© Tristan Bogaard
For most of us, 100 miles on a bike is a very long way. For Lael Wilcox, ultra-endurance cyclist and Komoot ambassador, that’s barely a day’s racing. Long is Lael’s forte. The 35-year-old adventure cyclist’s endurance endeavours include winning – outright – the 4,400-mile 2016 Trans-Am race, which she finished in 18 days in 2016, and holding the women’s self-supported FKT for the 2745-mile Tour Divide, an off-road route following the Rocky Mountains from Banff in Canada to the Mexico border.
Whilst most people like to arrive rested for a record attempt, Lael chose to cycle 2100 miles from Anchorage in Alaska, her home state, to reach the Tour Divide start line in 2015. After developing bronchitis during her Tour Divide attempt, she rode herself to an emergency room mid-ride with the clock ticking and still broke the FKT record. Not satisfied with her new record time, however, Lael returned two weeks later to ride the 2745-mile route again, breaking her own record by a day and a half. Oh, and this time her warm-up was an 850-mile ride to the start line.
You might imagine someone with Lael’s talent having grown up riding, but the American only took up cycling in her early 20s, first to commute, then to explore the world. And by explore the world, I mean ride 150,000+ miles across 40 countries before she entered her first race.
More recently, in August this year, Lael led an all-women group on the self-supported Komoot Torino-Nice Rally, a 700K route through Italy and France, accumulating 15,000m of climbing over the week of riding. I got the chance to quiz Lael about this, and many other things, in the Q&A below.