The Trans Am Bike Race begins in the city where the enormous Columbia River flows out into the Pacific Ocean, in Astoria, Oregon, and it ends where the equally enormous York River flows into the Chesapeake Bay, on the Atlantic Ocean in Yorktown, Virginia.
These are two cardinal points, but the precise distance between the two locations is questionable. Some say it’s 4175 miles, others say it’s 4200 and there are even some people who claim it’s 4300 miles. In actual fact, from the mileage perspective already, it involves a fight against the unknown.
Besides, this indeterminacy is synonymous with the Great American Adventure, which is tackled fully on one’s own strength and on one’s ability to adapt, and it is for this reason that the Trans Am Bike Race has gone beyond the limit of a legend.
This limit is deeply rooted in what Italian ultracyclists refer to as “Omar Zone”. It is apparently natural that Omar Di Felice won the 2023 edition of the Trans Am, completing the route - or rather, cycling to Yorktown from Astoria – in 18 days, 10 hours and 13 minutes.
Anything can happen between Astoria and Yorktown: any weather condition is contemplated, as is any inconvenience that needs to be dealt with - as was the case in the oldest editions of the Tour de France – by the athlete in person, without any outside help.
Similarly, the athletes can freely decide where to rest, anywhere, and nobody prohibits them from cycling - should they wish to - twenty-four hours a day, borrowing from the regulations of the legendary Six Days of New York held in the late 19th Century, which were subsequently amended due to the inhumanity of the effort.
The Trans Am Bike Race, therefore, brings together modern cycling, thanks to the latest innovations concerning materials and technology, as well as age-old cycling, which was lost in the era of pioneers of the “safety bike”.
Add to that the final blow to the race made by Omar Di Felice as he pedalled to his own very strict schedule to cross the East of the state of Missouri and climbed aboard the last available ferry to cross the Ohio River, in order to carve out a wide gap between himself and his main opponent Pawel Pulaski from Poland, then a truly ultra-modern cycling race has been transformed into a prehistoric cycling epic.
“Everything I have achieved at the Trans Am is the fruit of my willpower and my love of cycling. But, at the end of the day, there is nothing extraordinary about this. Every ultra-cyclist has mighty willpower and an extraordinary love of cycling. These qualities really make anything possible, including my victory in a race that appears unsuitable for my physical characteristics. Willpower and love can do a lot. And not just in cycling, evidently”.
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