Trans Am Bike Race

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Bikecentennial Route

The Trans Am Bike Race (TABR) is an annual, self-supported, ultra-distance cycling race across the United States. The route is about 4,200 miles (6,800 km) long and uses the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail that was developed by the Adventure Cycling Association for the Bikecentennial event in 1976.[1] The route runs from the Pacific coast in Astoria, Oregon to the Atlantic coast in Yorktown, Virginia, passing through ten states. The inaugural race was in 2014, which 25 people completed, the fastest of whom took less than 18 days.

It is not a stage race, the clock never stops from the moment the riders leave the start to the moment that they reach the finish, so it is a long individual time trial. Riders must therefore strategically choose how much time to devote to riding, resting, and refueling each day. Being self-supported or unsupported means that drafting is not allowed, receiving any form of support from other racers, friends, or family is not allowed; all food, accommodation, repairs, etc., must be purchased from commercial sources.[1]

Organization and following the race[edit]

Trans Am Bike Race 2015 start

The race's founder and main organizer is Nathan "NMFJ" Jones, who also participated in the 2014 event, finishing in 13th place, and rode the Tour Divide mountain bike race in 2010 and 2011.[2]

Rider positions are monitored using GPS satellite-based tracker devices mounted on participants' bikes that upload their positions to the Trackleaders website for the participants and followers to view. Many participants also update followers on their progress using social media websites.[3]

Newton Bike Shop in Newton, Kansas is situated shortly after the halfway point. The shop offers their services to all participants at any time of the day or night, including the use of a hostel-style bunk room, kitchen, and bike repair service.[4][5] In 2015, they put a live stream from a wall-mounted webcam online so that people could watch racers arrive and see a brief interview with each of them.

A feature-length documentary, called Inspired to Ride was made about the inaugural edition, in 2014. The focus of the film was on the male and female winners, Mike Hall and Juliana Buhring, but many of the other racers were also featured, including the actor Brian Steele. The film was made by many of the same people who were involved in the Ride The Divide movie about the similar Tour Divide mountain bike race, including Mike Dion and Hunter Weeks.[6]

Rules and results[edit]

Rules are listed on the official website. The idea of self-supported or unsupported bicycle racing is a key component, and any type of bicycle is allowed, including recumbent bicycles.[7]

The main results are summarized in the table below. It is notable that only two women had completed the race, both in 2014, before Lael Wilcox won the 2016 edition with a come from behind finish to overtake the long-standing leader, Steffen Streich in the final day. In 2016, there was a new pairs category and participants were able to ride the route in either direction (west to east or east to west).[8]

Year Starters Finishers 1st (time) 2nd 3rd 1st female (time)
2014[9][10] 45 25 Mike Hall United Kingdom (17d 16h) Jason Lane Canada Edward Pickup United Kingdom Juliana Buhring (20d 23h)
2015[9][11] 41 24 Jesse Carlsson Australia (18d 23h) Evan Deutsch United States & Kim Raeymaekers Belgium (equal 2nd) none finished
2016 Eastbound[9] 58 45 Lael Wilcox United States (18d 0h 10m)[12] Steffen Streich Greece Evan Deutsch United States Lael Wilcox (18d 0h 10m)
2016 Westbound 8 6 Jason Marshall United States (26d 15h 03m) Thomas Lambolais France Terry Roe & Ken Simpson (pair) United States Adi Coventry-Brown New Zealand (37d 11h 31m)
2017 Eastbound 132 [13] 62 [14] Evan Deutsch United States (17d 9h 8m)[15] Jon Lester United States [16] Janie Hayes United States [17] Janie Hayes United States [17]
2018 Eastbound Marcel Graber Switzerland (16d 6h 40m) [18] Peter Andersen United States (16d 20h 41m) [18] Indiana Schulz United States (17d 15h 25m)

Similar races[edit]

This form of ultra-distance, unsupported bike racing first became popular with the Tour Divide mountain bike race, which was first held as a mass-start event in 2008. The Tour Divide starts in Alberta, Canada, follows the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route through the USA and finishes at the Mexican border in New Mexico. The Transcontinental Race started in 2013 and is the event that is most similar to the Trans Am Bike Race because it is on paved roads; however, that route varies every year with different start and finish locations being used and riders must choose their own route while visiting certain checkpoints. Similarly the Indian Pacific Wheel Race (IndyPac) was first held in 2017, racing across Australia, from the Freemantle Lighthouse, Perth, to the Opera House, Sydney.

The BikingMan race series, bring athletes across the Andes Cordillera of Peru with IncaDivide race, in the Hajar mountains of Oman with BikingMan Oman and around Corsica. BikingMan races are self-supported but every athlete gets a survival map of a recommended route and can rest at the base camps of the checkpoints.

The self-supported nature of the TABR makes it very different from supported ultra-distance events like the Race Across America (RAAM), in which each racer has a large support crew with multiple vehicles. All such support is prohibited in the TABR and similar races that are described as self-supported or unsupported. Ultra-distance audax and randonneuring cycling events are somewhat similar except that drafting is allowed in those and the organizers often provide support at the control points.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Beltchenko, Neil. "2014 Trans Am Race". Bikepackers Magazine. Retrieved 2 January 2016. 
  2. ^ Beltchenko, Neil. "Nathan Jones". Bikepackers Magazine. Retrieved 2 January 2016. 
  3. ^ "Inaugural TransAm Bike Race". Adventure Cycling Association. Retrieved 2 January 2016. 
  4. ^ Nugent, Wendy. "An oasis in the grass". Newton Now. Kansas Publishing Ventures. Retrieved 2 January 2016. 
  5. ^ "Welcome Trans Am racers". Newton Bike Shop. Retrieved 2 January 2016. 
  6. ^ Ackerman, Michael. "Color me inspired". Bikepackers Magazine. Retrieved 2 January 2016. 
  7. ^ "Rules". Trans Am Bike Race. Retrieved 2 January 2016. 
  8. ^ "2016 Inquiry". Trans Am Bike Race. Retrieved 2 January 2016. 
  9. ^ a b c "Results". Trans Am Bike Race. Retrieved 2 January 2016. 
  10. ^ John, Timothy. "Adventurous spirits: Mike Hall, Ed Pickup, and the Trans Am bike race". Road Cycling UK. MPORA Pure Action Sports. Retrieved 2 January 2016. 
  11. ^ Crowley, Liam. "Jesse Carlsson races to victory in the Trans Am". CyclingTips. Wallace Media Pty Ltd. Retrieved 2 January 2016. 
  12. ^ "2016 Trans Am Trackleaders leaderboard". Trackleaders. Retrieved 22 June 2016. 
  13. ^ "Trans Am Bike Race 2017 Live Tracker". Retrieved 19 December 2017. 
  14. ^ "Trans Am Bike Race 2017 Live Tracker". Retrieved 19 December 2017. 
  15. ^ "New Course Record". Facebook. Retrieved 20 June 2017. 
  16. ^ "Jon Lester Of Three Lakes Finishes Second In Trans Am Race". Retrieved 19 December 2017. 
  17. ^ a b "Janie Hayes finishes third over all in Trans Am Bike Race across America". Retrieved 19 December 2017. 
  18. ^ a b Giuliani, Simone. "PHOTO GALLERY: BREAKING RECORDS AT THE 2018 TRANS AM ULTRA-ENDURANCE RACE". CyclingTips. Retrieved 27 June 2018. 

External links[edit]