Lael Wilcox

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Lael Wilcox is an ultra-endurance bicycle racer who won the Trans Am Bike Race[1] in 2016, and set Tour Divide's women's course record on an individual time trial (ITT) in 2015.[2] She was the first American to win the Trans Am.[3][4] She also set the overall course record with her time on the Baja Divide route.


Wilcox grew up in Anchorage, Alaska. She started biking in 2008, at age 20, when she and her then boyfriend, Nicholas Carman, decided to tour the world. Working stints to collect money, the two set out on a bicycle tour of over thirty countries. They started in North America, then traveled in Eastern Europe, the middle east, and Africa, logging over 100,000 miles. In their spare time, the two, along with Lael's mother, Dawn, teach biking skills and repair bicycles for elementary school children in Anchorage. They also have a program to collect and provide donated bikes to schoolchildren.[5] Wilcox graduated from the University of Puget Sound in 2008 with degrees in natural science and French literature.[4]

Initiatives and sponsorships[edit]

Lael co-leads Anchorage GRIT[6] to get more local girls on bikes and talks about it and other programs.[7][8] In winter 2015 she co-developed the Baja Divide route[9][10] with Nicholas. In 2018 she began the Lael Rides Alaska Women's Scholarship.[11] She has general sponsorships from Specialized and Revelate Designs.[12] [13]


Lael first became interested in racing in 2014 when she and Carman were in Israel. The pair heard about and entered the Holyland Challenge, a 1000-mile unsupported race across the country. She was both the youngest rider and the only woman. She led the race by 25 miles the first day, and although she did not win the race, she was firmly focused on endurance racing.[14]

Trans Am[edit]

In 2016, Wilcox participated in the 4,400 mile Trans Am Bike Race that crosses the United States from west to east. As a small woman dressed in non-cycling clothes and with very little road-racing experience, she was not expected to compete, much less win. She averaged 235 miles per day for 18 days, averaging less than 5 hours of sleep per night. On the final morning, she trailed Steffen Streich by 40 miles. That morning, Streich awoke and mistakenly started riding west. Wilcox met Streich in Bumpass, Virginia. Streich suggested they ride to the finish together, and Wilcox responded, "This is a race"[15] and sprinted the final 130 miles to the coast to become the first woman and the first American to win the race. Wilcox sprinted the final hours to win the race in 18 days and ten minutes.[3]

Tour Divide[edit]

In 2015, Wilcox, still considered relatively inexperienced at road racing, broke the women's record on the Tour Divide by more than two days. She covered the 2,745 mile race in 17 days, 1 hour and 51 minutes in spite of stopping off for an emergency room visit due to a respiratory infection.[16]

Baja Divide[edit]

In 2015, Wilcox set the women's record for the fastest time on the Baja Divide route, which runs from San Diego, California through San Jose del Cabo and on to La Paz, Mexico. In 2017, she broke the men's record as well.[17]

Navad 1000[edit]

In 2018, Wilcox became only the second female to complete Switzerland's Navad 1000 bikepacking race, finishing in second place. The race features 627 miles distance and 99,770 feet of climbing.[18] Lael's race was commemorated in the film I'm Not Stopping produced by Rugile Kaladyte.[19]


  1. ^ Shilton, AC (1 February 2018). "6 Myths About Women's Cycling That Need to Die". Retrieved 2 February 2018.
  2. ^ "Lael Wilcox completes Tour Divide ITT in 15:10:59". August 24, 2015.
  3. ^ a b Watts, Logan (24 June 2016). "LAEL WILCOX: A TRANS AM GEAR LIST AND POST-RACE Q&A". Retrieved 2 February 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Grit". University of Puget Sound. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  5. ^ "What dozens of cyclists did for these 3rd-graders". 26 April 2016. Retrieved 2 February 2018.
  6. ^ "Anchorage GRIT". Anchorage GRIT. Retrieved 2019-01-12.
  7. ^ "PLPTalks – Lael Wilcox – The Path Less Pedaled". Retrieved 2019-01-12.
  8. ^ AdventureCycling, Lael Wilcox at Adventure Cycling's Montana Bicycle Celebration 2016, retrieved 2019-01-12
  9. ^ "History". Baja Divide. 2016-08-18. Retrieved 2019-01-12.
  10. ^ Bombtrack Bicycle Co., Tales On Tyres: Riding The Baja Divide, retrieved 2019-01-12
  11. ^ laelwilcox (2018-02-01). "Lael Rides Alaska Women's Scholarship". lael's globe of adventure. Retrieved 2019-01-12.
  12. ^ Braverman, Blair (2019-01-11). "Lael Wilcox Is the Best. Why Does Anyone Else Bother?". Bicycling. Retrieved 2019-01-12.
  13. ^ "Ambassadors | Revelate Designs LLC". Retrieved 2020-07-02.
  14. ^ Huntsberry, Will (5 January 2018). "High Miles And Heartbreak: A Story Of Ultra Endurance Cycling". Retrieved 2 February 2018.
  15. ^ Townsend, Lori (23 June 2016). "Anchorage woman wins Trans Am bike race; first woman, first American to do so". Retrieved 2 February 2018.
  16. ^ Gulley, Aaron (8 July 2015). "How Lael Wilcox Crushed the Tour Divide". Retrieved 2 February 2018.
  17. ^ "Lael Wilcox Establishes Baja Divide FKT in 11:13:02". 15 March 2017. Retrieved 2 February 2018.
  18. ^ "divide and conquer LAEL WILCOX PLOTS HER NEXT COURSE". 21 September 2018. Retrieved 18 December 2018.
  19. ^ "The new film, "I'm Not Stopping," follows Lael Wilcox as she races the Navad 1000 across Switzerland. Watch it here, plus find a nice gallery of photos from the race by Rugile Kaladyte…". Retrieved 18 December 2018.