10/06/2014

Race Across America (RAAM)

Today is the start of The Race Across America (RAAM), that is to say: the solo race.

Do you know RAAM? Well, it's the toughest bike race on earth. The competitors cycle from the American West Coast to the East Coast in one stretch over about 3,000 miles (4.800 km). The race isn't divided in stages; it's up to the participants when the rest and for how long. There are competitions for individuals (male/female

In 1982 the Great American Bike Race was organised. Founder John Marino was one of the four participants. Lon Haldeman won in about 9 days 20 hours (12.6 mph or 20,2 km/h). It was the start of a new event, later renamed to RAAM.

Scientist Michael Shermer was one of the participants. Along racing, it was his aim to investigate human behaviour during such extreme sporting events. The phenomenem Shermer's neck is named after him as he wasn't able to head his face up during the 1983 edition. A special frame was made to fix his head. Several athletes suffered this disorder since then. As far as I know, none of them recumbent riders. ;-)

In 1989 a Human Power Vehicle (HPV) category was created. A relay of teams of four. After a stunning race of the teams Gold Rush and Lightning, the first had to abandon the race. So the latter won and set the (relay) record: just over 5 d 01 h (24.0 mph or 38,7 km/h).

Till today, the event is held 32 times. The men solo race is won by 17 cyclists. Both the Americans and Europeans won 15 races. The 2 remaining victories were gained by an Australian racer. Jure Robic (SLO) won 5 times. Twofold winner Christoph Strasser (AUT) holds the speed record of almost 7 d 23 h (15.7 mph or 25,2 km/h) since his victory in 2013.

Today, 48 racers start: 42 males and 6 females. The standings will be pubished live on this site. Will Strasser be able to win his third RAAM?

Keep on cycling!

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