Spotted on Strava: Racing Across America, Final Tour Prep + Nepalese First Ascent


Lucas Clarke and Colin O'Brady at the finish line of RAAM. Photography by: Lucas Clarke

Not one, but two bike races across America saw the first competitors reach the finish line, the pros put in their final preparation for the Tour de France, and in Nepal we witnessed a first ascent. Yes, there was a lot to spot on Strava this week.

Races across America can sometimes be like London buses. You can wait for ages for one to happen, then two finish within a few days of one another. As we mentioned last week, for many of the riders the 4,184 mile / 6,735 km Trans America Bike Race is still going... but not all. After 19 days 8hrs 50mins, Artie Carpenter became the first person to reach the Virginia coastline and finish the race. Not long after, Pierre Cautin (20 days 14hrs 48mins) also crossed the fabled finish line. Hopefully the pair of them are enjoying a well-earned break after completing this Herculean challenge.

A few States North on the East Coast of the USA, a relative of the Trans Am was also wrapping up with a new record set at RAAM (Race Across America). Lucas Clarke teamed up with Colin O'Brady to tackle the 3,064 mile / 4,931 km route in the two-man time trial and took a massive five hours off the previous record. The pair rode in 90-minute stints, averaging 20.3 mph throughout the race, and completed the ride in 6 days 6hrs 43mins.

From the conclusion of two of the world's toughest bike races to the start of the world's most famous, it's safe to say that everyone has their own way of finalizing their preparations for the Tour de France. Wout van Aert, for instance, took part in the Belgian Road Nationals, while Tom Pidcock was busy winning the Mountain Bike World Cup race in Crans-Montana. However the cyclists decided to make their final preparations before Saturday's Grand Départ, Matteo Jorgenson summed up the mood perfectly:

Hopping off the bike for a moment, plenty of two-footed action caught our attention over the past week. Alexandre Boucheix (a.k.a Casquette Verte) won the grueling Ultra 01; Torin Clarke set a new FKT for the Boston Walking City Trail; and Miche Palmer and Reed Williams set a new FKT for the portion of the Appalachian Trail that runs through Connecticut.

And, finally, that first ascent. Over in Nepal Symon Welfringer and Charles Dubouloz completed a remarkable climb of the West face of Hungchi. The 23,061 ft / 7,029 m mountain, which straddles Nepal and Tibet, threw numerous technical and physical challenges at the pair during the three-day climb. They reached the summit at 1:30 pm on May 18, before encountering multiple challenges on a difficult descent via Hungchi's East Face.

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