Oceanside CA— For the 12th year, competitors will begin the Race Across America (RAAM),the world’s toughest endurance bicycle race, from Oceanside, California. The event is celebrating its 35th year with more than 40 solo racers, who will begin their 3,000 mile coast-to-coast ride at 12 noon, June 14, 2016 from the Oceanside Pier and ending in Annapolis, Md. RAAM Team riders leave the Pier at Noon on Saturday, June 18, 2016.
Also beginning on Tuesday is the Race Across the West (RAW) with solo, 2 or 4-person teams following the RAAM course 860 miles to Durango, Colorado.
One team in RAW is racing for a local cause. Team Golden Heart-Senior Care, comprised of Jon Holmquist, 48 from Austin Texas and Bryan Krause, 47 of Littleton, Colorado are racing to raise money for a 4-year old girl, Sophia from Oceanside. “We met Sophia, in person, for the first time today and she is in need of a service dog for some issues that she has.” continued Jon, “We are in a position here to bring a little excitement around her cause and draw some support to hopefully get her that dog.”
There are a lot of stories behind the riders and how they got to RAAM. One is a rookie to RAAM but not to Ultra-distance Cycling, Juliana Buhring. On July 23 2012, Juliana set out from Naples, Italy to make the first women’s world record for fastest circumnavigation by bicycle. On December 22, 2012, she re-entered Naples with a total time of 152 days including flight transfers and 144 actual days pedaled. In 2014, Juliana took first in the inaugural Trans Am race which runs from Astoria, Oregon to Yorktown, Virginia, a distance 4,322 miles. She finished fourth overall.
RAAM is her first race with a support team. “Our team just collected from around the world about two days ago. We’ve had maybe a half hour of training together. said Juliana “We are like the Dirty Dozen of RAAM. We don’t know what the hell we’re doing.” Juliana’s story of how she survived the infamous cult, the Children of God is featured in Glamour Magazine.
The Race Across America (RAAM) team event continues to represent the largest portion of RAAM racers. The race is open to 2, 4 and 8-person teams. RAAM continues to draw ultra-cyclists from around the world – 41 teams from 10 countries will be competing this year. Some teams are chasing records, others are raising money for charity, some racing just for plain fun, and others for a combination of reasons.
The team race has always been a perfect platform for corporations to raise money and awareness for charity and build camaraderie. Employees race, and crews are often built from employees and friends, making it a true company effort. Team ViaSat (USA), an 8-person corporate team, will be returning for its 10th year.
EY Legacy Builders (USA) is making its debut with a 4-person team. The team is racing the 3,000 miles to raise money and awareness for the Ernst & Young LLP mentoring program, College MAP, which helps underserved high school students gain access to higher education. EY has already raised over $210,000 for scholarship support, with a goal of raising more than $1 million.
“Success in life is all about setting a daunting goal and then dedicating yourself to achieving it. Competing in Race Across America is pretty challenging, but for many, attending and graduating from college is much more difficult. Our team is hoping to raise awareness about access to higher education and to inspire others to support College MAP, EY’s signature mentoring program. The funds that we raise through our ride will provide scholarships to underserved students and help set them up for a trajectory of success,” said Mark Gibson, Advisory Principal at Ernst & Young LLP.
Another team to watch in this year’s RAAM is the exceptionally strong Team Working Nation USA, a 4-person team made up of Kurt Broadhag, Phil Tinstman, Chris DeMarchi and Anthony Restuccia, the same foursome that won last year as Team Live Earth—Road to Paris. They were chasing the 4-person team record set in 2004 by Action Sports (USA) of 5 days, 8 hours, 17 minutes at 23.06 mph. This will be their third attempt. They barely missed the record due to a navigation error in 2014 and last year they were foiled by fierce headwinds on the Great Plains.
“We’re back!” Kurt Broadhag recently said. “We had a goal last year of taking first place and trying to break the record. But it was a terrible year for weather conditions. We reached our goal of winning the race, now we want to come back, repeat the win and try to break the record.” He added, “It’s kind of dependent on the weather—it’s a crapshoot for us. That’s our goal, but there are a lot of variables. We’re keeping our fingers crossed.”
Tim Skipper, organizer of Team Skipper (USA), a 4-person tandem team is working toward a different kind of record. Skipper has been on four record setting teams and he is trying for a fifth. That will tie him with Joel Sothern (USA) who holds the most RAAM Team records with five.
Vecendo Desafios Team Brazil member, Marcio Milan, is back for his 12th year. Racing coast-to-coast across the USA is an adventure – challenging, exciting and fun. The Brazilians know how to do it.
Additional teams to watch in this year’s race include four teams from the UK, Antonia’s Friends (4 and 8-person teams), Team Abana and Team Endeavour, a British Military team, and the German team Special Unified Lions. There are 24 teams from the USA, among them Beau, Babe & the Boys, organized by John and Nancy Guth, who will be returning for their 4th RAAM, Pedal for Pets, the 3rd 8-person all-female team to race RAAM, and Bike the US for MS.
Follow race news and updates on www.RideFarther.com, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Live tracking of this year’s race will be available through Trackleaders with links on the RAAM website http://www.raceacrossamerica.org/live-tracking.html.