Sarah Hammond

Hometown

Melbourne, Australia

Biography:

Cycling came later in life for me than it did for most of my riding buddies. For a number of years, I experimented with road racing, ascent challenges and even a few 24-hour races. Never really satisfied, I started to explore distance rather than speed and got involved in Audax rides. Through that crowd, I discovered bikepacking and met some local riders who had done well in the big US bikepacking events.

Without much experience at all, I found myself at the start line of the 2016 Trans Am bike race. While my race was successful, it also left me unsettled and wanting to rectify the various rookie mistakes I made. Without fully recovering I threw myself into a second race in 2016, the Race to the Rock. While it was a 2,300 km off-road mission through the remote Australian outback, it was also only my third MTB ride! With each race I learn more, and Iā€™m motivated for more strong results in 2017.

Key Cycling Achievements:

  • June 2016 ā€“ Trans America race (first attempt at ultra-endurance bikepacking racing), 6th place overall.
  • September 2016 ā€“ Race to The Rock. Only female starter, only rider to finish the full course and win.

How you got Hooked/Proudest Bikepacking Moment:

I never really gave bikepacking a go until the Trans Am bike race in 2016. My previous experiences were always with warm accommodation at the end of each day. The Trans Am was a step outside of my comfort zone.

It allowed me to escape from the day-to-day routine of emails, messages, social expectations, and work, and despite the suffering of the race, I still got to see the world in a way that you only can by bike. Completing the Trans Am was not only a proud moment, it was a realisation that I had found something worth channeling my energy into.

Advice for New Bikepackers:

Ask lots of questions. The bikepacking community is a pretty friendly and helpful bunch of people. Starting out, I was clueless as to which product was best, how to charge electronics, and what clothes to wear. I was so fortunate to have a couple of key people help with my endless queries and listen to my rants.