Lael Wilcox Scorches First-Ever FKT For ‘Baja Divide’

The newly christened 1,500-mile route from Southern California into Mexico has a champion: Her name, Lael Wilcox.


Few people pedal as hard as Lael Wilcox. And the 30-year-old Anchorage-native has a growing number of records to prove it.

Wilcox already owns the women’s Fastest Known Time (FKT) title for the 2,800-mile Tour Divide MTB ride from Alberta to the Mexican border. But last week she blazed 1,546 miles down Baja California in 11 days, 13 hours, and 2 minutes on a 29er Specialized Fuse. Her mark is the first FKT for the new Baja Divide route from Tecate to La Paz, Mexico.

The Baja Divide

The full 1,700-mile route (extra miles for touring cyclists) opened to the public in January after Wilcox and her partner Nicholas Carman spent a year developing it.

baja divide route

The route is about 95 percent unpaved, with the paved remainder comprising mostly low-traffic roads. Wilcox and Carman’s impetus for creating the route was to help backcountry riders avoid federal highway Mex 1.

Lael Wilcox FKT

WIlcox’s FKT is the first speed attempt on the Baja Divide. But there’s every reason to expect it will be tough to break.

In 2015, Wilcox crushed the Tour Divide record from Banff, Alberta, to Antelope Wells, N.M., on the Mexican border by two days on her first attempt. What’s more, she fell ill, rode to the hospital, and finished the race!

“I got really sick during this ride and had to ride myself to the emergency room in Helena, Mont.,” she told us. “However, going home after the Tour Divide, I was dissatisfied with my time; I knew I could ride faster. I bettered my time by another two days (15 days, 10 hours). In total, in the summer of 2015, I rode 8,400 miles in four months.”

And yet that’s not the most impressive stat of all. Wilcox set her Tour Divide record after biking an additional 2,100 miles to the route start from her home in Anchorage.

Just let that sink in.

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Adam Ruggiero is an all-sport activity junkie - from biking, running, and (not enough) surfing, to ball sports, camping, and cattle farming. If it's outside, it's worth doing. Adam graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in journalism. Likes: unique beer, dogs, stories. Like nots: neckties, escalators, manicured lawns.

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