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Evan Deutsch has won the 7,000 kilometre (4,300 mile) Trans Am ultra-endurance race, setting a new record in the process. The final point on his tracker shows he finished the journey in 17 days, 8 hours and 58 minutes, shaving over seven hours off the previous record set by Mike Hall in 2014.
This was Deutsch’s third Trans Am, with the 43 year old having already secured two third places in the self-supported race on the popular touring route from Astoria to Yorktown. He took the lead from Jon Lester around half way through the race, just as he was leaving the mountains of Colorado behind and heading onto the long flat roads of Kansas. Second place rider Lester at times got within striking distance but Deutsch held his grip on first place the rest of the race and extended his advantage in the rolling hills to the finish line. He ended up, on average, covering close to 400 kilometres a day.
However, the record ride by the American and the race as a whole has had a pall cast over it by the loss of rider Eric Fishbein who was struck by a vehicle and killed over the weekend as he rode mid-pack in Kansas. It’s the second tragedy the community has sustained this year, with ultra-endurance cycling giant Hall losing his life in the final stages of the Indian Pacific Wheel Race in March.
Lester looks set to take second place tomorrow, as at 3pm PDT on Monday he was 466 kilometres from the line. He has held his position at the top end of the field across the country, in an impressive show of staying power for a first time self-supported ultra-endurance racer.
Janie Hayes, was on track to significantly improve on last year’s ninth place, rolling toward the line in third. If she holds onto that position she will round out an all American top three.
At times during the race Hayes also looked as if she was set to threaten the women’s record set be Lael Wilcox when she won last year. However, matching the pace of the unrelenting dash Wilcox made to the line in 2016, as she chased and caught Steffen Streich, has proven to be too big a task as Hayes has fallen well back on record pace. And the situation was probably not helped by Hayes needing to take an unscheduled stop for a rabies shot after she was bitten by a dog.
You can follow the live tracking to see the rest of the riders roll into the end on the Trans Am website.