The Giro d’Italia has ended and cycling teams are preparing for the Tour de France. But the race that inspires me is the Trans Am Bike Race — a 4,300-mile cross-country self-supported road race.
On Saturday in Astoria, Oregon, 128 riders took off on the famous Trans America route charted by Adventure Cycling Association (3 left from Yorktown heading west).
There are no teams, no support crews or sag wagons, no drafting and no host cities or food stops. It’s every rider for himself or herself.
The No. 1 rule — “No complaining about the rules.”
How to follow the race
As you can see from this video posted at the Trans Am Bike Race Facebook page, the style of touring equipment ranges from ultralight to kitchen sink; speed to comfort.
How difficult is this race? You can see two people dump their bikes in the first 25 feet, although maybe that’s attributable to nerves or the early hour.
There are no motorcycle cams following the racers. Each bicycle is outfitted with a satellite tracker, with real-time results on the Trans Am track leaders web page.
As I write this, Andrew Suzuki leads the course by 24 miles in the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. The 128 cyclists are already spread out over nearly 400 miles of Oregon roads enroute to Yorktown, VA.; 3 appear to have started in Yorktown and are heading west.
This is the fourth Trans Am, with about double the number of entries over last year. Endurance specialist Lael Wilcox won the race last year in 18 days and 10 minutes, crushing the women’s record and posting the second fastest Trans Am finish overall.
The first Trans Am bike race is documented in the film, Inspired to Ride. I know I’m inspired. Good luck to all of this year’s riders.