When Lance Armstrong was asked recently whether he had met anyone who can endure as much pain as himself, he said: “I don’t know about those crazy adventure sports but in mainstream sport, probably not." The Race Across America is definitely not a mainstream sport. So, is it crazy? Yes. For a start, it's 40 percent longer than the Tour de France but it takes two weeks less to complete. Solo competitors ride up to 22 hours and 350 miles per day. The event organiser says the 2004 RAAM could be "the subject of a major network television series."

Tour de France? Pah! Too easy…

Sponsored this year by Insight, an IT company, the 23-year old Race Across America (RAAM), starts on June 20th.

The riders will undertake to complete 2920 miles, starting from from San Diego, California and ending a week or so later in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Race director Jim Pitre, an co-owner of the event, hopes to bring images of RAAM to a mainstream US audience. ?

"We have a great sponsor, Insight, who supports our vision of making the Insight Race Across America the most visible cycling event taking place on American soil. We are planning a push for nationwide media coverage, and we have a project in the works that could make RAAM the subject of a major network television series."

First run in 1982 with four male solo competitors, RAAM has two-person and four-person relay teams as well as solo categories.

Two-time defending champion, Allen Larsen of Cle Elum, Washington, said:

"I’m expecting a more competitive race this year and I?’m taking nothing for granted. I?’m training harder than ever and I will have to ride the entire course trying to reach my absolute potential. RAAM is an incredible event that hopefully more people will embrace. Nothing else on earth pushes your limits the way RAAM does.?"

RAAM co-owner Lon Haldeman, who won RAAM?s first two editions in 1982 and 1983, said:

"What makes the Insight Race Across America unique in sports is the degree to which mental toughness is a factor, it takes a heck of a lot more than raw athletic talent. In this respect, the riders exhibit a strength of purpose and unshakable determination that harks back to the pioneers making the early crossings of the continent in their covered wagons.?"


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