Northwoods bicyclist prepares for 4,000 mile journey across the countrySubmitted: 05/28/2017

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THREE LAKES - Whether it's on the road, the trails, or through the snow, people in the Northwoods love to spend time on their bikes, but one man from Three Lakes is taking his passion to a whole new level. For the last year, Jon Lester, has spent a lot of time on his bike. The Three Lakes native has been training for a race. A really long race.

"4,300 miles," said Lester with a smile.

4,322 to be precise. That's the total distance of the Trans Am Bike Race from Astoria, Oregon to Yorktown, Virginia. This is the fourth year of the race that crosses through 10 states.

"You sign up, you race, and the first one to reach the statue in Yorktown is the winner," said Lester.
A year ago, Lester and his family watched a documentary called "Inspired to Ride" about the first Trans Am race in 2014.

"It was like, I'd like to do that someday," said Lester. "And my family kind of talked me into someday is now."

One look at the garage, and that's no surprise. Road racers, mountain bikes, and fat tire machines hang from the walls.

"It means a lot to us, because that's what we do to spend time with each other," said Jon's daughter Megan.

However, Jon will be on his own for the Trans Am race. The race is fully self-supported, meaning Jon can only accept help from others in an emergency. That includes meals or drinks, even if offered by friends. That didn't stop his family from encouraging him.

"We all knew right away that Jon has the mental and physical strength to do this," said Jon's wife Sally.

Jon's bike holds a compact sleeping system that includes a mattress and a pillow. It has space to store snacks and water. Perhaps most importantly, it has space to remind him of his support back home. Sally, Megan, and Jon's younger daughter, Macy, wrote inspirational messages on the bike's gear bags. The hope is to give Jon extra motivation during the difficult times of his trek.

"He has a lot of family support. We're going to be sending him lots and lots of text messages every single day encouraging him," said Sally.

Jon says he wanted to challenge himself, and inspire others to do the same. When he crosses the finish line just a few dozen miles from the Atlantic Ocean, he'll have a very happy and proud family waiting for him.

"I think we're all going to be bawling," said Sally. "It's going to be very emotional."

The race begins June 3 at 6 a.m. local time. More than 150 rides are registered for the event. Each racer's bike has a GPS device that allows for up-to-date tracking. If you're interested in following along, you can click on the links below. The record time for the race of 17 days, 16 hours, and 17 minutes is held by Mike Hall.

Related Weblinks:
Trans Am Race Website
Trans Am Race Tracking

Story By: Mark Spillane

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