British cyclists Brian Welsh and Stacey Eccles of North Yorkshire are preparing for their racing debut in the upcoming Race Across America (RAAM), the 3,013-mile cycling challenge beginning at Oceanside, California on Wednesday 11th June.
The race will see competitors climb over 100,000 feet before reaching their final destination of Annapolis, Maryland on the East Coast, passing through 14 states and involve a vast spectrum of terrain, from desert landscapes to the peaks of the Rocky Mountains.
The two highly experienced cyclists, riding under the team name ‘Just Sweat, No Tears’ (JSNT) will be the first British mixed pair to complete the journey by riding in a continuous relay format with riding shifts lasting between two and four hours. The teams chosen charity is Parents for Children, a charity that work(s) throughout the UK to find permanent homes for children who have profound emotional, learning or physical disabilities.
Welsh (who was part of a Guinness World Record team for riding around Australia) and Eccles (a World Age Championship Group Triathlon competitor for Great Britain) aim to complete the mammoth journey in under eight days with the assistance of six crew.
Given the relevant experience of both Brian, founder and owner of ‘Just Sweat, No Tears’ training services, and Stacey, a purchasing operations manager at local employer Nestle, the existing record of seven days 18 hours and five minutes is well within reach.
"The physical pressure of RAAM is as much mental as it is physical, having finished the event twice before (in a four person squad) I understand the draining capacity of the event on the body, but it is the combined strength of the physical and the right mindset that will see us push for a new record, along with the assistance of a diverse crew,” Welsh said.
Eccles, who was recently hit by a car during a race in preparation for the challenge, is equally as optimistic.
“You get to a stage where you just want to get in there and have a go, we’ve done the work, now let’s put it all together and give York the first British mixed pair to finish Race Across America,” she added.
“Without the assistance of sponsors we simply couldn’t participate in an event of this magnitude” Crew Chief Sally Brown said “Both Brian and Stacey have absorbed financial burdens to race, and the team has worked feverishly in trying to attract more business interest and support to lessen the strain.”
For more information, visit http://www.jsnt.co.uk/raam.