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How This Woman Rides 20,000 Miles a Year on Her Bike | WIRED

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Ultra-endurance bicycle racer Lael Wilcox puts more miles on her bike every year than most people do on their cars. Here's how she trains for and rides some of the toughest races on earth.
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How This Woman Rides 20,000 Miles a Year on Her Bike | WIRED


my name is Leo Wilcox from Anchorage Alaska and I'm a bike rider but Lael isn't just any bike rider she rides a lot for the past three years I've ridden 20,000 miles each year that's right every year she puts more miles on her bike than most people do on their cars which is pretty insane think about it.

This way the circumference of the earth is 24,000 901 miles around so for each of the last three years lael has nearly written around the globe sometimes it can be painful writing that much writing that much is never boring for me I'm not sure if I feel obsessed with riding miles I just wake up in the morning and that's what I want to do you know the other way you could look at is.

People are obsessed with their work they wake up and they go to work and they want to go to work I guess I wake up and I want to ride my bike leo is an ultra endurance bike racer and she's one of the best I started racing about three years ago my first race was a 400 mile road race a friend put me up to it I signed up three days before and I won the race unexpected I was borrowing my.

Mom's road bike and I just never really got tired I rode through the night and I actually picked up my pace as I finished she sense ridden some of the longest and toughest races like the 2015 tour Divide which runs 2,750 miles along the spine of the Rockies to started I actually rode from Anchorage down to Banff Alberta to the start no big deal she only added on an extra 2,100 miles that.

Year leo clocked a new record for women 17 days one hour and 51 minutes but she thought she could do better so later that summer she rode back to Banff and retraced the route finishing in 15 days 10 hours and 59 minutes she was just getting started the next year she raced across the country again from west to east as a trans America bike race from Oregon to Virginia 4,400 miles and I won.

The overall race men and women I caught the leader in the final and beat him to the finish it took me 18 days yeah I mean I just stay on the bike that's how I win but I'm just pretty relentless and not wanting to waste time that's because these races are completely unsupported there are no team vans no catered meals no massages so you're basically on your own to win lael.

Pretty much never stops riding she keeps everything she needs packed in bags all over her bike extra socks long johns sleeping bag she says she'll be here is the rainfly for my tent food jar of peanut butter snacks and coffee and essentials bike tool dental floss toothbrush toothpaste and spoon my wallet but Lael doesn't carry shampoo because showering is a wasted time in a.

Race the longest I've gone without a shower 17 days and my hair was like one single dreadlock and I went into a gas station in Montana I'd taken my helmet off and I went up to buy my three breakfast burritos and two gallons of chocolate milk or whatever I was eating and the woman was like hon you really got that windswept look sticking straight up so from that point on I did.

Not take my helmet off in public it's just what you do if you want to win I'm very good at conserving time I also don't need to sleep that much and that's another part of these races most people sleep four or five hours max did everybody's body's gonna hurt things are gonna go wrong not every moments gonna be fun but you are gonna see a lot of beautiful things along the way now Leila.

Is preparing for a new series of challenges including a thousand mile race across Switzerland and another in Kyrgyzstan and when she's not racing she's still riding she guides cycling camps she established a new route in Mexico's Baja Peninsula and then there's her personal project to ride every road in her home state my summer project has been riding.

All the major roads in Alaska and I'm almost finished at this point I think I've probably written about forty to forty three hundred miles I probably have another 500 to go lil knows most people don't entirely understand her love of peddling but that doesn't bother her well they do think it's crazy yeah I'm not recommending other people ride this.

Much and not telling everybody they should do what I do I just do it because I want to racing I'm driven to to do my best to try to win but otherwise I just want to be out there


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