170,000 feet of climbing
Oceanside, California to Annapolis, Maryland
In less than 12 days
The Race Across America (RAAM) is a non-stop race similar to a time trial. The race starts on Tuesday, June 10, 2014 at 12 pm (noon) at the Oceanside Pier and does not stop until the East Coast finish line is reached. To be considered an official finisher, male solo racers must reach Annapolis, Maryland City Dock by June 23, 3 pm. Solo racers will need to ride 250-350 miles a day to reach this goal.
RAAM is known as the world’s toughest bike race on account of its distance, elevation gain, and time restriction. In comparison to the Tour de France, RAAM is nearly 50% longer and must be completed in less than half of the time – without rest days. The elevation gain is equivalent to summiting Mt. Everest four times.
Racers, both amateur and professional, hail from all over the world. Team and solo racers range in age from 13 to 75. Approximately 40% of the racers are from outside the US and about 15% of the racers are women. A list of this year’s team and solo racers can be found at the RAAM website.
RAAM solo racers must qualify to compete. Competitors are required to qualify in a RAAM Qualifying Race or “RAAM Style” event which generally involves distances over 350 miles and a race average of 10.5+ mph. Marshall qualified by successfully completing the 2013 Sebring 24 Hour race with 417.1 miles and a first place finish in the 55-59 age group.
The first organized bicycle race across the United States, then known as the Great American Bike Race, took place in 1982 and consisted of four riders. Three of the 4 riders crossed the US on steel-framed road bikes with standard pedals and handlebars. In subsequent years, the number of RAAM competitors has substantially grown as has bicycle technology. This year 48 solo racers will toe the line on carbon fiber bikes in an attempt to finish the race and perhaps break Christoph Strasser’s 2013 record of 7 days, 22 hours and 11 minutes (15.58 mph avg speed).