Racing Across America on a bicycling tests riders mentally and physcially.
Forty five individuals and are currently RAAMing their way across America. What’s that? It’s the Race Across America, also known as RAAM, which has been passing through Pratt since Sunday afternoon. I think the best way to describe the race is like this: men and women hop on a bicycle in Oceanside, California, testing the limits of human endurance by pedaling to the finish line in Annapolis, Maryland.
This year there are five individual categories: Solo Female, Under 50. Solo Female, 50-59. Solo Male, Under 50. Solo Male, 50-59. Solo Male, 60-69.
The interesting thing about RAAM is that the clock doesn’t stop ticking until riders reach the finish line. If a rider is sleeping, then his or her opponents may be gaining ground. I believe the top riders average about two hours of sleep per night. Perhaps as much as a race, RAAM is an exercise in maintaining sanity.
Since RAAM is underway, I called up my friend Dan McAnarney this past Monday afternoon about heading out to see if we might pass a few cyclists. We pedaled west on Highway 54 to Cullison, passing three riders and their support crews. Dan and I cheered and encouraged each cyclist headed toward the finish line. Pratt is one dot of many along a line that connects California to Maryland. It is really incredible to have this major bicycle race passing right through our community. Steve Strecker, who formerly owned McDonald’s, did a great job of putting our town on the map when he offered free food to cyclists and support crews and set up a canopy at McDonald’s, when it was a time station, or a point when arrival times are logged in.
The riders’ arrival times are sporadic, but they should be pedaling through town over the next few days. The teams will likely begin arriving sometime after midnight on Tuesday. In case you’re interested in following the race, visit www.raceacrossamerica.org and click on “Full Leaderboard” on the left hand side of the page. Pratt is Time Station 26, and you can follow the race at the website and also estimate arrival times of various solo and team riders. Then go out to Highway 54, find a shady spot, and cheer them on.