One by one the weary riders pedal their way through Pratt. The Race Across America riders are almost half way home when they pass the RAAM Time Station at Walmart.

One by one the weary riders pedal their way through Pratt. The Race Across America riders are almost half way home when they pass the RAAM Time Station at Walmart.

Some pull over and take a break from their 3,000-mile trip from the Pacific Ocean in Ocean Side, Calif. to the Atlantic Ocean at Annapolis, Md. Others continue without a break while their crew makes the official check in for them.

Leading the men is Reto Schoch of Switzerland who is expected to arrive at the finish line today around 5:30 p.m. local time to complete the 2,993.24 miles.

If he continues at his present rate of speed he will make the entire trip in just over eight days. Trix Zgraggen, also of Switzerland, leads the under 50 group for women.

The race is a grueling challenge. Riders will burn 9,000 calories a day and get about three hours of sleep out of every 24. They have to ride in searing heat, high winds, rain, darkness, storms and climbs through mountains that stretch riders to the limit.

Julian Garcia of Spain climbed off his bike to rest for a while in the shade of a motel sign on the northwest corner of the Walmart parking lot.

His support crew packed packages of frozen peas under the legs of his riding shorts to help him cool down and put his legs on a cushion on a chair to give them some rest from the endless hours of pedaling.

A crewmember said the hardest part of the ride for Garcia had been the heat. However, he was doing well and after a brief rest, climbed back on his bicycle and headed east down U.S. 54. He is in fourth place among the solo males under 50.

Tarzan also made his way through Pratt. Tarzan is actually Kurt Searvogel of Arkansas and one of nine Americans in the solo division. He is the only one of three Americans in the under 50 category the three in still in the race. He currently is sixth in his division.

Part of the Tarzan Rides team is his wife of 24 years Trish and his daughter Katelyn. The family is from Arkansas. Trish said Kurt was doing well and the only problem he had was the heat that had affected many of the riders. At last check Wednesday evening he was in sixth place in the solo males under 50 division.

Some solo riders and teams ride to compete in the race and for special causes as well. Cassie Schumacher, one of just women in the solo event is also riding to promote Wheels4Change, an organization devoted to raising awareness of veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Schumacher had a rough start to the race. On days two and three of the race she was very sick, sweating heavily and was throwing up. Riders use up a lot of fluids as they ride and the vomiting made it hard to keep her intake of fluids at the right level. The sickness took a huge toll on her physically but she was feeling much better when she got to Pratt. She took some time off to rest a while before climbing back on the bike and heading west.

She was feeling good and anxious to continue her trip.

However, RAAM is relentless on riders. A check of the RAAM website reveals that Schumacher had to drop out of the race after riding 7 days, 15 hours and 29 minutes and riding 1,774.31 miles.

Others have also had to abandon the race long before the finish line. Of the 27 riders in the males under 50 category, nine have had to withdraw for one reason or another. That is one third of the entire category.

In solo female under 50, one of the three has dropped out. The only female in the 50 to 59 age group is still in the race. The solo men between 50 and 59 has seen six of the 11 drop out while only two of the three men in the 60 to 69 age group are still in the race with an American leading that group.

Each rider has a crew that takes care of everything the rider needs so all the rider has to do is ride.

Most crews have a van with spare bicycles, spare parts, food, medical kits, clothes, lots of maps and lots of sponsor stickers on the side that reveal how much it takes to make this cross country journey possible.

This vehicle follows a short distance behind the rider to warn oncoming traffic that a bicycle rider is on the edge of the road.

Crews also have a motor home that provides an actual place for riders to lie down and sleep their few hours. Each vehicle has the name and race number for the rider and many proudly carry their countries flag.

A total of 45 solo riders started the race but 17 have had to withdraw. In the team division, six teams, including three from America are in the two-person team division while the four-person team division has 19 teams including 12 American teams. The eight-person team division has 18 entries and Team Viasat from the USA leads the pack.

If Viasat continues at their present pace they will complete the 2,993.24 miles in just over five days.