This year Aussie Jesse Carlsson took part in the kind of endurance cycling event that would surely rival the challenges, battles and mind games of a Grand Tour.
...And he won it.
The Trans Am is a 6,800km cycling odyssey that follows an established touring route through the U.S, from Oregon in the West to Virginia in the East.
The route traverses ten US states, covering mountains, flat time trials over plains and finishes with a tidy 2000km of power climbs, just to really test the mettle.
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For 18 days Jesse raced against the clock and other competitors, carrying only what he needed to survive. Extra cycling apparel was a luxury, not a necessity, so his single Rapha kit was chosen with care. Incidentally, Jesse decided against washing it upon completion of the event – BikeExchange saw the real deal at a recent Rapha event. Let’s just say we kept our distance, just in case…
That low maintenance attitude extended also to meal times, with Jesse just having to make do with whatever presented itself at whatever town into which he ventured. Even in the US, a country known for its generous portion serves, Jesse couldn’t physically eat enough to replace the energy he was burning, so his body began to consume its own muscle as well.
Still – he revelled in the challenge. He reckons he had a look in his eye that made locals realise he was a man who needed help. All along the way he was met by welcoming, generous Americans who were keen to assist however they could.
Despite the struggles he faced with recovery and returning to ‘normal’ life, Jesse is gunning for more. He’s got his eye on more mountain biking – possibly the Arizona Trail Race, which includes a 40km hike through the Grand Canyon that requires riders to carry their bike on their backs.
In Jesse’s mind, these races just provide a great opportunity to get out and explore the world on a bike. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it suits him down to the ground.