Fact file

Start Date:
Saturday, June 2, 2018 7:00 AM
Marcel Graber (velomobil),

Dotwatcher on the ground

Tim Miller, a serial dotwatcher turned trail angel, spent last night on the roadside with Simone Bailey and Keith Rahn. Both hovering around Charlottesville with roughly 320km to go, the riders have each suffered race-altering mechanicals but are continuing to push on.

Here’s Tim’s recent Facebook post to the Trans Am page, after witnessing first-hand what it takes to complete a race of this scale:


The clock hasn’t stopped

Although the race has been won, there’s still many more riders making their way to Yorktown. Eleven names now make up the finish list, with the most recent addition being New Zealander Drew Hartstone in a time of 22 days, 3 hours and 47 minutes.


Eight more riders look like they'll make it to the finish line today, pushing the total up to 19 – roughly one third of the active field.

The Wrap Up: Trans Am 2018

The last two and a half weeks have been monumentally thrilling for both the riders and spectators of the Trans Am Bike Race. From broken bikes and lost racers, to controversial ‘HPV’s and outrageous paces – here’s a look back at the past 19 days of competitive continent crossing:

On 2nd June, 114 riders lined up at dawn in Astoria, Oregon, for the fifth instalment of the #TABR. Facing east, all that separated them from their end destination of Yorktown was 6,900km – the width of North America.


Last year’s winner-turned-insightful-race-commentator Evan Deutsch began posting his musings to the TABR Facebook page, kicking things off with this day 1 analysis.

After the first few days of any long distance event, routines and tactics settle in and start to make their mark on the leader board. On day 4, Peter Andersen made his first appearance in the top ten – where he’d stay for the next 12 days.

Austrian female Tanja Hacker’s race was going incredibly well until a 10-hour layover at the summit of Lolo Pass caused some concern with racers and dot watchers alike. After a long rest she rejoined the race, but disaster wasn’t far away when, taking a wrong turn near Wisdom, Montana, Tanja became lost and would spend the next 17 hours off course.

Screen Shot 2018-06-07 at 18.11.18

One week in, leading British rider Darren Franks suffered the mechanical issue from hell: a broken frame. Unfortunately, this would spell the end of his race – but Darren fought on to acquire a new bike and complete the final section of the course.

On day 9, Marcel Graber and his controversial velomobile moved into first position – which he'd hold for the remainder of the race.

Now behind Marcel and his recumbent machine, Newton Bike Shop at #Mile2588 in Kansas (just over half way) was prepping itself for a steady stream of bikepackers rolling through its doors in need of food, a bed, spare parts, or all of the above.

Collisions with vehicles have plagued this year’s race, with four incidents in total, and three in Kansas. We send our very best wishes to everyone involved, and speedy recoveries for all. It does appear that these tragic circumstances have stimulated positive conversations however, with the director of the Adventure Cycling Association promising to push for safer conditions.

The flat plains of the Mid West were also the proving ground of the velomobile’s ability at long-distance racing, and last year’s winner Evan weighed in on the mounting discussion:

“…The caloric intake is absurd. The fact that you are racing through towns and meeting people that have no idea a bike can travel more than 20 miles per day is absurd. Riding through 100 + degree heat and snow in the same race is absurd. Adding some Velomobiles to the mix and seeing how it plays out is just adding to the absurdity. No one's livelihood is at stake. Remember this race is simultaneously the most important thing you are doing in your life at that very moment, yet pales in comparison to some of the true adversity of what some people are facing.”

For the next six days, Marcel maintained a tight grip on his lead (and his ferocious pace) until his record-breaking arrival in Yorktown. Positions swapped hands behind him, but his performance was unequivocal.

MarcelFinish2 DavidLynch

This finish line picture and its distinct lack of fanfare sums up the nature of bikepacking races perfectly: there’s no crowds, no award ceremony, and no prize money. It’s a solo endeavour from beginning to end, and a sport that rewards only in experience and adventure. Keep watching the dots.

Top five fills out

Indiana Shultz has made it to Yorktown in third place. Greeted by pizza at the monument, his final time was an impressive 17 days, 15 hours, and 25 minutes – just six hours more than last year’s winning time.


Five hours later, Dave Lewis and his velomobile arrived in fourth place, captured here by race winner and fellow recumbent pilot Marcel:


Kraig Pauli is 300km away, and should complete the top five rider list late tonight. Beyond him, there’s a gap of almost 900km – right back to the Breaks Interstate Park checkpoint – where Donncha Cuttriss, Jason Oestreicher, and Tim Tait are all pushing on towards the last leg of the race.


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