Ed. Note: You may be noticing a flurry of coverage on this year’s Race Across America on our website. Why? Because as ‘The World’s Toughest Race’ we think it deserves more than the average he-won-she-won-wow-that’s-a-long-race coverage. Look for race reports from Vic Armijo, veteran RAAM reporter who has embedded with the RAAM press corps for the duration of the race as well as interviews, essays and expositions on RAAM as experienced by the riders, crew, and race staff.
Words and Photo || Kevin Rouse
It takes a certain type to want to ride their bike across the United States. It’s an entirely different type that wants to race their bike across the United States.
It’s a pretty small subset of the cycling population when you put it into numbers—less than 50 people line up for the Race Across America each year. To add some perspective, that’s a full 100 less than the average number of climbers who summit Mt. Everest in an average year.
Combine the Super Bowl, the World Series and the Stanley Cup and that’s what RAAM equates to the world of ultra cycling.
First contested in 1982 by just four riders, including race founder John Marino, the race then went by the moniker of the “Great American Bike Race”, and while the name has changed, the basic premise hasn’t—riding 3,000 miles across the United States, nonstop, always west-to-east.
And sure, it’s hard to introduce seat-of-your-pants suspense into an week-long race, but with what’s being touted as the strongest individual field in the race’s history, this year’s RAAM is off to a heated start and should make for some interesting racing.
And so without further adieu, here’s to a week of acute sleep deprivation, crazy calorie intake and extraordinary feats of endurance and mental fortitude.
Vivé Le RAAM!