This bike ride I am starting in April to raise awareness for Youth Mentoring is going to cover about 3014 miles. Lots of people have asked me how I came up with the route. It’s a short answer, but a longer story. The short answer is RAAM – the Race Across America.
The longer story starts around 1979 or 1980. I read an article in my League of American Wheelmen magazine (now League of American Bicyclists) about this guy named John Marino who rode his bike across the US in less than 2 weeks. He had a support crew follow his path so he could spend a lot of time on the bike. Shortly afterwards, the modern movement of trans-national cycling competition began. Other riders began challenging the marks made by Marino. In 1982 a group of these riders decided they were ready for a head-to-head race across the US. In its first year, the Race Across America (RAAM) was called the Great American Bike Race. Four riders lined up on the pier in Santa Monica and raced to New York. The winner was Lon Haldeman. Since then the race has been run every year, always west to east. It was even featured on ABC’s Wide World of Sports. Growing up in the 60’s and 70’s this show was part of our mindset: “Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sport… the thrill of victory… and the agony of defeat… the human drama of athletic competition… This is ABC’s Wide World of Sports!”
My planned path is leveraging the 2012 RAAM route as the foundation. My thinking is that if someone else has taken this route, it should be somewhat bicycle friendly and fairly direct. Even though it was a good starting point, I have spent many hours with google maps to flush out the final route. I will put additional details in other posts. In the meantime let’s all empathize with that ski jumper during “the agony of defeat..”
Wide World of Sports Introduction: [www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7frGJf77AA]
The Lone Rider