Ultra Cyclist Lael Wilcox and Her Plan to Commute 3,000 Miles to the Start of the Tour Divide
May 15, 2023
ULTRA CYCLING, THE LAEL WILCOX WAY
According to the World UltraCycling Association, ultra-endurance cycling defined as “any bicycle ride that is more than 200km (125 miles) or six hours in duration.”
When it comes to ultra-cycling, Lael Wilcox is in a class of her own. She won the 4,200-mile Trans Am race outright in 2016. She set the fastest known time (FKT) on the Arizona Trail, covering 827 miles in 9 days. From the Badlands to Baja to the Balkans, she has seemingly won every ultra cycling event under the sun. (And if there was a race to the sun, she’d probably win that, too.)
This summer, Lael is riding the Tour Divide, a 2,745-mile race that stretches from Banff in Canada through the Rocky Mountains and down to the border of Mexico. But she’s doing it the Lael way... by “commuting” to the start line. Pedal by pedal, Lael is cycling from her home in Arizona, down to Mexico, then back up the west coast all the way to Banff, Canada. Then, she’s turning around riding all the way back down to Mexico on the Tour Divide.
She currently has the women’s record by over three days (15d:10h:59m – an average of over 175 miles per day.) We're not into betting, but if we were, we know who we'd pick.
Despite being a total badass on the bike, Lael would never tell you about her accolades. Her roots are in Alaska, where simply existing is enough to humble a person. She didn’t start cycling until her 20s, which she used as a commuting method. But somewhere along the way, cross-town strolls quickly turned into cross-country (and continent) treks.
Her clear talent is how she can move on the bike, but her hidden talent is the way she moves others on the bike. She created GRIT (Girls Riding Into Tomorrow), a cycling course that empowers middle school age girls to become strong cyclists and leaders. To date, the program has provided hundreds of girls with the gear, confidence, and experience to get anywhere on a bike.
Lael’s Instagram account is a work of art, a Nat Geo-esque archive of the stunning places she’s ridden (all photos and videos taken by her wife, Rugile Kaladyte.) And when she’s not racing or leading GRIT events, she’s still joining community rides, helping at her local Alaska bike shop, and strolling to the grocery store.
Riding such long distances requires a seemingly endless supply of calories. And when you’re riding through the most remote towns in the world, dining options can get a bit… scarce. Lael loves chocolate milk, Coca-Cola, and other gas station staples.
We are honored to supplement Lael’s calories on the bike with our bars. JoJé Bars are a regular contributor to her 10,000-calorie-per-day diet during long rides, and her favorite flavors are Lemon Blueberry Quinoa and White Chocolate Coconut Blondie.
To celebrate Lael’s summer full of riding, we created the first ever Lael Box! This limited-edition box contains:
- Two of each JoJé Bar flavor: Apple Walnut Cake, Espresso Chocolate Almond, Lemon Blueberry Quinoa, Pancakes and Bacon, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, and White Chocolate Coconut Blondie
- Two packets of Cola Bonk Breaker Energy Chews
- A signed Lael Card
- A custom JoJé x Lael Wilcox patch
It’s a $60 value, for $39.99 (and free shipping!)
We’re also giving away three Lael Boxes! During her trek, Lael will hand-deliver a box to one lucky winner on the way between Arizona and Canada. She’s using her favorite straps to secure the boxes (shoutout to Austere Manufacturing for providing the straps!)
To enter the giveaway, click on the link here. (Don’t live on the West Coast? Don’t sweat it! We’re selecting three winners to receive a box + straps, so as long as you live in the U.S., you can enter to win. Enter by Friday, May 26th!)