Lael Wilcox is an Alaskan woman who has become a rock star in the ultra-endurance sport of bike packing——multi-day long distance races. She rode the 2700 mile Tour Divide mountain bike race along the Continental Divide from Banff to the Mexican border in 2015 and set the womens’ court record. She rode the 4400 mile Trans am in 2016 and became the first woman, and first American, to win the race. In 2018 she rode the Navad 1000, a 1000-km ride across Switzerland from Romanshorn on the Bodensee to Montreux on Lac Leman. The course goes through the Alps and had 30,000 meters of climbing. She rode without stopping to sleep and finished in under 5 days, second place. Both she and the winner beat the previous course record. That averages out to around 20,000 feet of climbing each day—-almost like ascending Denali every day for 5 days in a row, as she says in the film. The riders are not allowed to accept support from friends or family on the way, although they can purchase food on the way, and even stop to sleep overnight if they wish.
If you have been in the Swiss Alps, or to Montreux, it is fun to watch and try to identify places one has been (although I could not be sure about my ID’s around Grindelwald). If you haven’t been, maybe this will be more inspiration to go. The finish is at the statue of Freddy Mercury in Montreux. As is typical of bike packing races, there is no finish line, no podium, no award ceremony; just the friends or family you invite to greete you at the finish and celebrate your accomplishment.