The 29th annual Race Across America (RAAM) started yesterday, 9 June in Oceanside, California. 275 riders will participate in this year’s route that travels more than 4,800 km eastbound to the finishing city of Annapolis, Maryland on June 18.
“The course is 99 percent the same as it has always been but there are always slight variations,” said Gary Baraff, vice president of development for RAAM. “But this year it still involves 100,000 feet of climbing and it travels through the same states. We have a few variations at the start and along the way.”
RAAM’s transcontinental route is the longest-running ultra-endurance bicycle race in the world. It will incorporate over 100,000 feet of climbing as it passes through 14 states including some of the world’s most mountainous terrain through the Low Sierra Mountains of California, heading east through Arizona to the jagged Rocky Mountains in Utah and Colorado.
Cyclist will take a break from the larger climbs as they head into America’s Great Plains, crossing Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.
The race then climbs over some of the longest ascents as it heads into the final leg over the Appalachian Mountains in the eastern states of West Virginia and Pennsylvania before reaching the finishing city of Annapolis in Maryland.
The ride consists of soloists and groups composed of two, four and eight riders that will race relay-style across the country. This year’s event includes 275 riders who require more than 1,000 crew members. Last year’s winner in the men’s category was Daniel Wyss of Switzerland. He completed the 4,862.3 km in 8 days 23 h 33 min with an average speed of 24.59 km/h.
More than half of the racers use the event as a platform to raise funds for various charities. In each of the past five years, racers raised more than $1 million.
This year the Glass Packing Institute (GPI), a sponsor of RAAM, will support five Recycling Awareness and Collection Events in designated locations along the race route to help educate each community on the benefits of recycling.
The Race Across America Collection Events will be held in Oceanside, California on June 12; Durango, Colorado on June 13; Bloomington, Indiana on June 17; Oxford, Ohio on June 18; and Annapolis, Maryland on June 19.