More than 250 men and women from 17 countries are gearing up for the start of the Race Across America (RAAM), the world's premiere ultra-endurance cycling event. The 3,000 mile bicycle race starts Saturday, June 7, 2008 from Oceanside, California. The race route stretches through 15 states, across the Rockies, through the heartland of America and the Appalachians, and finishes in Annapolis, Maryland.
RAAM is a continuous, one-stage event, meaning that the clock starts on the west coast and doesn't stop until the racers reach the east coast. Ultra-endurance cyclists race around the clock and are supported by a team of specialists who escort and provide critical support to the racers.
Now in its 27th year, this race's solo record was set by Pete Penseyres in 1986 (8 days, 9 hours, 47 minutes), and the team record was set by Action Sports in 2004 (5 days, 8 hours, 17 minutes). RAAM solo competitors average 250 to 350 miles daily. RAAM teams of 2, 4, and 8-people typically cross the country in 6 to 9 days, averaging 350 to over 500 miles daily. Solo women riders and men over age 60 start racing June 7; men's solo racers start June 8; and 2, 4, and 8-person teams start Wednesday, June 11.
RAAM also presents two other events, the Race Across the West which finishes in Taos, New Mexico, and the 24-Hour Team Challenge, which encompasses the first 500 miles of RAAM and finishes in Flagstaff, Arizona.
Many racers also strive for the benefit of various charities, raising more than $3 million in the past two races. This year, more than 35 organisations will benefit from these efforts.