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Photographers, Writers, Editors, Videographers, On-Camera Reporters Wanted


RAAM is an amazing event which touches the lives of people all over the world and garners international media. With a race course over 3,000 miles long, numerous divisions and racer speed levels, it is a considerable task to keep the world promptly informed. To do so we require talented, passionate staff and volunteers.

We currently have volunteer and paid positions available. Please read all the information and if you would like to get involved we would like to hear from you. Please follow our application guidelines closely. Please download the details here.

To apply or for more information please contact us at:  reporter@raceacrossamerica.org

The Contenders - Jure Robic by Perry Stone

I don’t know if it is appropriate to call a three time RAAM champion a contender but Jure Robic the Slovenian soldier who has won the Race Across America in 2004, 2005 and 2007 is back to see if he can add to his list of championships. Even if he won’t admit it.

In a couple of ways, Robic reminds me of Mike Tyson without all the bad habits. In his prime, Mike Tyson was a destroyer and nothing or no one got in his way inside a boxing ring. Outside the ring, when he wasn’t pumping up a fight, this bigger than life personality was at times, soft spoken and almost seemingly shy. Jure Robic in “race-mode” is a machine like robot who has a take no prisoners mentality. In RAAM there is but one position he wants; first! There is no chasing anyone or catching anyone, there is no strategizing or plotting, Robic’s usually race plan is rudimentary, ride harder, faster and longer than anyone else until he has built up a big enough lead to take a nap and when he gets up he will still have the lead. From that position, he lays down the hammer and opens it up and does his best not only to increase his lead but to simultaneously psychologically crush his competitors.  As an on route reporter the question I am asked more than any other is “How far up is Robic”?

But is he really a machine or just a quiet man with an internal fire set on eradicating the miles of America’s highways? In an article posted on Wikipedia it is reported that,  “Robic is renowned for pushing himself to extreme mental breakdown during endurance races. “He has been laboratory tested, with his ability to produce power and transport oxygen found to be no greater than many other similar ultra-endurance athletes”.

And I have seen iron cry.

Not that I have ever saw Robic shed tears, but once about 7 days deep into RAAM he quit riding. He had told me earlier in the race that to escape the pain he thought of his wife and their new baby, but so over drained did he become that he could not visualize them and that triggered an internal alarm. Suddenly he didn’t know where he was or who he was and he began to melt down, this riding machine was all alone and his internal fire began to consume him. I often wondered if that there were no tears simply because he was too dehydrated to have them roll down his face. The anguish he was experiencing reminded me of someone confronting a  great personal tragedy.

The storm passed and once again being able to see Robic climbed back into the saddle and rode to victory. That moment and the events that unfolded after it will always inspire me. When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

But that was then, this is 2008.

Last week I answered my phone only to hear, “Perry?  Hallo Perry, this is Jure Robic calling”.

It never fails to humor me how he thinks he needs to identify himself so formally, as if I have a lot of associates named Jure with such an accent. I greeted him like a long lost friend and then we discussed the reason for his call.

Perry, today  I have wired my entry fee, please let me know when you receive it.

That’s fantastic Jure, I said, welcome to RAAM 08! I look forward to seeing you and I wish you the best of success this year.

Thank you Perry, he said genuinely.

Will you win?

I don’t know Perry, there are so many strong racers, you know Perry, RAAM is a long race, many “tings” can happen. I just hope to ride a strong race.

Honestly, I have never heard Robic talk a big race, he lets his pedals do that, but I have never heard him speak like this before. He has matured into a true champion, a silent but ultra-aggressive contender, humble in defeat and humble in victory.

Iron Mike Tyson once said, “Everyone has a plan; until they get punched in the face”.  I have seen Robic shake off an “eight-count” and still win. What this year will bring remains to be seen but one thing is for certain, Jure Robic is here to fight with everything he can muster and you have to respect  that.


We've heard from several of you that Cruise America no longer has any one-way RV rentals from southern California to the east coast. Here are a few suggestions to help.

  • El Monte RV is another national chain of RV rentals to try.
  • Try www.rvra.org to find other RV rental companies.
  • You might try renting from northern California (San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento)
  • You might try returning to another city on the east coast - Washington, DC., Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City.
  • You could hire a driver to try the RV back to southern California - try www.uship.com.

Good luck.

Race Staff Strong

Just as with the Race Officials, we are fortunate to find so many great staff to work at the Start in Oceanside, Headquarters in Boulder, and the Finish in Annapolis. We have a full staff for the start and only need one more for a full staff at the Finish - interested? RAAM is truly a family affair - Fred, Gayle, and Rick Boethling will be at the start. Karen Zmrhal, mother of the Race Director will be at the finish. Paul Zbiek and his wife will also be ushering racers to the finish. We also get RAAM Racers - Deirdre Greenholz who raced last year and John Palmer, who was planning a two-person effort this year but ran into injuries.

The other day I remarked that we need a few more staff for Headquarters, and almost as soon as I said that my phone rang with someone interested in working at Headquarters. Wow! We still need a few more people to help at Headquarters. One or two weeks in Boulder during the summer - it's almost a vacation. If you're interested, please contact us.

Full Officiating Staff!

We at the RAAM office are fortuante to work with so many wonderful, experienced, and enthusiastic people. This is certainly evident in our Officiating Crew and our Head Official Trio. Johnny Boswell has done an amazing job of filling out our team of Race Officials for the 2008 race. We will have 13 to 15 vehicles on the course at any one time. Those vehicles will have 25 Race Officials - and almost every one of them is a veteran of the race in some way. Thanks to Johnny - and to all the Race Officials who will be out there watching everyone to ensure a safe and fair race.

Race Director Caught

I was out riding this weekend, enjoying the beautiful Boulder weather. I was in a new area, passing through a town I hadn’t been through before. I was looking around – the shops, the people, the restaurants, and the traffic. In all that I rolled through a stop sign, in fact I didn’t even see it. Normally I’m pretty careful and come to a stop, though I’ll admit during training rides I will roll through a stop sign when no cars are around.

A police officer watched me go right on through. He did the right thing and pulled me over. I was fortunate not to get a ticket, though I did get a warning. While it was just a warning from the police, it was a good reminder to me to pay attention, especially in new places.

This is a reminder to you about stop signs and stop lights on RAAM. You will go miles and miles on the RAAM route and never see one, and then you’ll come into a town. You’ll have something new to look at, and you may be looking around and miss that stop sign just like I did. I would have any Race Official or any police officer stop you just the same as they stopped me. You may get a warning, or you may get a penalty or even a ticket.

Running through a stop sign is the most common penalty in RAAM. You’ll hear us say it again, but here’s a first reminder for you. Be careful out there and pay attention.

The Contenders: David Hasse 4th Time Lucky? by Perry Stone

In many sports, luck often figures largely in the outcome, a football tipped at the line of scrimmage can either be picked-off or bounce back into the hands of the quarterback who then tosses a Hail-Mary for victory. In the NHL, a puck can take a funny bounce and result in a goal or a game saving save, but in the Race Across America, luck has little to do with it. Certainly there is a fear, whether real or imagined, that racers far removed from each other may be aided by changing weather conditions. Where one rider might encounter a headwind, another might receive the aid of a tailwind or simply not be affected at all, but those who are inside the race, those who have, “been there, done that” know that RAAM is not about luck, it is about overcoming obstacles of epic proportion. No matter what!

In 2004, RAAM rookie, David Hasse departed the Pacific shores a mild mannered, soft spoken, bike shop owner from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin who after all was said, done and ridden could have easily renamed RAAM, Goliath. Some people don’t know when or how to quit, others throw their arms up and wave the white flag at the first sign of resistance. David Hasse is one of those rare individuals who cannot even comprehend the meaning of the word quit.

Members of Hasse’ family, friends and fans had gathered on the Atlantic City Boardwalk awaiting to witness a heroic completion of his rookie RAAM. While Hasse had proven himself to be a crowd pleaser from the start with his unassuming presence and quiet confidence I was certain that he  wasn’t going to cross the finish line. In fact, I was almost 100 per cent positive that David Hasse was going to die; that the swelling in his legs was a result of blood clotting and he was just one pedal rotation away from the big ‘bye-bye’. If I live to be 300, and I hope that I don’t, I will never be able to get the image of his elephantitis-type legs eradicated from my memory. To this day, I feel queasy when recalling the sickening fear I had seeing Hasse’ bloated hairless legs. On the Boardwalk that day I was not a journalist hell bent on getting the scoop on tragedy, I was a man deeply effected by the horror that I was sure was going to unfold in front of so many people who loved Mr. Hasse. In was my belief that someone had to convince him that there was a time for triumph and there was a time to accept something else.

I understood Mr. Hasse or at least I liked to think that I did; it was his life and he would live it the best way he could. If that meant blowing up on a bicycle so be it, but he would spin that last rotation unafraid, always driving, pounding, pulsating and craving everything life could give him and anyone or anything, including RAAM, that might be in his way, best clear a path ‘cause David Hasse was blazing through. How could you not like all that?

In 2004, David Hasse was ultimately forced off his bike. The official DNF declaration stated “dehydration” as the mitigating factor.  But his effort was bigger than life, his ambition so profound that it touched everyone even remotely aware of it. He was an unsung American homegrown hero. But for David Hasse it was just what he did, what he was and what he wanted. I thought about Hasse receiving medical attention, his skinny torso and bloated legs, his face so drained of power he looked like hell but I just knew when he surrendered his consciousness that he would be dreaming of his legs still cranking and punishing his pedals.

In 2008, after two more RAAMs, which he did complete towards the front of the pack, David Hasse still hasn’t quit. He rides in the snow and sometimes trains on flat tires because as he put it, “I have unfinished business”. In RAAM 2008, David Hasse, with sheer determination, an unsinkable belief in himself and unyielding desire returns to finish what he started: pursuit of victory in the Race Across America.  As always, the competition will be intense, the race itself loaded with obstacles, his odds of victory are a long shot at best but that is exactly what he wants. Like the crew of Apollo 13, if there is a way to do it, he will find it, when almost everyone else has given up he will come rolling down the streets of America as he vies to hoist the sweetest cup of all.

But no matter what happens, David Hasse is the type of person that makes RAAM the incredible race it is. No matter who wins, they will have accomplished far more than riding across a continent fast because of competitors and contenders like this soft spoken bike shop owner from Fond du Lac. 

Hincapie Sportswear joins the RAAM Family

RAAM is pleased to announce that Hincapie Sportswear is the newest sponsor of the 2008 Race Across America. For more than 20 years, the Hincapies have dedicated themselves to excellence in the sport of cycling.  Through Hincapie Sportswear, they are combining the lessons they have learned on the road to produce the most comfortable, functional and stylish cycling apparel in the world.

Hincapie Sportswear will be providing the RAAM Official finisher’s jerseys, RAAM shorts and RAAM wind jackets. To see the full line of cycling clothing by Hincapie Sportswear, visit their website; www.hincapiesports.com.

The Art of Forgetting

Recently I completed the Racing the Planet Vietnam 6-day footrace. Since then I've had a chance to reflect on the event. In many ways it was similar to ultracycling and in some ways different. The best part is still the people involved. One of the similarities is the stages of memory (loss) that athletes go through. Here's a humorous take on the Art of Forgetting.

Clinic Review

RAAM has now successfully hosted it’s first two RAAM Clinics. The first was in London the first weekend in March, the second was the middle of March in Fredericksburg, TX, in conjunction with Hell Week. Our expectations were 10-12 at each clinic, but with 9 teams based in London 40 people attended the London clinic, while 18 attended the clinic in Texas. For us it was a great opportunity to meet RAAM Crew and learn what your challenges and questions are. From here we can improve the clinic for next year.

In general, the feedback was very good and teams appreciated the opportunity meet some of the RAAM Team and get ahead on organization.

Team Hole in the Head Gang registered for the 2007 race, but for medical reasons had switched to the 2008 race. They were attendance in Texas and already well organized with a binder full of tasks and assignments, even a team charter. They had the comment that with the additional year of preparation they thought they were well organized, but the clinic opened their eyes to other possibilities and things to consider. They were grateful for all the additional information.

Jim Rees of the UK finished solo in 2007 and team in 2005. While he wasn’t part of the crew, he was a big part of the preparations and is leading Team Inspiration this year with three teams and his own solo return. Jim said that even after two RAAMs he still learned a lot in the two days of the workshop.

The clinic isn’t just for rookies, it’s especially useful for those that have crewed once or twice. Veterans certainly have the experience, but learning from the RAAM Team and everyone in attendance can help take their game up a notch.

With the success of this year and the race continuing to grow, we will be hosting more of these in the future!

Perry Stone Steps In

Perry Stone has joined the RAAM Management Team to continue where Jeff Stephens left off. Like the rest of the RAAM Management team, Perry is also a RAAM veteran being on the first 2-person team in compete in RAAM in 1997. After his RAAM effort, Perry completed several Australians records including a circumnavigation of Australia three times.

This is not Perry's first involvement with the race though it wil be largest role. He has covered the race as media several times. He was instrumental in the frequent coverage of last year's race and beautiful articles about the what RAAM is really about.

Perry, VP, Public Relations, Sales and Marketing, will focus on media coverage and sponsorsihp. We are excited to work with Perry and his enthusiam for RAAM.

Jeff Stephens steps into new role

Jeff Stephens, RAAM’s VP of Sales and Marketing for the past year, will be departing RAAM for a new position. He has accepted the position of Executive Director for Consider Biking, a non profit organization whose mission is to create a better environment for cycling in Ohio, and to encourage all our citizens to make active transportation a part of their everyday lives.

Stephens developed a comprehensive marketing plan for RAAM, and brought a new vision for race coverage, sponsorship development, and most importantly, enhanced communications and relationships with the widely diverse “RAAM Family.”  His focus on customer relationships, and seeking to provide value for all of RAAM’s racers, partners and fans, has enhanced the value of the RAAM experience.

Stephens says, “It has been a joy to work with the inspiring RAAM Family. However, I can’t pass up the opportunity to provide leadership for cycling in my local community. RAAM is a part of my life, and I’ll continue to support the race however I can.”

The RAAM team will miss Jeff's experience! As with many RAAM Family members, you can be sure you'll see Jeff involved with the race in some way.

Your Race Director Off To the Races

Since I do most of the web updates, I get the chance to write about my next adventure as well. I’m leaving on the 13th for Vietnam for a footrace called Racing The Planet Vietnam. It’s a 6-day, staged,150 mile (250 kilometer) trek through the northern forests, jungles, and mountains of the Sapa region of Vietnam. The catch is we have to carry all of our stuff for those 6-days – food, gear, pack, sleeping bag, and so on. The planning of gear and food is meticulous, just as it is for RAAM; I hope to have everything under 25 pounds (11 kilograms, or less than 2 stones for the Brits out there).

I am racing with two good friends – Don Funk and Linda White – as a team. Team Atropos began in 1997 with Eco-Challenge British Columbia. Don has since raced many times with Linda and others under Team Atropos. While some are racing, we are aiming for a finish. I am far more of a cyclist with only one marathon under my belt though several 25+ mile single day hikes. Am I ready? Who knows though I am certainly looking forward to a new adventure, to an amazing landscape, a wonderfully friendly culture, and no email or phone for a week. You can check out the race and follow our progress at the website.

Please call or email Rick or Jeff with any questions until I return as I will have minimal email and phone access from the 16th until the 24th. I will return your emails and calls as soon as I can when I return.

Wish us luck!

ORS Smoothing Out

With the arrival of this new website, we also launched the new Online Registration System for Racers. This is where Racers enter their bio, make payments, order supplies, and more. When it went live we did a full test and it all worked. Something happened that caused a few issues and we apologize for the inconvenience. The problems have been addressed.

We sent out an email to each Entry about a week ago with the ORS login and password. We used the email address that was provided when you registered. If you have not received your ORS login and password, please contact us. We use this email for communication so please keep it current.

The instructions for using the ORS are now in the Resoures section.

Crew Packing Advice

Now that you have your crew assembled, they will likely be asking what they should pack for the journey. RAAM is not a typical week to two week trip where you pack a couple of suitcases of everything. There just isn't room. For as big as as RV seems, it will fill quickly with even minimal gear. Everything a Crew person brings should be essential. Here's an article of the essentials to help you prepare.

To help get your packing started, the RAAM Store offers a Crew Kit. You get a

  • RAAM Large Duffel Bag
  • RAAM Fleece Jacket
  • RAAM T-shirt
  • RAAM Socks
  • RAAM Baseball hat
  • RAAM Water Bottle or Travel Coffee Mug
  • RAAM Sticker

Download the order form to pre-order the RAAM Crew Kit.

Race Staff Coming Together

In 2007, Paul Zbiek was one of those who helped ensure the Finish Line was a welcome sight for Racers and a great celebration of their accomplishments. Paul returns in 2008 as the Finish Line Manager. We are excited to bring his experience and enthusiasm to Annapolis.

Like many who know RAAM, Barbara Franklin was hooked almost 20 years ago. She worked at RAAM Headquarters in the 80s. She took a long reprieve and returned a couple years ago to work again at RAAM Headquarters. For 2008, Barbara will be Headquarters Manager. Many of you talked with her on the phone last year. She has a cool head, a wealth of knowledge, and can help encourage any racer. Welcome back Barbara.

GPS Help Needed

The world of GPS is growing. If you are contemplating using vehicle or handheld GPS to support RAAM, other UMCA events, or whatever and want help with uploading turns, time stations, and routes to Magellan or TomTom gadgets I will redirect you to someone who has done it. Still looking for anyone with Garmin and other GPS receivers experience who is willing to share his knowledge with new users.

Getting lost can ruin your whole day!

Contact Peter Moffett to help out.

Hotel Offers in Annapolis
The RAAM staff is staying at the Best Western Annapolis. They have extended a group rate to RAAM of $79/night. It's a nice facility with plenty of parking for RVs and a free breakfast.

The Best Western is owned by a hotel company that also owns Springhill Suites in Annapolis. They have extended a group rate of $109/night to RAAM.

The Annapolis Marriott is the only hotel in downtown Annapolis. They have a gorgeous view of the Cheseapeake Bay and overlook the finish at the Annapolis City Dock. There group rate for RAAM racers is $229/night.

World Record Down Under
The European Top-Cyclist Gerhard Gulewicz went Down Under to beat the official world record in the last days of november.
His racing-goal was not just to beat the old record. He wanted to destroy it.
Time Vollebregt (the Australian Worlrecordholder until December 07): 8days, 10hours and 58minutes

The Austrian Gerhard Gulewicz was focused in this racing-goal after the sensational 3rd place in last years Race Across America. On the halfway point everything looked perfect for a new world record. But on the 6th day there was the horrible crash of Gerhard. Just 4 hours later, his wounds sticked in the hospital of yass, Gerhard was back in the race and reached Sydney Harbour the night after in new sensational worldrecord time.

New world record: 7days 8 hours and 49 minutes!!!

Racing Goals for 2008
Looking back on what happened in Australia and how Gerhard handled it, he just can top it with a victory in the RAAM 2008. Regardless of the paticipation of Jure Robic! Also, same as in the last years, Gerhard will take part in further races: Maybe the “Le tour ultime”, maybe a new world record attempt. But for sure in one for a charity-organisation.

Medical Condition
Gerhard healed his wounds after his accident in Australia and started his training last week. After the last medical check he can say to be in good condition but you can bet that it will be much more better in june!!

Details www.gerhardgulewicz.com

Peoplemanagement / People communication
Michael Jaksch
Pötschenweg 44 • A-8605 Kapfenberg
Tel. +43 (0)3862/53288 • Fax +43 (0)3862/53288-4 • Mobil +43 (0)676/7466466

UMCA Members Rally 2008 : Texas Hell Week
Come to Texas Hell Week! Ride with UMCAers who are participating in the Year-Rounder, getting a jump on spring training, or just enjoying riding in the Texas hill country.

Meet your Board of Directors, your Officers and your Program Chairs. Ask questions and make suggestions.

The UMCA's first national conclave is Texas Hell Week in Fredericksburg, TX, March 15-22, 2008. The hill country around Fredericksburg includes hundreds of miles of roads - an incredible place to ride. Note that it is "the hill country." The typical century has 4-5,000 feet of climbing.

Nick Gerlich, the former UMCA and RAAM director, organizes Hell Week. In addition to the Rides of March he'll also organize informational seminars.  Check out: http://hellweek.com

Women's Fitted T's and Large Duffles
The RAAM Store has restocked on Women's Fitted T's and large duffel bags. The women's fitted T's were quite popular last year and sold out quickly. The large duffel bags are a perfect size for crew gear.

January Store Sale
The RAAM Store has a number of items on sale through the end of January. Look sharp in a RAAM cycling jersey by Pearl Izumi for $63.99. We also have 2007 T-shirts (white and grey) for $9.99, 2006 DVDs for $9.99, and 32oz plastic water bottles for $9.99.

250 Racers and Counting!

RAAM is once again moving into new ground. We are past 250 Racers in RAAM, Race Across the West and the 24 Hour Challenge.

RAAM Presents a Spring Clinic at Hell Week
RAAM is an awesome event to prepare for, so many lists and details. RAAM Qualifiers are not as extensive, but still require a good deal of planning. Come join the RAAM Team as they present the first Spring Clinic to help you prepare for RAAM. We will teach you what we know and put out all the tips and tricks we've learned over the years from experience and talking with other Racers and Crews

Over the course of two days in mid-March we will present subjects to help you prepare for the logistics of RAAM or a RAAM Qualifier. We will have talks, skits, demonstrations, and hands-on exercise. This is logistics and planning only, we will have nothing on equipment, training, or nutrition. The clinic will be interactive; you will have to think and evaluate the same way you would have to during RAAM or a RAAM Qualifier. Saturday night we will plan a group dinner as well where rookies and veterans can exchange ideas and tell some great stories.

The Spring Clinic is being held during Hell Week, an annual event held in the Hill Country of Fredericksburg, Texas. Several hundred riders are there to get a jump on their spring training. After the clinic, stick around and ride for a few days or a week. Find out about Hell Week and Fredericksburg at their website.

When: Saturday March 15th and Sunday March 16th.
Where: Fredericksburg, Texas
Cost: $100
Who: Anyone! RAAM Racers, Crews, Qualifiers.

Three H.O.T. Guys Return

We are pleased to have the Head Official Trio (H.O.T.) of Johnny Boswell, Mike Roark, and Robb Warren returning for 2008 to lead our officiating staff. These three officiating veterans have more than 50 years of combined experience with the race in one capacity or another.
The threesome will manage all activities of the 25+ race officials. Moving the 200+ vehicle entourage and our 250 racers on the road, in a safe and respectful manner is their top priority. And, of course, they maintain the integrity of the competition.
We are excited to have such experienced, supportive, and downright good guys, back helping with RAAM.

2008 GEAR Book Available
Follow this link to the Resources section to download the 2008 GEAR Book.

New RAAM Website Progressing

Our Technical Directors, Gene Fourney and David Glade, continue to make great progress on the new RAAM website and Online Registration System. This is one of the largest projects RAAM is undertaking this year, perhaps even larger than we expected. Previously, we had guessed or hoped for the site to be up for the holidays, and it will be soon. We are extraordinarily pleased with the progress and the look.

Women in RAAM - A Strong Presence

This past year was a great year for women in RAAM. We had 25 female racers, spread across all divisions. There were 5 solos, a full team of 2 women, a full team of 4 women, and a full team of 8 women, plus several women on mixed teams. Eleanor Marks, age 65, on Team Donate Life - Heels on Wheels, set a benchmark as the oldest female competitor ever in RAAM.
The 2008 race is already looking like another banner year for participation by our female athletes. Already, 6 of the 9 entrants in the Race Across the West, are women. And, 4 of those are solo racers. Janet Christiansen and Nicole Honda (see picture) who finished RAAM in 2007 as a 2-Person Women's Team, are both returning to compete as solo racers. Janet will tackle the full RAAM, and Nicole will race in the 1,000 mile event. Janet and Nicole's example demonstrates that team racing is a perfect stepping stone to the legacy divisions of ultra cycling!
And, in another bit of exciting news, older female athletes are now following their male counterparts into RAAM team racing. Last year, Team Kalyra (see picture) was a 4-woman team whose ages almost averaged 50+. Nonetheless, they raced like gals half their age, finishing in 7 days, 6 hours! Aptly, they rode to support Girls, Inc.
This year we already have registrations for a 50+ 4-Person Women's Team (Team ??) and a 60+ 4-Person Women's Team (Serpentine Golden Girls, UK)!!
The RAAM Team will continue to celebrate the women that stretch their limits and consider RAAM as an ultimate life and fitness goal.

First Draft of the 2008 Rules Available
Follow this link to the Resources section to download the 2008 Rules.

RAAM at Interbike

the RAAM Management Team attended the Interbike Trade Show in Las Vegas to further our work in securing partnerships for RAAM. We were encouraged by the cycling industry's reception of RAAM as the premier endurance event in the world, and by their recognition of the legacy of RAAM.
RAAM Field Reporter, Jeric Wilhelmsen, joined us for a few days and captured some video of the event. Click to watch the 4-minute video - Interbike video report
We visited with numerous RAAM veterans, including solo greats, Jonathan Boyer, Tinker Jaurez, David Hasse, George Thomas, Steve Born, Shanna Armstrong, and Kenny Souza. Of course, there were more. We also chatted with numerous relay team participants and made a special effort to recruit relay team members for the future.
Perhaps our most respectful, and realistic, endorsements came from the famous broadcast team of Phil Liggett and Bob Roll. Phil Liggett shared his surprising insight into RAAM (gained through traditional racing greats - turned RAAM veterans, Jonathan Boyer and Eric Hieden) and then signed our RAAM photo with the challenging inscription: ""RAAM - This IS the ONE to do!"" (Can't you just hear him say that?)
Bob Roll, ever the jester, flipped the picture over, and laughingly exclaimed while he signed: ""RAAM - This is NOT the one to do. It hurts!"" Bob, a domestique for the great 7-11 team in the 1970s- 80s, fully understands the challenge of RAAM and despite his witty ways, paid us a great deal of respect with his comments. Of course, we challenged him to gather his old 7-11 teammates and form a RAAM relay team. Hmmmm

Fall Festival Recap

The inaugaral RAAM Fall Festival in Boulder, CO, was a great event! Approximately 40 veterans and fans showed up throughout the day for the ride, the BBQ, or the video. They came from all over - California, New York, Wisconsin, Missouri, Ohio, and of course Colorado.

Ten riders headed out for a great fall ride to enjoy the fall colors here in Colorado. They were sagged by none other than Lee 'Fuzzy' Mitchell.

There was Eric who just joined the UMCA a couple weeks ago. Mark and Sheree crewed for Rob Templin in 1991 and worked Time Stations. They brought some great memorabilia. Bonnie Allison, oldest solo women's finisher, and her husband Mike showed up. More recent racers included Tim Case and John Palmer. Each had great stories and memories of the race!

Perhaps the best quote came from Richie Kondzielaski who said, RAAM is like Hotel California, you can check out, but you can never leave. Indeed, once you are part of the RAAM Family, you are always with us.

We've posted pictures in the RAAM Photo Gallery.

Check your calendars now as we'll host this again next year and look forward to seeing even more of the RAAM Family!

DVD Available of 2007 Race

The DVD of the 2007 Race Across America is now available at the RAAM Store. Those at the Fall Festival were treated to the first look at another great production from Allen Larsen, the 2003 Champion. As with the 2006 video, Allen does a great job of capturing what the race is about from the excitement at the start to the toils of the miles and ultimately the finish. As with most RAAM videos, you can't help but get caught up in the emotional ride of RAAM.

There are two moments in the DVD that struck me, both from the perspective as the Race Director and a competitor.

Zach Bingham has raced 4-Person Team RAAM 6 times with Vail/Beaver Creek/Catlin. In those 6 races he has won 4 times and placed second once pushing the winning team to a new record in the process. Zach knows a thing or two about RAAM and Team Racing. In the interview Zach has this to say about safety - It goes back to safety. We're not going to be able to win or get any kind of record if only two or three of us are riding. If someone hurts themselves, you're not going very fast. Be safe, be careful. Go as hard as we can. Zach has it right now - Safety is first and foremost!

RAAM takes its toll on everyone and sooner or later we wonder what were we thinking. Near the end of the race Allen encounters John Spurgeon making his way through the Appalachians. John asks Allen if he ever lost his motivation during the race. Allen answers 'Yes', which is probably where most have been. Allen continues by saying, Regardless of whether it's true that this is stupid and useless - that may be true. But that's not a reason to quit. Racers have so many opportunities to quit and sometimes almost any reason will do. But Allen's right, RAAM can be many things at different times, even stupid and useless. Still the strong know the journey and finishing holds more meaning that any possible thoughts of quitting.

We'll get a full review posted soon.

RAAM Has a New Finish

We are excited to announce that Annapolis, MD, will host the Finish for the 2008 race. RAAM will be racing into history as Annapolis celebrates its 300th anniversary in 2008.

The entire RAAM family is grateful for the support of Atlantic City, NJ which has hosted the finish for the past five years. RAAM's new management team spent considerable time defining the necessary criteria and needs for a finish line host city, and several months of scouting the possible candidates. After visiting a half dozen cities in person, we have selected Annapolis.

Annapolis is a beautiful, historic, and quaint city which sits on the picturesque backdrop of the Chesapeake Bay. The city and its Mayor, Ellen Moyer, have a keen interest and track record of supporting environmental friendly activities. Obviously, a cycling event of RAAM's magnitude is of great interest to the Mayor and the city. We expect a warm welcome and strong partnership with Annapolis in 2008 and beyond.

Annapolis sits within a region that has a large cycling presence. Washington, DC, and Baltimore boast two of the largest bike clubs in the US with several thousand members each. Additionally, two prominent bike shops and owners are excited to partner with us. Thank you to Parker Jones of Capital Bicycle in Annapolis for serving as a RAAMbassador during our negotiations with Annapolis. Larry Black of Mt Airy Bicycles will be hosting Time Station 52 at his shop. This will also serve as the Penalty Box. Both will be of great help in spreading the news about RAAM in the DC/Baltimore markets.

We are excited for the change and look forward to an amazing finish in Annapolis.

Taos or Bust - A New 1000 Miles Race for 2008

Over time RAAM, has added pieces to the race which enable more racers to experience the journey that is RAAM. In the 90s, 4-Person teams were added. Just five years ago, 8-Person teams were added and more recently the 24 Hour Challenge was started.

In 2008, we are introducing a new event: a 1000 mile race starting in Oceanside and finishing in Taos, NM. The 1000 mile event fills the void between the traditional 500 mile races and the full challenge of RAAM. We recognize that there are many racers, particularily aspiring RAAM rookies, that will find the commitment to race 1,000 miles, a much less overwhelming proposition than a full RAAM. There are few races in the world of this distance and this will be the first in the US.

Just as with the 24 Hour Challenge and the teams, 1000 mile racers will race directly against those going to Annapolis across the beautiful western portion of the course. It's truly a chance for racers to test themselves in a new distance and see if they want to step up to the ultimate race - RAAM!

Expect a great event as RAAM brings its experience and history to this unique distance.

Over 1200 Miles of New Route for RAAM 2008

For the past 5 years the RAAM route has remained largely the same with only minor changes. With the help of lots of maps, local knowledge, and already a first drive of the 2008 route by Route Designer, Peter Moffett, we have over 1200 miles of new roads in 2008!

The changes start with skirting south around the Salton area saving everyone from riding on the interstate. The next change also reduces 40 miles of interstate in Arizona as we skip Williams and instead head straight from Prescott, AZ, to Flagstaff, AZ, via Cottonwood and Sedona and some beautiful climbs and descents.

The biggest change is an updated route from Pagosa Springs, CO, to near Pratt, KS. The route will dip south taking in Chama before heading over Cumbres Pass and La Manga Pass on the way to Taos, NM. Racers will encounter half of the beautiful Enchanted Circle and Red River Pass before heading east across New Mexico. After a very brief touch in Texas, the route angles across the panhandle of Oklahoma and into Kansas.

The route and Time Stations from Pratt, KS, to Effingham, IL, remain unchanged. For the past several years, racers have had incredible support from Time Station Staff in this stretch and we hope that continues!

The second major change is shifting the route between Effingham, IL, and Athens, OH. Instead of heading up to Indianapolis, the route will pass through Indiana University and the infamous Little 500 Stadium in Bloomington. If you're not familiar with the cycling lore of this region, please go rent the movie "Breaking Away!" In Ohio the route passes between Dayton and Cincinnati through some very bike friendly areas.

The final change is the finish. We will hit Hanover, PA, and unfortunately miss Time Station 54 in Georgetown, PA. From Hanover we head south to Mt Airy, MD, and then squeeze between Baltimore and DC on the way to the finish.

As always the route is spectacular and continues to offer all the challenges the American landscape can throw at the racers - heat, mountains, the plains, and the hills of the east.

The Time Station list is on the 2008 Route Page.

Spring Clinics and Mentor Networks

It takes a lot of preparation to get ready to race RAAM. Everything from vehicle set up to recruiting crew to practicing team exchanges. Growing your knowledge takes time as you read articles from websites and talk with those veterans in the RAAM family who have competed in RAAM.

We have learned that with the growing popularity of RAAM, in particular the team divisions, that many racing teams have limited RAAM experience, and struggle to get the answers they need to build the infrastructure needed to get to the start line.

To help the process of preparation for RAAM, or for a qualifier, we have begun planning to host several RAAM Clinics this spring. These clinics will offer seminars on various topics for preparation, question and answer sessions, live demonstrations, and hands-on work. Additionally, we are also compiling a list of volunteer mentors from our RAAM family, to answer your questions as the year progresses.

Look for details in the coming months!

RAAM Website Overhaul Has Begun

The RAAM website needed an overhaul - and it's on the way. We are fortunate to have found two excellent developers to rebuild the RAAM website, give it a fresh new look and bring everything together in one place. Gene Fourney and David Glade both bring their strong technical backgrounds to the project and both have ultracycling experience so have RAAM in their heart. Gene's brother Bob raced several times and is well known; David's career is on and off, but extends back to the early 80s.

We will improve the navigation and the look. We will update the content. It may take some time to build up all the content, but it will be a source of information for anyone considering RAAM or a qualifier. We will have a new registration system that's entirely online. Every racer will be able to enter and edit their own information right at the website with the roster, etc automatically updated from that.

The registration system will be available by late November and you'll see the new website towards the end of the year. Over time all the areas will be filled in.

We are excited to be working with Gene and David and the website that will come from their work!

Race Updates for 2008

Start City - We're back! We're pleased to announce that RAAM 2008 will start in Oceanside, CA. With the historic Oceanside Pier and the amazing beachfront venue, Oceanside is a great starting location for the race. Oceanside is eager to host RAAM again and our partnership is strong.

Time Allowance -As part of our comprehensive review of the race we examined the issue of time allowances and cutoffs for all divisions. Based upon our review, historical contexts, comments from racers, and communication with RAAM veterans, we have adjusted the allowances for all divisions. The following are the new Time Allowances which is documented below:

  • Solo Men - 288 hours (12 days)
  • Solo Men 60+ - 309 hours (12 days 21 hours)
  • Solo Women - 309 hours (12 days 21 hours)
  • Teams - 216 hours (9 days)

Start Dates - As expected RAAM will again start in the same timeframe as the past several years. Based upon Time Allowances above, the start times (Pacific Daylight Time) are:

  • Solo Women - Saturday June 7, 2008 12:00pm
  • Solo 60+ Men - Saturday June 7, 2008 12:00pm
  • Solo Men - Sunday, June 8, 2008 12:00pm
  • All 24 Hours of RAAM Teams - Sunday, June 8, 2008 12:00pm
  • All Teams - Wednesday, June 11, 2008 2:00pm

Documentation - We are rapidly moving forward with plans for the 2008 race. We have updated various documents which are available at the website. The following are now on the website.

  • Divisions
  • Race Time and Checkpoints
  • What's Included
  • Registration, Refunds, Late Fee Policies

The Return of the 24 Hours of RAAM

RAAM announces the return of the 24 Hours of RAAM. Now in its fourth year, the 24 Hours of RAAM is your chance to get a taste of the world's toughest bicycle race. Experience the start line festivities amongst those going to the Atlantic Ocean. Then embark on the course which covers the first 500 miles of the RAAM course from Oceanside, CA, to Flagstaff, AZ, and takes in over 20,000 feet of climbing. The record is less than 24 hours - can you break 24 hours?

Now is the time to start thinking about this adventure. Talk to you friends and co-workers about entering a 4-Person or 8-Person Team. This is a great way to build teamwork and share in such a unique opportunity. Erik Conklin has raced all three and has this to say about the 24 Hour event, "The 24 Hour Challenge is RAAM's really tough little brother- shorter, but more intense!"

For full information about RAAM and the 24 Hours of RAAM, go to the website - www.raceacrossamerica.org. You can also email Erik Conklin, the RAAM 24 Hour Representative, at grampa24hour@yahoo.com.

Announcing RAAM Fall Festival

We are excited to announce the newest RAAM Experience - the RAAM Fall Festival. A celebration of the people and inspiration of one of the world's greatest experiences!

Join your RAAM Family in Boulder, CO, USA, on October 13, 2007, for a day of camaraderie, story-telling, and of course a little food and a little riding. Full details here.

See you there!

First 2008 RAAM Entrant

PAC Masters is the first team entrant for the 2008 race! After inspiring us with their 1995 debut in the 60+ category, they returned in 2004 in the 70+ division with a 7d 16h crossing. They'll be out there again inspiring us all and proving ability has no age limits! Welcome back!

Route Planning for the 2008 Race Underway

The RAAM team is updating the RAAM course for the 2008 race. Based upon early discussions we could have more than 1000 miles of new course. Peter Moffett, Route Designer, has planned a scouting trip in September. After that trip we should be able to confirm any changes.

The major changes we are looking at are:

  • A new route from Durango, CO, to Pratt, KS, that goes through Taos, touch a corner of Texas, and into Oklahoma before heading back into Kansas.
  • A new route from Effingham, IL, to Athens, OH, that goes through Bloomington, IN, home of the Little 500 before squeezing between Cincinatti and Dayton.

There are a few minor changes as well.

We have great Time Station support in Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois which we hope to continue. We plan to continue to go through outdoor enthusiast towns such as Congress, Prescott, Flagstaff, Cortez, and Durango.

We are excited about the changes and adding notable towns such as Taos and Bloomington. As we scout the new route, we plan to pass along details and confirmation of various sections.

2008 Pre-Registration Open

Pre-registration for the 2008 Race Across America is now open. Reserve your spot now as we are likely to limit the number of racers for the 2008 race. Go to the RAAM Store and put down a deposit of $500 for a Solo Entry or $1000 a Team Entry. With your pre-registration, please be sure to provide your name, phone number, email, and category. Complete online registration will be available in October.

Entry Fees for the race are:

  • Solo: Before December 15, 2007 - $1995. After December 15, 2007 - $2295.
  • 2-Person Team: Before December 15, 2007 - $2995. After December 15, 2007 - $3395.
  • 4-Person Team: Before December 15, 2007 - $4795. After December 15, 2007 - $5695.
  • 8-Person Team: Before December 15, 2007 - $7995. After December 15, 2007 - $8995.

Start date for 2008 will very likely be the same timeframe as 2007 with an expected start of June 8, 2008.

Start date, start location, finish location, and cutoffs to be confirmed within the next six weeks.

RAAM Seeks Technical Director

The 2007 Race Across America was a great race with some of the best web-based race coverage ever. The race has been growing the last couple of years and we expect that growth to continue. We are at a point where we need a healthy infusion of technology to advance our efficiency and prepare for the future.

RAAM, the World's Toughest Bicycle Race, is seeking a Technical Director to direct our technology efforts and help facilitate our growth. You should have experience in project management, working as a team, and using current technology. As Technical Director, you would be working with an experienced management team who are also race veterans.

If your passion is cycling and technology, you can apply or request more information from Terry Zmrhal, Race Director, at director@raceacrossamerica.org or 303-956-7226.

2008 Dates

The 2007 race is done! The Management Team has begun our review of the 2007 race in preparation for 2008. The starting dates of early June have worked well the past six years. Working within that time frame puts the solo race start on Sunday June 8th and teams on Tuesday June 10th. We will confirm these dates later this summer after a full review of this year and we have a plan in place for 2008. Enjoy your summer!


Perry Stone steps in

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