Samim Rizvi is testing his endurance during week’s Race Across America (RAAM) with hopes of a top five finish. He is the first Indian to qualify for the stateside cycling marathon and is ranked by his nation as their number one endurance athlete.
He’s currently riding in 15th place.
“I have been an endurance cyclist my entire life,” Rizvi said. “I started cycling in my teen years. I like to relate RAAM to the question, ‘Why do people climb Mount Everest?’ Because it’s there! I want to showcase the excitement of cycling and hope to get more Indians involved in sport.”
RAAM kicked off on June 9 in Oceanside, California and will end after more than 4800 km in Annapolis, Maryand.
Rizvi, 40, qualified to compete in the RAAM by riding 701 km in 24 hours in his home country. He is the Director of Fitness at Bulldog Sportz, a sports management and professional training team that also sponsors his training and racing endeavors.
Rizvi at the end of a 24-hour training ride
The rider picked up additional sponsors for this year’s RAAM including Bangalore-based Cisco Systems Inc.’s globalization team and Specialized. The company offered him a custom Specialized Roubaix SL2 for his journey across the country.
“This is my first attempt at the Race Across America,” Rizvi said. “I’ve been training for the race since 2007.”
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 challenging terrain before arriving to the finishing city in Annapolis, Maryland.
Rizvi will compete in the mens solo event.
“I see sleep deprivation as my biggest obstacle,” he said.
Rizvi thinks the toughest competition will come from four-time RAAM winner Jure Robic from Slovenia who last won the event in 2008 when he covered 4822 km in 8 days 23 hours and 33 minutes at and average speed of 22.5 km/h.
The RAAM attracts riders from more than 13 countries world-wide and this year there are some 275 riders registered. Last year the event was won by Daniel Wyss from Switzerland who covered 4,862.3 km in 8 days 23 h 33 min with an average speed of 24.59 km/h.