In January this year, I raced the Revolve24 in Adelaide and qualified for the Race Across America (RAAM), the world’s toughest bicycle race.
Qualifying for this pinnacle event of all endurance races is already a very pleasing result; however, what a feat it would be to race this epic challenge, which has been titled “12 days of hell” and seen many strong and talented endurance cyclists fail.
The decision to ride 5,000 km in 12 days with 52,000 m of vertical climbing, covering the three great mountain ranges of North America, Death Valley, and the Great Plains, is not to be taken lightly. The physical demands on the rider to cycle several hundred kilometres every single day through rough terrain and extreme weather, and under ongoing time-pressure are to be prepared for in great detail. These physical demands are even exacerbated by severe lack of sleep, which has seen most riders in past events go through hallucinations and the inability to function cognitively well.
These tremendous challenges call for a well-functioning support team, in which every member has a specific role to fulfil to keep me safe and my bike operational, that help me stay alert, well fed, hydrated, and on time with the very tight racing schedule. The crew will have to work hard to deal with the physical challenges that are imposed on me as the rider, whilst facing their own fatigue and exhaustion.
RAAM imposes the absolute necessity onto the rider and the support crew to be 100% committed to prepare in any possible way: “There is no other race in the world like RAAM. There is no race that combines the distance, terrain and weather; no other event that tests a team’s spirit from beginning to end […]”.
I feel extremely lucky to be surrounded by people that bring all the necessary skills, personalities, and strong minds to form a support crew that will excel in their own skills and do everything in their power to lead this mission to success.
The next 17 months from now will see my support crew and myself training with Brad Hall; discussing, preparing and practicing racing scenarios; raising awareness for our charity of choice – the Solaris Cancer Care – and fundraise not only for Solaris Care but also to get ourselves to this event in 2019. Everyone interested can follow the progress of this mission here through the RAAM blog on the CDF-website.
Thank you for all your support in whatever form it comes.