Race Across America (RAAM) is one the most respected and longest-running endurance sporting event. It is the toughest endurance cycling race at present, where the cyclist has to cover
RAAM has been challenging ultra-cyclists from around the globe to push their physical and mental limits to the farthest reaches. Starting in Oceanside, under one of the longest piers in California, RAAM spans 3000 miles, climbs 175,000 feet, crosses 12 states and finishes at City Dock in Annapolis, Maryland, the east coast sailing mecca. The route travels west to east, traversing three major mountain ranges (Sierra, Rocky and Appalachian), crosses four of America’s longest rivers (Colorado, Mississippi, Missouri and Ohio) and the Great Plains. The route passes through iconic American landmarks as the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts and Monument Valley.
Compared with the three-week, 2,200-mile Tour de France, which is generally acknowledged to be the world`s most demanding event, RAAM requires relatively low power outputs, but RAAM`s unceasing nature and epic-length (800 miles more than the Tour de France) in roughly a third of the time makes it in some ways, a purer test of grit and determination. In short, RAAM is the true test of speed, endurance, strength and camaraderie.
The team was fully ready for the ultimate challenge at Race Across America 2019 as TEAM INSPIRE INDIA. A contender in the solo category of RAAM and had an aim to bring home the ARMED FORCES CUP from RAAM. The training drill was off the mark and we did Ultra Spice Race 2019 as a simulation ride with the complete crew who were to accompany me at RAAM. Our strategy, nutrition planning, sleep pattern, etc everything was put to test to extract the most out of the event. This event not only marked me as the winner of the 1750 km race by a big margin but also established me as the new record bearer for the 1750 km Goa-Ooty-Goa route. During the final spell of training in Borrego Springs, California, I broke my right collar bone during a ride on 20 May 2019 just 20 days before the start. We had to forgo the event to heal the injury. It was a team decision in the best interest for a full-fledged comeback for RAAM 2020.
Three months on from the injury, I was in good shape to get back to training sessions. In the month of Oct 2019, I successfully cruised to attempt the Guinness Record for solo cycling from Kashmir to Kanyakumari with a new set of support crew. Without any prior experience of working together, we traversed the length of India (3604Km) in 08 days 09 hours & 45 minutes surpassing the existing milestone by almost 02 days. This achievement circulated a new sense of spark in the team to brace for RAAM 2020 with double the zeal.
In 2020, we were preparing for the Race Across America (RAAM) with a new zeal and our team was in high spirits for it. But, as fate would have it, the world was struck by the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in the cancellation of sporting events around the world. RAAM 2020 was cancelled and all the entries were rolled over to the year 2021.
As I was well trained to face the toughest challenge at RAAM 2020 and didn't want it to go in vain. I jotted down a plan for myself for the year to keep myself focused on training and my team motivated. We had a mix of outdoor and indoor events making it the most active year to date. Virtual Race Across America, HOODOO 500, Everesting, Ultra Spice 1750 km, Leh-Manali and Golden Quadrilateral were the major events which we did braving the COVID-19 threat.
Despite one year of the pandemic, the situation hasn`t become conducive for the smooth conduct of any sporting event. International travel is still restricted to essential movements and involved mandatory quarantine procedures. It wouldn't have been a logical decision to approach RAAM in such circumstances, hence the team decided to further postpone the solo attempt at RAAM to 2022.
Looking forward to RAAM 2022.
The difference between success and failure is a great team.
Coach & Strategist
Assistant Crew Chief