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Ultra-endurance rider Mike Hall set to target the Indian Pacific Wheel Race

Joseph Delves
13 Mar 2017

Ocean-to-ocean across Australia, in one single stage, unsupported

If British ultra-endurance cyclist Mike Hall finishes the self-supported 5,474 kilometres that make up the inaugural Indian Pacific Wheel Race ahead of his fellow competitors he’ll receive a warm sense of achievement, but not much else. There’s no prize money at stake for traversing the arduous coast-to-coast route across the south of Australia in the fastest time.

Yet despite this the race promises to be one of the most hotly contested ultra events of the year.

Beginning on 18th March in Fremantle, Western Australia and finishing at the Sydney Opera House whenever the riders arrive, the race has already attracted some of the world’s best competitors, including Kristoff Allegaert, three time winner of the Transcontinental, along with Jesse Carlsson and Sarah Hammond, both former winners of the Trans America.

With the course paying homage to the early Australian ‘overlanders’ who first crossed the country's wide open spaces by bicycle, riders will tackle the notorious desert of the Nullarbor Plain, the hills of the famous wine districts of South Australia, before hitting the Great Ocean Road, and finally, the Australian Alps.

In between these stages the route will roll through towns, so as to give the maximum number of spectators a chance to catch up with the racers.

Alongside organising Europe’s Transcontinental, in the last few years Hall has won a host of the world’s most gruelling races, including the 29,000 kilometre World Cycle Race, the Tour Divide and the Trans America, leaving him in good shape for the race in Australia this spring. 

Mike Hall is following an 'old-school' training regime 

On his motivation to compete south of the equator Hall said, 'My last few races have been in the US.

'Bikepacking has been strong there for a while with key events like Tour Divide and now Trans Am. There’s a strong distance riding scene in Europe with a long history of Randonneuring and Audax and now the Transcontinental doing well.

'Australia has a history of overland records, but they’ve become a little forgotten. Race organiser Jesse Carlsson wanted to create a flagship event and route for Australia in unsupported racing and I was excited by that and wanted to support it.

'He’s also made great efforts to get certain riders there at the same time to provide a very strong field and an interesting race both to watch and be part of. Really I saw this race had great potential to help the long distance self-supported scene as a whole.'

Explaining the design of the route, Carlsson, who is both organiser and competitor said, 'similar to the Grand Tours of cycling, the course has a number of distinct sectors with very different characteristics.

'We’re not interested in the records for the fastest crossing from ocean-to-ocean, we're more interested in the story of the adventure and creating a fascinating race.'

Despite the difficult nature of the route, with so many challenges already behind him Hall isn’t intending to switch up his training regime ahead of the event.

'I wouldn’t say it's unique as such, but my training doesn’t necessarily follow the conventional trends, it's more old-school if anything.

'I like to think about things, come up with a few ideas and try things out. Curiosity keeps me motivated and I very much like to keep things down to feel.

'I haven’t used a power meter yet, and haven’t used a heart rate monitor for about 10 years. I haven’t ever had a coach.'

Bike check

With prevailing headwinds predicted for the majority of the race, aerodynamics and positioning are likely to prove crucial to the success of Hall's attempt. With this in mind he’s been working with Kinesis to dial down his setup ahead of his arrival in Australia.

'For the Indy Pac I have a Grandfondo Ti V3 with conventional road calliper brakes from TRP and I’m rolling on Reynolds Aero 65 wheels.

'The front is built around the newly revised Shutter Precision PD 8x dynamo hub. Shimano provide all the go with a Di2 groupset. My favourite feature of Di2 is the bar extension shifters which are so flexible.

'Shimano also provide all my contact points with their PRO components. The Falcon saddle has been good to me in Trans Am and Tour Divide.

'For Luggage, I’ll have Apidura bag, and to fix everything a small, light but very capable set of Lezyne tools.'

You can follow Mike’s progress via his twitter or on the race website.

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