A few years back when I was really into cycling, I heard about the Race Across America (RAAM). It’s a 3000 mile (almost 5000km) race across the USA, but it’s different than most other well known bicycle races, such as the Tour de France.
The Tour de France has various stages that are scheduled over a 21-day period. RAAM has one giant stage – ride across the country as fast as you can. Riders in the Race Across America are usually on their own, or in small packs. You don’t see huge pelotons, since riders are spaced out so much more.
RAAM is very underappreciated race. It doesn’t have the big sponsorship backing that most of the Tour de France teams have, so you see a lot of family, friends and volunteers supporting the cyclists across their ridiculous ride. People that complete RAAM are true endurance athletes. They ride for as much as 23 hours per day (!), so it’s as much a sleep deprivation contest as it is a bicycle race.
I watched a lot of the highlights this year, and it’s pretty inspiring to see people push themselves so hard to win a race that doesn’t even have a prize.