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I’m Not Stopping – Lael Wilcox Races the Navad 1000 Across Switzerland

I’m Not Stopping – Lael Wilcox Races the Navad 1000 Across Switzerland

[phone audio] “You know for the most part I’ve felt good. “I only had a low…yesterday.” “I wonder those guys are gonna get it today ?” “I think it’s just the combination of really hard day before and then just a ton of climbing.” The Nevad 1000,
it’s a pretty crazy thing. It’s a backpacking adventure. A backpacking event. That crosses the whole country, Switzerland, that in this particular event here, the 1000 kilometers
is not the problem. You can do it. Just takes a couple of days for some guys a couple of days more. But the real, the big challenge is the climbing. It’s a bit over 30,000 vertical meters of climbing, and if you’re not fit it’s a pain. So it’s that simple. “Lael?!” GO! The current record is
5 days and 5 hours, so I think there are at least I don’t know four or five of us trying to beat that record. You know, there’s a lot of steep steep riding
both directions up and down on this course and that’s really tough. After a while it’s just you can hardly get up it. You’re not moving any faster
than walking pace. Which is kind of sad. [laughing] The breakdown of climbing I think to beat the record is 20,000 feet per day. For five days. I mean, that’s almost going up Denali on a bike every single day for five days, you know? [phone audio] “I feel pretty good. I don’t feel tired. So that’s good. Still pretty early in the race though. But, feels good to be over 400k in, you know. Once I get to Finsterwald, that’s the half-way point.” Well, I should change. [church bells and horn playing] No way! And I look over and this guy has this Alp Horn and he’s just playing it in celebration and he’s just this really funny guy.
He lives in Finsterwald he’s always cheering for people even
when they’re just on training rides. And then I hear later in the race that he was on his balcony played the trumpet when other riders cam in. [laughs] And Willi said one time one guy was
riding up and he pulls out his trumpet and starts playing and and then the guy’s wife says, “That guy doesn’t have any bags on his bike. He’s not in the race!” So, he had to put his trumpet away. A really special feeling where you’re like you have the road to yourself but there’s no danger in it. You feel like it’s warm out, you’re comfortable,
there’s no traffic, you have good lighting, that night I can see the moon. I can see the reflection off the lake, and it was just like, “Wow I’m out here and I’m actually feeling good this is really cool!” I’m not tired. I don’t want to go to bed and I’m covering distance, and um And at that point too – I knew that
Stefan was sleeping somewhere and I was like, huh, I’m kind of getting away from him and he’s sleeping. But you know the thing is sleep is always good too because you know you’re getting something really good for yourself, but to be like breaking away from someone while they’re sleeping it feels like almost kind of a trick. [laughing] Like, they’re sleeping and you’re just moving. [phone audio] Seven and a half hours in three nights. Seven and a half hours in three nights. And the total amount of climbing, this is just insane. He’s so funny. He does stuff like he’s not carrying anything, so he’ll just ask people for stuff all the time. Like he’s asked an old guy to lube his chain for him. He called out a farmer and he was like, “Hey can I buy some milk?” And the guy just put milk into his bottle. So funny. He’s a character. I mean people from all over the world
were following this little race in Switzerland. I mean there were only 40 people that entered the race. There were really only two of us that were up front and people are just going crazy about it. Because they wanted to see what we were gonna do. I mean I wasn’t sleeping. I was riding hard. Stefan was doing the same. I think it was
pretty mind-blowing for people to see this level of competition
and the amount of deprivation. You know, it’s like you’re out there riding you’re not stopping. You’re only eating whatever you find on the road. You’re not stopping to
eat. You’re hardly sleeping. You’re not showering. You’re wearing the same clothes. And really anything could happen out there, and I think people are fascinated by kind of what we were attacking. Which was pretty fun. I mean, God that I hit this at this time of day. This weather? [phone audio]
I’m already so,
kind of diminished that I think I would just snap. So I’m being really cautious on the descents because I don’t want to fall. You know it’s like when you’re healthy you can kind of take a hit, but I’m not. I’m just being really cautious about not falling… It’s like, these kind of out of shape dudes are kicking my ass up the hill. Like, “Oh my God this is the worst thing!” [laughing] Oh man, this kid just burned past me e-bike last night. I was like, “Holy!” Where am I at? I got 900k…” We have really really cool finish. I think we
have one of the coolest finish of all the bikepacking events around this globe. We finish right at the statue of Freddie Mercury. He’s very reliable. He stands there all the time.
He waits for the last guy. He’s greeting everybody and it’s an ongoing
joke when you pass a guy in the race the guy that gets dropped says hey, “Please tell Freddie I’m coming too. A little later.” I think about 50K to go and and then Stefan told me that Christoph was coming behind me and
so then I really kicked it into high gear. I was like, “Oh, no way I’m not getting third.
I can’t let that guy catch me!” How are you? I am exhausted. I’m so happy to be finished. It’s really hot. I’m gonna jump in the lake. I tried really hard. [laughing] I tried as hard as I could. I definitely overdid it. Thank you. I will.

78 comments on “I’m Not Stopping – Lael Wilcox Races the Navad 1000 Across Switzerland

  1. Beautiful video Rugile! The views looked amazing and I was shocked when I saw how much climbing there was! Great job on beating the record Lael!

  2. What a great video. I've been following Lael and her riding for a few years now and her positive attitude and contagious laughter have been such a heart warming consistency. This race in particular is simply mind blowing. Endless congratulations to her and all of the finishers. What a beautiful route. I really can't wait to see what Lael does next, every time I turn around she's blowing my mind and inspiring bigger rides. And her choice to stick with PI and specialized rings very true to my own #bikestyle . I could go on forever. Just really freaking cool.

  3. Incredible, Beautiful, thank you for the inspiration and strength that You show Lael. All the Best to You today and EVERYDAY !!!

  4. This event has been the first race of any kind I've ever followed to this extent. It's so mindbogglingly insane! Excellent job! Both on the great documentary and on Laels riding. Cheers from Sweden 🙂

  5. I really enjoyed this film! Beautiful scene and a story well told, thank you! Would love it if Lael would consider coming to take on The Freedom Challenge Race Across South Africa. Think she would love it… as would most bike packing racers out there!!!!

  6. Lael always looks happy even though what she is doing is absolutely insane, "I definitely overdid it." Thank you for capturing this story Rue and you did an beautiful job – even though Switzerland's landscape definitely helped!

  7. I know how hard it is to ride 100km per day through that kind of terrain with a bike like that and she did 1000+ in 4.5 days. Well done

  8. What makes this race so INCREDIBLE is that it is just the riders and the road/trail. None of the bullshit big money, team support and commercialism. This race was a true example of the human spirit. So pure. Both Stepan and Lael- hats off to both of you as well as the other competitors.

  9. James you must be really proud of your sister. But she owes you for making you climb all the mountains

  10. Suffering can be so rewarding….the pain is sublime and gets us as close to nirvana as we can get in life.

  11. Only recently learnt about Lael and boy she is some bike racer. Wish I had her stamina and leg muscles. Well done Lael.

  12. I really cannot understand who the f*&% would hit the dislike button on this video and for what reason…sometimes human behavior really baffles me.

  13. Aw God at 13:17 I feel your pain. I had to climb a particular mountain 3 times in a row more or less to find my dog and I couldn't bend my legs the next day! Couldn't even sit on the toilet. Was walking exactly like that:) Well done.

  14. She's an extreme optimist, that's half of the reason she is so hard to beat. When everything completely sucks, she's over there saying how wonderful it all is.

  15. What an amazing adventure, she has a great attitude towards suffering.

    Its good to see that she finally went with clipless pedals.

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