Crisscrossing the Continental Divide for 2,750 miles between Banff in the Canadian Rockies and Antelope Wells on the Mexican border, the Great Divide is one the world’s most iconic long distance mountain biking routes. On this sky high trail, there’s no such thing as a regular ride. But even by ultra cycling standards, Lael Wilcox’s history on the route is a colourful one.
In 2015, Lael raced the Tour Divide – an event that follows the route – and set a new women’s course record despite having to ride herself to an emergency room en route to deal with a persistent breathing issue. But rather than celebrating her achievement, Lael set out to better it. Just two weeks later, she rode to the start from her home in Alaska, took on the trail for a second time and lowered her own record by another day and a half.
Today, the outright course record is held by the late long-distance legend Mike Hall, whose time of 13 days 22 hours and 51 minutes has stood since 2016. Inspired by Mike’s methodical approach to managing the mileage but convinced she can beat the record, Lael is returning the Rockies with unfinished business. In the latest episode of Rapha Gone Racing, we document her latest record attempt and follow her as she runs into issues much bigger than any bike ride.
Welcome to the world’s toughest mountain bike race. Over seven stages and a prologue, on sinuous single track and dusty farm roads, under glaring South African sun and the odd sudden downpour, the Cape Epic always crowns a worthy winner. Two, in fact, since riders race in pairs. But we know all this… We’ve been here before, and 18 months after the pandemic put paid to our first appearance at the Cape Epic, Rapha Gone Racing returns for a second attempt. But so much has changed since last time. For a start, none of Lachlan Morton’s regular teammates could make it to this race so the team has reached out for reinforcements. And in Kenya’s Kenneth Karaya, they’ve uncovered a gem. This will be the biggest race of his life so far but in Lachlan Morton, he has the perfect partner for keeping things in perspective. After all, racing is never all about results. Tune into Rapha Gone Racing from the Cape Epic to find out how they fared.
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