the Race Across AMerica
Plaques I've earned for
finishing RAAM qualifying events.
(click on picture to learn more)
I crossed Death Valley at night and came out at the south end in the morning. It seemed like a good time to pose for a picture. (click on picture for larger image)
What is the Race Across AMerica (RAAM)?It's a bicycle race that is done without drafting (following behind another rider or vehicle to get protection from the wind), like a time trial. It starts of the west coast of the U.S. and goes to the east coast, a distance of approximately 3000 miles. It takes anywhere from a week to two weeks. It's usually held in July.
What is a RAAM qualifying event?Essentially it is a very long time trial. You ride by yourself without drafting another rider or vehicle for anywhere from 500 to 600 miles, and is a test to see if one is good enough to enter RAAM. It is usually done on a weekend and has a time limit of 50 hours or so. There are usually three events a year held in various parts of the country, the East, the West, and somewhere between.
Who sponsors these events?
The Ultra Marathon Cycling Association. To find out more,
contact them at
These events are very challenging. Often only a third to a half of the entries actually finish.
Which events did I do?
I did at least a dozen of these races. I finished six of them and summarized them on the "Qualifiers" page (see menu at left). I didn't finish ones in New York (cold, rain, and just hard), Wisconsin (missing crew member), Illinois (over trained- and seat too high), Texas (support car conked out), Missouri (hiccups), and another one in New York (diarrhea). To me, just finishing is winning, and not finishing is very disappointing, especially considering the cost of doing one which could be upwards of $500 (entry fee, motel rooms and meals for yourself and support crew, and transportation). It's easy to spend even a thousand dollars on one of these races. That doesn't even take into account the time and expense of training for them.
I can honestly say the I enjoyed each one of the ones I participated in, even the ones I didn't finish. The ones I didn't finish are where I learned the most. It was the most wonderful feeling in the world when I earned my first plaque in Capron, Illinois. None of my other plaques equaled that, but they all had their own rewards.
RAAM Open memoirs
There are accounts of the races in the menu at the left, three of the events I finished, two I didn't. I wrote accounts about most of them, but these are the only ones I can find.