Monday, June 22, 2009

Race Across America: My new fascination

I've been completely fascinated this week by a little known bike race: The Race Across America or RAAM. Although I've known about this race for years, I've never really paid that much attention to it. It's not part of the pro-riding schedule. Cycling pros like Lance Armstrong and Levi Leipheimer or Alberto Contador don't participate in it. It's longer than the Tour de France and it's done in one third of the time. Last year, I realized that this race started just a few miles from my home. This year I decided to pay more attention to it. It's been compelling.

Earlier this month I did my first Century. Frankly I felt over the moon when I finished that ride. Here's some context, solo riders on RAAM will ride over 3,000 miles. I was looking at my training log and realized that if I do all the riding that I've planned for myself and reach my riding goals this year, it will take me 10 months to ride what RAAM participants will do in roughly 10 days. I am in awe of these people. Here are a few more statistics from the RAAM website:

  • Total distance is more than 3000 Miles.
  • Collectively, the Solo and Team finishers will travel a combined distance equivalent to circling the Earth at the equator seven times.
  • Lowest elevation is 170 feet below sea level. Highest elevation is more than 10,000 feet high above sea level. This elevation range exceeds two vertical miles.
  • Each Solo and Team will climb more than 100,000 feet. This is roughly the distance from the ground to the edge of space, more than three times the altitude flown by commercial jetliners and almost four times the altitude of Mt. Everest.
  • Less than 200 solo and tandem racers have officially finished solo RAAM earning the title of RAAM
  • Finisher, compared with over 2000 individuals who have summated Mt. Everest and 200 racers every year compete in the Tour de France.
  • Racers have come from 5 continents - North America, South America, Australia, Asia, and Europe. More than 25 countries have been represented in the Race Across America.
  • The RAAM staff during the race is more than 50 people. More than 200 people staff Time Stations. Racers are supported by more than 800 people. More than 200 vehicles are part of the RAAM caravan across the country.
  • In the last four years, RAAM racers have raised more than $4,000,000 for charities.

I want to thank my Twitter friends @katerpillar and @girlmeetsbike who are on the Crew for Janet Chrstiansen (Team Osprey) for their insights into RAAM and letting me hang-out before the start of the women's solo start.

Ride on!

For more information check out the RAAM website:

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