RAAM 2018: All set to start the Greatest Endurance event on Planet Earth.
RAAM-2018 is starting on the 12th of June for this edition of year 2018. And much like earlier editions, this year also promises a set of world records at stake. With a total of 60 Solo and 40 Team participations over the age-range of 25 to 75 years in both male and female categories, this year’s edition is surely set to unfold a lot of exciting moments for the crazy fan base in the world of endurance cycling.
Race Across America (also known as RAAM) is one of the longest and toughest endurance events in the world, taking place annually since its inaugural edition in 1982. This ultramarathon bicycle race has its route passing across the map of the United States of America from the West coast to the East coast; i.e. a massive 3,000 miles (approximately 4,800 km), and the participant cyclist has to complete this route within few straight days (time limit varies for solo, and team event) to beg the finisher accreditation. The RAAM is somewhat comparable to the highly popular Tour de France on the length factor; but it’s the non-stop feature (no stages unlike Tour de France) demands a greater level of physical and mental endurance skills.
The Men’s Solo event is the most sought-after category, which has seen the world record of 7 days and 15 hours to complete 4,800 kms by Austrian Christoph Strasser in year 2014. It’s majorly dominated by Americans and Austrians. This year, all eyes will be focusing on Solo Female 50-59 age group, where Kathy Roche and Seana Hogan are up against each other, and the earlier champions will have to face tough competition to reclaim their dominance. The Solo Men’s event is no less exciting with legendary Christoph Strasser coming back to claim his 5th crown with a tough field line-up with some of the great names.
This year, India also has 3 Men’s Solo participants. An experienced Sumit Patil will try luck for the second time for his maiden finish (after a failed attempt in 2014). Debutantes Krishna Prakash and Sundaram Narayanan will also aim to taste glory in their first trial itself. Over the years, India also has been gradually emerging in endurance cycling in the world map. This is the 7th consecutive year wherein Indian will be competing in RAAM. The toughness can be easily measurable with the fact that only 30 countries have ever competed in RAAM in its 35 years’ of history; and only 20 odd countries participants have managed to complete the grueling 4,800 km distance. India has got 2 solo and one team success in 2017 and 2016 respectively, and the entire nation is wishing to get the numbers incremented this year.
The town of Oceanside, next to Los Angeles, is all geared up for the race start in just a few hours’ time. It demands year’s of preparation, loads of insane training regime, heavy planning for financial management, and tough selection process for efficient crew-members to make a participant stand at the start line of RAAM; and that in itself is no mean achievement. Further, touching the finish line requires a sleepless (average) 10 days of torturous cycling venture through desert, forests, and mountains, and finally one gets to add a golden chapter in anybody’s life. The sports lovers are all eagerly waiting to witness more of such thrilling exciting moments in these coming few days during RAAM 2018.