The Trans American Bike Race (TABR) launched on Saturday morning, June 4th. From Oregon to Virginia, the Trans Am is the hardest unsupported road race in the US. At 4400 miles, it’s twice as long as the Tour de France.
Day 5: Just another day as usua… whoah there. Just a minute. I was appreciating what I expected would be a predictable slugfest between our two protagonists at the front of the race. But the Trans Am Race is strange beast. We begin with a familiar pas de deux between Sarah Hammond and Steffan Streich, one with a meager nightly break and the other with a more languorous approach to overnighting. Sarah starts the day and establishes a 30 mile lead on Steffan, rolling out early in mild Montana weather. At the town of Wisdom, Sarah made a wrong left turn and headed off the red line for five hours (much nervous handwringing by dot-watchers) ultimately she would give back 75 miles Streich.
Turning our attention to the still hotly contested 3rd place on the road, it becomes evident that with today’s yoyo-ing that the leaders are only a stone throw away and really it’s still anyone’s game – Sarah’s now only 50 miles in front of them. Mostly, Lael Wilcox, Kai Edel and Evan Deutsch, are riding within a few miles of each other. Lael held the morning lead but relinquished to Kai who is faster rider than the other two. There is a 70+ mile buffer between these three and the rest of the top 10.
Currently on the Worried List is Lee Fancourt, who had been having some problems with the early heat which was manifesting in a complicated panoply of gastro and eating issues. He’s been stopped in Lolo pass in the middle of nowhere for 22+ hours. Also, westbound rider Ellis Dudley has checked into the hospital. [Ellis updated recently that it was an achilles tendon issue, exacerbated by Appalachian climbing. Still in it though?]
In the Rehab section: Laura Scott, who got ko’ed back in the early miles of Oregon remounted and is rocketing up the leader board. She’s up a few places day on day. Also, Rider Amy Williams’ bike was stolen while at a cafe in Oregon, the other day. Amy’s sister and friends of Amy are running a Go-Fund-Me to get her a new bike so that she can pick-up and rejoin the race further down the line. Fund Amy at: https://www.gofundme.com/28bnftv8
LATE: Martin Walker has just scratched.
ASIDE: The question of tele-doping in the desire to call/text Sarah Hammond after her famous turn at Wisdom, MT came up. On the surface of things, it’s clearly illegal in terms of the race. However with riders having ready access to friends and family watching them go off course and the ability to text or call them… it’s a difficult position to be in. Why wouldn’t a rider answer a text or call from a loved one? Should the riders be asked to submit call and text logs at the end of the race? The issue isn’t whether or not it’s right or wrong but that it’s so easy for it to come up that I wonder how much it’s been anticipated? Is this any different than people posting online for where to get replacement parts? Or offers to help fund broken parts to get riders back in the race? it’s a thin line. Curious problem.
BONUS: 2015 rider Felix Wong is doing an AMA tonight on his experience in last year’s race: https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/4n83fm/i_am_felix_wong_last_years_8th_place_finisher_of/
For additional information about the Trans Am race visit them at: Trans Am site