Author Archive | Lael Wilcox

Lael Wilcox: Riding out of Nome

Roads in Alaska are precious. Many communities are isolated, only accessible by plane or boat. Pull out a map, and you’ll see village dots inland and coastal, with no road lines connecting them to the outer world. Visiting remote places has been very eye-opening for me: The communities are contained. They’re bonded together. You can hardly wander off as no path or road will take you away. The roads might extend out of town for two miles or maybe twelve, out to a creek or the coast or the dump or a mine, and then they dead-end. It almost feels like being on an island, but there’s land in between. Far to the north, in the tundra, overland travel is possible as there aren’t any trees, but that feels very different from riding a road to visit another community. It’s beautiful and wild, and it puts my mind in a very different place.

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Lael Wilcox: What Makes a Great Bikepacking Tire?

Long distance bikepacking is all about making equipment compromises. Generally speaking, for me, bikepacking is multi-day dirt-road riding and carrying what I need along the way. Road surfaces, conditions, and weather are ever-changing— that’s part of the adventure. When setting out for a tour, I select equipment based on what will be the most fun or make me the happiest for the trip, or simply what I have at hand that’s ready to go. When setting out for a race, I choose what will make me the fastest over time. There are a lot of different elements that factor into the time it takes to cover an immense distance, like speed, efficiency, time on the bike and comfort. Maybe the easiest way for me to dive into these aspects is through specific illustration. I’ll use the it as an example. 

The Tour Divide is a 2,750 mile (4,425 km) self-supported mountain bike race based on Adventure Cycling Association’s Great Divide Mountain Bike Route that travels through the Rockies from Banff, Alberta, Canada to Antelope Wells, New Mexico on the Mexican border. It follows the continental divide as closely as possible, on forest service roads with over 200,000 feet (60,000 m) of climbing along the way.  Continue Reading →

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Lael Wilcox: The Mount Lemmon Challenge

I love the scenes in movies and the chapters in books when the hero is training and developing and working to become great; when you see that drive and ambition to face sacrifices and to improve. You see cold early mornings and sweat and pain become results. I want to live that story. I want to climb that mountain.

The beauty of climbing is that you won’t just have one experience. There will be fierce moments of riding into a driving wind, of your lungs flaming and your quads disintegrating to cinders, and then there will be absolute calm. The longer you stay out there, the more you’ll experience. Continue Reading →

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