RAAM 2018

Now this is done, I registered for the RAAM, in 2018. What's RAAM? It's the Race Across AMerica. Let's say as far as long distance cycling is concerned, this is the pinnacle. You ride across the United States, West to Easst. From Oceanside to Annapolis, more precisely. From the Pacific coast to the Atlantic coast. About 3 000 miles, and 150 000 feet of elevation. Does not sound that steep (1% average grade, how hard can this be?) but those who ride for real know it, this is not flat at all. The race is non-stop. Unlike the Tour de France which is a stage race, here the clock starts once when the race begins and never stops until you cross the finish lie. Or not. The time limit is 12 days, which means you have to average a solid 250 miles a day.

Le vélo, c'est pas pour les ramollos
My kids actually did read that book a few years ago. It's about Geronimo Stilton... doing the RAAM!

Reasonably, I won't be high in the leaderboard. I should just finish. I have a rather good experience and knowledge of what long distance is about in general. I did a similar, yet clearly shorter race in Ireland in 2013 and also did something even longer, at least in time (comparatively, I think one mile on the "Transpy" alone with your backpack is "more" than 7 miles on the road with a complete crew helping you around) in the Pyrénées in 2016 . So well, this is So well, officially, I'm in the race. Which means in 2018 I'm going to ride my bike and run a lot less than usual. I might show up on a running race now and then but hell, RAAM is so big I need to make room for it.

RAAM Logo
Official RAAM Logo.

Logistics is a subject in itself, I need to set up a complete crew, and consider I need 3 vehicles to build a sustainable crewing system. Because, yes, that's the one thing: racers need to have a car following them 24/24, and should organize (and fund) all this themselves. Well, 24/24, this is theorical, I'm not going to ride 24/24. Maybe only, say, 21 hours a day. So well, this is an impressive project, I don't think I did anything so complicated and demanding until now. Ah, yes, I got my ass kicked at the Barkley in 2011 and did a Deca in 2010, now I remember... All in all, I'm just super excited to go there, this is by the way going to be my birthday present for my 43rd anniversary.

Kick-off
Picture of a bottle water rocket, taken just at the stadium in front of my house, as we where launching these DIY rockets with my youngest daughter. Let's kick it!

Start is on June 12th (I was born the 9th). My crew is almost completed, composed exclusively of people I consider "crème de la crème". So I'm not really searching for people to join any more at this stage, but would study any serious proposal, obviously. There's nothing to win. Only extreme fatigue (even for crewers). This could cost you up to 3 weeks of vacation, and the level of comfort will just be a nightmare during the event. Hours, days, well, actually, two weeks, sitting in a car, following a bike. OTOH, expect amazing landscape, laughter, tears, and an unforgettable experience. Still interested? drop an email it costs nothing, but I warn you, this is no travel agency, expect hard stuff, not cool and fun.

As far as funding is concerned, this is also going to be a tight game, most significant expenses being registration fees, plane tickets for the whole team, car rental for 3 weeks, gasoline to put in the cars, and hotel rooms before and after the race. I'm about to build up a complete program for this, something that makes sense for sponsors in general, but I just wanted to share that early news with you: I JUST REGISTERED FOR THE RAAM!

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Copyright © 2017 Christian Mauduit. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts.
Updated on Sun Sep 10 2017.