour Divide

  View this post on Instagram   A post shared by Meg Hackinen (@meaghanhackinen)

This was Hackinen’s rookie ride of the Tour Divide, although the 39-year-old has a wealth of long-distance self-supported bikepacking experience. In 2017, she completed the Trans Am race across the United States, and in 2022 she completed the 4000km Transcontinental race across Europe.

In addition to riding Hackinen also writes. She has published two books about her experiences bike touring and racing. Most recently, she published Shifting Gears, which chronicles her 25-day journey on the Trans Am Bike Race. Hackinen also wrote a book called South Away,  about a bike tour with her sister down the west coast of North America.

Hackinen completed the Tour Divide on a  2018 Salsa Cutthroat Force, which she purchased used in 2021.

“The previous owner had toured from Banff to Helena, and I pledged from the moment I laid eyes on my bike that one day I’d get her the finish,” Hackinen wrote on social media.

Hackinen’s Tour Divide was well-chronicled on social media, which gave followers valuable insight into her ride. She sent audio notes to a friend who then uploaded them to Instagram. Although Hackinen’s spirits started to flag in the late miles of the race in New Mexico, she was impressively positive and gracious throughout the two-week adventure.

You can learn more about her journey here .

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Meaghan Hackinen is First Woman to Finish 2024 Tour Divide

2024 Tour Divide, Ulrich Bartholmoes

Previous Dispatch From Fri Jun 28, 2024

Ulrich Bartholmoes is Second to Finish 2024 Tour Divide + Race Updates

Author Photo

A massive congratulations goes out to Meaghan Hackinen, who finished the 2700-mile 2024 Tour Divide in just under 16 days and became the first rider to cross the finish line in the women’s category! Find photos and more about Meaghan’s experience on the route here…

Salsa Cycles

Photos by Eddie Clark and Alexandera Houchin ( @alexanderahouchin ) from the finish

After 15 days, 23 hours (15d:23h:00m), Meaghan Hackinen is the first woman to reach Antelope Wells, winning the 2024 Tour Divide women’s category and becoming the first woman to complete the Tour Divide grand depart event in under 16 days. The Canadian from Kelowna, British Columbia, set the second fastest-ever women’s time on the 2,700-mile route on her first attempt at it, bested only by Lael Wilcox’s record-setting 2015 ride during an Individual Time Trial (ITT). Meaghan finished 7th overall in the race.

Meaghan Hackinen 2024 Tour Divide Womens Winner

A past winner of the 24-hour World Time Trial Championships and many bikepacking races, including the Ozark Gravel Doom, Dark Divide 300, Log Driver’s Waltz, and The Big Lonely, Hackinen had the off-road bikepacking experience to handle the backcountry rigors of Tour Divide, and with completions of TransAm and the Transcontinental Race in 2017 and 2022 respectively, she was no stranger to the day after day grind of long events.

If you exclude the first night Hackinen stopped in Fernie to sleep inside while Ana Jager pushed on for a few more hours, Hackinen never gave up the race lead. While the two incredibly strong women were never far from each other, spending nights in the same location in Whitefish and Lincoln early on in the race, it seemed that Hackinen was able to slowly and steadily inch away from Jager as the miles wore on.

Meaghan Hackinen 2024 Tour Divide Womens Winner

Jager caught up twice more, once at Brush Mountain Lodge and once in Silverthorne, but ultimately Hackinen was able to stay away for the win. Even a puncture on Boreas Pass that took four bacon strips to fix and eventually led to a new tire in Del Norte couldn’t stop the charging Canadian, who stayed well ahead of women’s record pace for much of the race until ultimately falling behind it in northern New Mexico.

It was her unrelenting focus and positivity that permeated each of the daily Instagram posts that she made along the route, giving fans a peak into her daily experiences. Even when things sounded positively dire, she found a way to practice gratitude for her ability and opportunity to be out there.

Meaghan Hackinen 2024 Tour Divide Womens Winner

Near the end of the route, getting ready to leave Pie Town for the last push to the border, she admitted that she was starting to lose focus, turning from a scientist of the sport with a plan to be executed with precision to a poet who just wanted to be out there to enjoy the experience. Her love of being out on route and appreciation of the experience is clear in her voice. That said, on the final stretch, she faed pretty bad storms and had to hunker down in an abandoned building right where the route out goes parallel to the freeway.

Congratulations, Meaghan, on a spectacular ride, and thank you for taking us along with you!

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lael wilcox tour divide bike setup

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IMAGES

  1. Lael's 2019 Tour Divide Bike Build and Gear List

    lael wilcox tour divide bike setup

  2. Packing for the Tour Divide with Lael Wilcox (Video)

    lael wilcox tour divide bike setup

  3. Lael Wilcox Starts Her 2021 Tour Divide ITT

    lael wilcox tour divide bike setup

  4. Lael Wilcox

    lael wilcox tour divide bike setup

  5. Lael's 2019 Tour Divide Bike Build and Gear List

    lael wilcox tour divide bike setup

  6. Lael's 2019 Tour Divide Bike Build and Gear List

    lael wilcox tour divide bike setup

VIDEO

  1. Tour Divide Bike Check

  2. Can Lael Wilcox WIN the Triple Crown?

  3. Inspiration for Biking!

  4. TEASER TOUR DIVIDE : ACCEPTATION by Stéven Le Hyaric

  5. Talking with Lael Wilcox

  6. Bikepacking FORGOTTEN Trails on Cortes & Quadra Islands

COMMENTS

  1. Lael's 2019 Tour Divide Bike Build and Gear List

    PUBLISHED Jun 14, 2019. 26. Conversation. Lael Wilcox is no stranger to planning a big, multi-thousand-mile bikepacking ride. In fact, she currently holds the women's record for the Tour Divide, which she set back in 2015 at 15 days, 10 hours, and 59 minutes. Today she lined up with ~200 other riders to ride the 2,700+ mile journey once again.

  2. Packing for the Tour Divide with Lael Wilcox

    Revelate ambassador and 5-time Tour Divide racer, Lael Wilcox, breaks down her bike and bag setup, packing list, and a few tid bits about the race itself.Lae...

  3. Packing for the Tour Divide with Lael Wilcox (Video)

    Lael Wilcox is currently 729 miles into the 2,700-mile Tour Divide, a self-supported bikepacking race between Banff, Alberta, Canada, and Antelope Wells, New Mexico. The route follows the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route and brings in hundreds of riders each year looking to ride or race the ambitious route. Although the riders are just five days into the event, there has already been lots of ...

  4. Lael Wilcox's Tour Divide Specialized Epic Hardtail

    Lael made an impressive run at the DKXL on almost this exact setup, a few last minute tweaks and some additional baggage and this bike are ready to crush the Tour Divide. Today she is lining up for the Grand Depart in Banff against a strong field of competitors over 200 strong.

  5. Lael Wilcox

    Lael Wilcox runs through her gear and bike setup for this years Tour Divide Race.

  6. Packing for the Tour Divide with Lael Wilcox

    Revelate ambassador and 5-time Tour Divide racer, Lael Wilcox, breaks down her bike and bag setup, packing list, and a few tid bits about the race itself.

  7. Ultimate 'Tour Divide' MTB: Bike-Packing Build For 2,745 Miles

    (The men's course record, according to the Tour Divide Facebook Page, is 14 days, 11 hours, and 40 minutes by Josh Kato; the women's record is 15 days, 11 hours, set by Lael Wilcox, TWICE, in ...

  8. QA with Lael Wilcox, Tour Divide

    A Q&A with Lael Wilcox after she made history and finished the 2,770 mile Tour Divide bikepacking race in a record-setting 17 days, 1 hour, and 51 minutes.

  9. Ride Along With Lael Wilcox on the Tour Divide

    The Tour Divide is the grandest North American mountain bike race. And in 2019, Lael Wilcox aimed to win it all.

  10. I Just Want To Ride

    First Place Winner of Filmed by Bike's 2020 Film Fest Audience Choice Award ______________________________________________________ Lael Wilcox loves the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. ...more

  11. Lael Wilcox's 2019 Tour Divide Bike and Gear List : r/bikepacking

    Posted by u/d69f - 35 votes and 6 comments

  12. Lael Wilcox

    Revelate ambassador and 5-time Tour Divide racer, Lael Wilcox, breaks down her bike and bag setup, packing list, and a few tid bits about the race itself. Lael currently holds the women's record for the Tour Divide at 15 and a half days.

  13. Interview: Lael Wilcox on Ultra-Endurance Racing & Having ...

    Lael Wilcox: The Tour Divide is a 2,750-mile mountain bike race down the Rockies from Canada to Mexico. So the race actually follows the Continental Divide as closely as possible.

  14. 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!

  15. How Lael Wilcox Crushed the Tour Divide

    Lael Wilcox, a relatively unknown 28-year-old woman from Anchorage, Alaska, shattered the three-year-old women's Tour Divide record on her rookie attempt.

  16. Congrats to Lael Wilcox, First Woman to Finish the 2023 Tour Divide

    20. Conversation. Our congratulations go out to Lael Wilcox, the first rider to cross the finish line in the 2023 Tour Divide women's category! Find a few photos from the finish and more about Lael's ride here…. Photos by Bekka Mongeau for Revelate Designs and Rugile Kaladyte. Just a few of hours ago, 36-year-old Alaskan endurance cyclist ...

  17. Tour Divide 2024 Tracking and Commentary

    Tour Divide 2024 Tracking + Commentary: Running from Banff, Canada to Antelope Wells on the US-Mexican border, the Tour Divide is for many the halo event of off-road bikepacking racing. There are both Southbound and Northbound riders en route.

  18. I Just Want To Ride

    In short, Lael Wilcox planned to make a film about her Tour Divide attempt, and disagreement ensued over whether this was in keeping with the spirit - or rules - of the Tour Divide.

  19. Anchorage's Lael Wilcox overcomes health scare and brutal weather to

    Anchorage's Lael Wilcox faced more than her fair share of challenges on the way to winning the 2023 Tour Divide women's race. The 36-year-old endurance cyclist arrived in Antelope Wells, New ...

  20. Packing for the Tour Divide with Lael Wilcox

    Packing for the Tour Divide with Lael Wilcox. I like her, such a machine on the bike and so human off. 135K subscribers in the bikepacking community.

  21. Lael Wilcox Bike Setup: Trans Alaska Pipeline Time Trial Gear List and

    I thought of riding a time trial on the roads following the pipeline, about 860 miles (1380km) from Deadhorse to Valdez last August. I ran out of time. It's a great ride to come back for— a chance to spend some time in Alaska this summer, visit my family and go out for a real ass-kicker.

  22. Lael Wilcox Around the World Bike

    On Sunday, ultra-endurance athlete Lael Wilcox set off on a monumental trip, aiming to cycle 18,000 miles over three and a half months on an around-the-world record attempt. There's an interesting backstory to the Specialized Roubaix that Lael chose to take on this grand adventure. In a nutshell, it's (almost) the same bike model she rode ...

  23. Meaghan Hackinen is the First Woman to Finish the 2024 Tour Divide

    This year, Hackinen came within 14 hours of the Tour Divide women's record, which was set by Lael Wilcox in 2015 during an individual time trial of the route. ... She has published two books about her experiences bike touring and racing. ... Hackinen's Tour Divide was well-chronicled on social media, which gave followers valuable insight ...

  24. Lael Wilcox Trans Am Gear List and Q&A

    Lael Wilcox: A Trans Am Gear List and post-race Q&A. After some awe inspiring twists and turns in the final days leading up to the end, Lael Wilcox finished the Trans Am Race in 18 days and 10 minutes becoming the first American to win the race. We talked with Lael about her gear list, health, and the route itself.

  25. Meaghan Hackinen is First Woman to Finish 2024 Tour Divide

    The Canadian from Kelowna, British Columbia, set the second fastest-ever women's time on the 2,700-mile route on her first attempt at it, bested only by Lael Wilcox's record-setting 2015 ride during an Individual Time Trial (ITT).