Oceanside CA– For the 10th year, competitors will begin the Race Across America (RAAM),the world’s toughest endurance bicycle race, from Oceanside, California. The event is celebrating its 33rd year with 49 solo racers, who will begin their 3,000 mile coast-to-coast ride at 12 noon from the Oceanside Pier and ending in Annapolis, Md. This is the largest field of solo racers in the history of RAAM.
Race Across America (RAAM) is one the most respected and longest running endurance sports events in the world. RAAM is seen as a pinnacle of athletic achievement in cycling circles and the greater sporting community. RAAM has a rich and storied history. In 1982 four individuals raced from the Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles to the Empire State Building in New York City. Covered by national television, the race captivated the public’s imagination. Teams were added in 1992 and quickly became the most popular and fastest growing segment of the race. Relay team racing made the event accessible to any reasonably fit cyclist.
PJ Lingley, a wildfire firefighter from Arizona, is coming back to race for another year after his 2nd place finish in Race Across the West in 2013, PJ is taking it a step further and setting out to conquer RAAM. He told his team that they will be making a small detour when they reach Prescott Arizona “When we get to the time station in Prescott, it’s about 500 feet from the cemetery and we are going to stop by and say hi to the guys and then keep going.” Lingley was friends and served with several of the 19 firefighters that were killed in the Yarnell Hill Fire last June in Arizona.
Dave Preston is a San Diego resident and solo RAW racer for the first time, yet has raced RAAM as a part of a 2-man team for 3 years. He is a father and raising money for Velo Youth, a cycling program for at-risk-youth in San Diego. “Our program isn’t just about the bikes but about making the right choices.” said Preston describing Velo Youth.
Jacquie Schlitter is the only woman riding a recumbent bike, this will be Jacquie’s first year racing RAAM. She is a mother of three children, a professor of nursing and a former body builder. This year she is raising money for brain cancer research with 3,000 Miles to a Cure. Jacquie, who lives in Florida is riding the recumbent bike due to problems with arthritis. “The first 25 mile of this race is harder than anything we have in Florida.” Schlitter said that where she trains, it’s relatively flat and her hill climbing training consisted of riding against the constant wind in Florida. “The recumbent bike is all legs because you can’t stand up.” explained Jacquie.
John and Nancy Guth, riding for Team Beau and Babe have been racing in Ultra cycling events since 2001. They are parents of three adult children and both have full time jobs. This is their second
RAW, and in 2011 they successfully raced RAAM as a 2-person mixed team. They are raising money for the Semper Fi Fund for the Marine Corps families who need support. Their daughter and son-in-law are both Marine Corps officers, and they are committed to supporting military families who give so much
In addition to the solo racers of RAAM, The Race Across The West, departs the on Tuesday and has 17 teams and 10 solo racers who will race 860 miles on a portion of the RAAM course from Oceanside, CA to Durango, CO.
“This is the 7th Annual Race Across The West, and it gives athletes an opportunity to experience endurance cycling as a solo or team participant (2 or 4 person team). Much like RAAM it gives you the challenge of distance, yet is much more feasible to achieve,” Comments Rick Boethling from RAAM.
Following the departure of solo and RAW athletes, will be 51 teams who depart from the Oceanside start line on June 14th.
“We are proud to be the host city for RAAM’s start. With our outdoor healthy lifestyle and myriad of active sports and recreation, it’s an ideal fit for Oceanside’s personality. Our beautiful beaches and historic pier provides a spectacular backdrop for this major endurance race that brings athletes from all over the world to our small beach community,” said Leslee Gaul, CEO of Visit Oceanside.