Information pulled from the official Race Across America Website
For 36 years RAAM has been challenging ultracyclists 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. Also, passing through such iconic American landmarks as the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts, Monument Valley, Great Plains and Gettysburg.
Open to amateur and professional racers, in solo, 2-, 4- and 8-person relay teams, there is no other race in the world comparable to RAAM. The Race has become a global icon, having had over 35 countries represented. Not only has RAAM proved to be one of the most challenging races in the world, but has become a huge platform for racers to raise awareness and money for charities of their choice. Racers have raised over $2 million per year over the past 5 years.
Becoming an official RAAM finisher means claiming ultra-racing’s most coveted jersey and medal…and, for the lucky few that win their race division, the prized USA plaque…and being among the elite family who call themselves RAAM Finishers. RAAM will always sit at the pinnacle of ultra-racing accomplishments…don’t miss your opportunity to race to the top! Tailwinds.
RAAM is a race! But, unlike the three great Europeon Grand Tours (Tour de France, Vuelta a Espana and Giro de Italia), RAAM is not a stage race. RAAM is one continual stage, once the clock starts it does not stop until the finish line. It is the world’s longest time trial…the ultimate race of truth.
RAAM is about 30% longer than the Tour de France. Moreover, racers must complete the distance in roughly half the time, with no rest days.
RAAM is not limited to professional cyclists. RAAM is open to professional and amateur athletes alike. While solo racers must qualify to compete, anyone may organize a team and race.
Racers must cycle 3000 miles, across 12 states, and climb over 170,000 vertical feet. Team racers have a maximum of nine days but most finish in about seven and a half with the fastest in just over 5 days. Solo racers have a maximum of 12 days to complete the race, most finishing in 11 days with the fastest finishing in under 8 days.
Racers come from all over the world and all walks of life. Racers are both amateurs and professionals. The majority are ordinary people, with full time jobs and a passion for riding their bicycle. Racers range in age from 13 to 75. Approximately 50 % of the racers are from outside the US. About 18% of the racers are women.
Every year there are racers from at least 20 countries. Over 35 countries, from six continents, have been represented over the 35-year history of the race.
When asked why? Some might echo George Mallory’s sentiment about Mt. Everest, “Because it’s there!”
For most racers the why is not quite so simple. Reasons include raising money for a charitable cause, winning a division, setting a record, seeing the country, sharing an experience with friends, adding their name to the distinguished roster of finishers, etc. But, overwhelmingly most people race RAAM simply to have fun and challenge themselves.