RAAM Diary: Entry Number 4

By Thomas Bérubé

As I write this article it is hard to believe that the start of the 2006 Race Across America is only a month away. Racer and crew chief have spent close to a year talking about and planning for the race. Ready or not, it is almost time to go. At 7:00 am on Sunday, June 11, 2006 we will be leaving Oceanside, CA and heading east toward Atlantic City, NJ. I am finding it hard to fathom that this is actually going to happen so it comes as no surprise to me that many of the people in my life do not understand what RAAM is all about.

I keep getting questions about “Ride Across America” and “Pedal Across America”. More than one person has confused RAAM with a cross country cycling tour or summer long charity fund raiser. I have had to explain to cycling buddies that not only will none of us crew members have any time to ride our bikes during the race but as crew chief I am unlikely to leave the pace van while Bryce is riding.

Thanks for your interest in our RAAM preparations. I hope to return from the race with some good war stories. Once again, the racer that I have the honor of serving as crew chief for is Chicago resident, Bryce Walsh. Check out his website at http://www.brycewalsh.com. You can read about Bryce and find out who his sponsors are. I hope to be able to post some reports from the road on his website as he races toward Atlantic City. You can also learn more about RAAM and get updates during the race on the official Race Across America site at http://www.raceacrossamerica.org.

I would like to close this series of articles on preparing for RAAM with a few interesting and/or astounding items of race trivia.

  • This year’s race will be 3,043 miles long. To be an official finisher, participants will have to cover 253 miles a day and to expect a podium finish the course will have to be covered in around 9 days or 338 miles a day.
  • Riders will climb a total of 110,000 feet or four times the height of Mt. Everest.
  • Contrary to popular expectation, the longest cumulative climbing on the RAAM course will occur not in Colorado but in California and Pennsylvania.
  • In 1993 Outside magazine dubbed RAAM the world’s toughest athletic event, ranking it far ahead of the Iditarod Sled Dog race and the U.S. Army’s Best Ranger Competition.
  • Despite the “elite athlete” status of the participants, the DNF rate is generally around 50%. In a race as long as RAAM there is a lot of time for something to go wrong.
  • During the race, the average rider will burn over 9,000 calories in each 24 hour period.

I am pleased to announce that since I wrote my last article for the Derailleur Mailleur another CCC member, Bryce Sabin, has joined our RAAM crew. He’ll need a new name as referring to “Bryce Bryce” and “the other Bryce” is going to get confusing. So, with two club members on the expedition, please keep sending good thoughts our way. I hope to see you on the road soon.

Appeared in the Derailleur Mailleur – The Newsletter of the Chicago Cycling Club.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply