The leader of the unsupported Trans America Bike Race crossed into Virginia Sunday morning, just 15 days after setting off from Astoria, Oregon.
This is the last leg of the race for Mike Hall, 33, of Harrogate, UK. He still has to cross a series of Appalachian hills and valleys on the Trans America Bicycle Route before reaching the finish in Yorktown, Virginia.
His closest rival, Canada’s Jason Lane, was trailing by 117 miles in the midst of the rugged Cumberland Mountains of eastern Kentucky.
They are among the men and women (now numbering 44) who set off from Astoria, Oregon, on the first-ever unsupported cross-country 4,233-mile bicycle race. Participants are not allowed to receive any support that isn’t available to the other races. That means carrying their own gear, changing their own flats, and finding they own places to eat and sleep. Drafting and short cuts are not allowed.
Among the five women who started the race, Juliana Buhring of Italy leads the group. She’s in 4th place overall, and this morning finds her in the vicinity of Carbondale, Illinois. She trails 3rd place Ed Pickup of Salisbury, UK, by 236 miles.
Among the active participants, 73-year-old Thomas Camero of Hood River, Oregon, appears to be approaching a landmark himself today as he nears the Snake River crossing to enter Idaho. As the oldest participant, Camero said at the beginning that he’s making the tour to finish, not to win. He predicted it would take him at least 60 days.
With Camero still in Oregon, that means race participants are spread out in every state along the course — Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky and Virginia.
Although the participants aren’t allowed to get help not available to other cyclists, that doesn’t mean they can get assistance. To that end, the owners of the Newton Bike Shop in Newton, Kansas, have said they’ll remain open 24 hours a day to any Trans Am participant who might be heading through town.
For instance, they were waiting up for Billy Rice when he arrived at 12:30 Sunday morning.
You can follow the blue and pink dots representing the racers at Trackleaders.com. The riders are occasionally posting phone messages at MTBCast.com. The Newton Bike Shop is posting pictures and video of the cyclists’ arrivals at their Facebook page.
The film crew for the upcoming documentary, Inspired to Ride, also is posting photos from some riders on the course. They’re hosting a contest to pick the winning time for the arrival in Yorktown, VA.