RAAM Diary: Entry Number 2

By Thomas Bérubé

A rule change has put an end to the twenty five year old Race Across America. Or has it?

In the previous issue of the Derailleur Mailer I introduced the efforts of a local cyclist, Bryce Walsh, to compete in the 2006 Race Across America. Bryce has now paid the entry fee and is in his winter training grounds of Austin, TX where he is hopefully not devoting too much time to playing his bass and lounging in smoky bars taking in the local music scene. I am listed on the entry application as crew chief and as such my duties will be to both keep everything functioning smoothly during the race and to remain in Chicago this winter getting things organized. Part of doing an event like RAAM is being prepared to deal with changing circumstances and doing contingency planning. Well, we have just had the first “changing circumstance” thrown at us and are trying to deal with it.

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RAAM Diary: Entry Number 1

By Thomas Berube

This is probably well known to lots of you but for the benefit of those who do not know, I need to take a moment to describe the Race Across America (RAAM). First run in 1982, this event is a non-stop bike race from the Pacific coast of the United States to Atlantic coast. Exact routes have changed over the years but the distance covered is generally around 3000 miles. The current course goes from San Diego, CA to Atlantic City, NJ, a distance of 3051.7 miles. Riders have completed RAAM in as little as 7 days although in most years the winner turns in a time of around 9 days. Under current rules riders are allowed 12 days to be considered official finishers. 3051.7 miles in 12 days works out to 254 miles a day or n average speed of 10.58 miles. A social ride! Right?

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Sebring 24 Hour RAAM Qualifier

My first and only pre-RAAM event of the new year is now in the books. I placed 5th overall and second among non-recumbent bikes on a very flat course. I completed 440.7 miles. Finally getting me over the elusive 425 mile mark that was my sole missed goal from last season.

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Austin Relocation


As of January 15, I have relocated to Austin Texas to ride out the winter and get in some serious miles on the roads rather than locked into a trainer inside my apartment in Chicago.The parents of a friend have kindly agreed to allow me stay in their house while I’m putting in some quality bike time. Amazing people to allow a complete stranger into their house. They mentioned they wanted to see what kind of person would do such an insane thing as race in RAAM.

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Las Vegas – Tips

Hoover DamThis year I have spent 2 weeks in Las Vegas. 1 week in January escaping the chicago winter and building base miles and 1 week in September attending Interbike and perparing for the Furnace Creek 508.

In January I was able to ride with 2 of the local cycling clubs, the Las Vegas Bicycle Club and the Green Valley Cyclists. Both clubs were great to ride with, but had different cultures. The Las Vegas Bicycle Club was a relaxed social group, while the Green Valley Cyclists were a younger more agressive group pushing a pretty good tempo for a full century.

I was happily surprised with the quality of riding around Las Vegas. Primarily I rode the Red Rock Canyon loop and circled a portion of Lake Mead.

A tip that is often not found on local cycling websites is how to navigate from the Las Vegas strip to Red Rock Canyon. Here is the route i took most recently while staying at the Frontier.

  1. Exit the Frontier parking lot onto Left(West) onto Stardust Road
  2. Right(North) on Industrial Road
  3. Left(West) on W Oakey Blvd
  4. Right(North) on Durango
  5. Left(West) on Charleston.

Charleston will take you out to Red Rock Canyon. Be sure to fill up on water and grab a few calories near the Durango Charleston intersection as food is hard to find once you get out of the city.