RAAM, any newbies advice?

by wheelz   August 5, 2014  

Hi all,

I know its stupid, but I really fancy a crack at this.

I would like some honest advice on the event, and what it takes to complete. Thinking

I'm a club cyclist of 53 years of age, if that's any use.

Cheers,

wheelz.

13 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Well first of all, you need to do an event that can qualify you to compete in RAAM, alot of people don't know that, the problem being, there are only two each year in the UK and they are both 24hr TT's

http://www.raceacrossamerica.org/raam/raam2.php?N_webcat_id=230

So once you know what you are aiming for, you should set your goals to get qualified. If you do then qualify, you will need to raise a shed load of cash, for a solo effort, you need to have a minimum of 6 Crew and 2 Support Vehicles. One normally being some kind of motorhome. Then you need to think about fuelling them both for around 8000 miles (4000 each).

You need to find a good crew with experience and cover their costs of getting to and from RAAM. In many ways you are just as cheap to take crew from the UK as you are to finding them in America.

You need food for all the crew, insurance, $2000 for the entry fee, Start and Finish line hotels for everyone because you need to be there before the event a couple of days to sort everything out.

Coming from the UK, I'd estimate you'd need to budget at least £25,000 to make sure everything was covered, I wouldn't say you'll need all that, but better to be safe than sorry.

Then you need to work out that you have 12 days to cycle over 3000 miles, you have to make certain times to continue in the race, there are time stations and cut off deadlines. Where if you are not at station 6 by X time, you are out of the race.

So it isn't just simply working out, 3000/12 and thinking, I can get away with 250 miles per day.

If I haven't put you off yet, I could go into more detail or put you in touch with people who can go more in depth and have done it themselves.

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9001 posts]
5th August 2014 - 12:01

121 Likes

Gkam84 wrote:
Coming from the UK, I'd estimate you'd need to budget at least £25,000 to make sure everything was covered, I wouldn't say you'll need all that, but better to be safe than sorry.

Then you need to work out that you have 12 days to cycle over 3000 miles, you have to make certain times to continue in the race, there are time stations and cut off deadlines. Where if you are not at station 6 by X time, you are out of the race.

Well there's motivation for you, at least! Surprise Big Grin

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3418 posts]
5th August 2014 - 12:28

116 Likes

Why not just tour across America? Take 2 months' unpaid leave. Buy a plane ticket into New York and back out of San Francisco or wherever. Is something not exciting to you if it's not a race?

posted by chokofingrz [310 posts]
5th August 2014 - 12:30

117 Likes

I was talking to a girl at Easter whose team had qualified, and she reckoned £30k to do it. I can't remember if that was for 4, or each.

posted by DrJDog [168 posts]
5th August 2014 - 12:34

116 Likes

Admit it. P-Middy is your inspiration, isn't she? Big Grin

I perused the RAAM website after reading about the exploits of Pippa and her merry men. Gkam is absolutely right about a qualifying ride. There is something in there about showing the organisers you're capable of the challenge without doing the official qualifiers. I don't know how; maybe send them a bunch of Strava details showing you can do 400 miles in one go. You also have to attend a RAAM seminar.

If you're covering everyone's costs, I'll be on your crew! Drooling

Him Up North's picture

posted by Him Up North [235 posts]
5th August 2014 - 12:36

116 Likes

You can show them your ability by taking on certain challenges, like doing LeJog in 3 days or anything like that, but it all has to be agreed by UMCA beforehand.

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9001 posts]
5th August 2014 - 13:03

117 Likes

Before you dream about racing RAAM or even qualifying, you might want to do some audaxes. Especially the longer ones - being able to ride some biggy like London-Edinburgh-London should give you an idea, how it must be like to race across America.

Long distance rides are proper good fun. Good luck!

posted by Cycling Saxman [3 posts]
5th August 2014 - 13:32

116 Likes

What about looking at TransAm Bike Race, no date set for next year, but it was just turn up and ride...

posted by jimc101 [60 posts]
5th August 2014 - 14:28

116 Likes

I really wanted to do this and started making plans to get seriously tuned up for endurance riding. My wife then bought me the book "Hell on two wheels" by Amy Snyder (link: http://www.hellontwowheelsbook.com/ )

It's not the best of reads, but it was a sufficient view from the inside as to the realities of the race for both rider and crew. It turned my opinion from "this is a really great challenge" to "this is an unacceptably dangerous endeavour" (which I suspect was my wife's aim Smile )

I've changed focus and will race in next year's Le Mans 24h as a solo entrant. The draw for that is it about as pure an environment as you could hope for as a cyclist - no traffic, no traffic signals, no manhole covers - albeit at the cost of some decent scenery. It will allow me to experience my limits in a much safer environment.

Basically, the lesson from the book was "Don't underestimate the task that is the RAAM". If you go for it, go with your eyes wide open and prepare yourself and your crew meticulously.

Good luck - it's a very select club of people that you will join if you complete it.

neildmoss's picture

posted by neildmoss [203 posts]
5th August 2014 - 14:53

116 Likes

Personally, if I was in the frame of mind for taking on RAAM, I'd look at something similar closer to home first.

1, to see that I have the ability to go day in day out without much sleep and still get the miles in.
2, to form a strong crew, weed out those unable to cope with what is needed over a 10 day event, because the crew also get little sleep.

Many more reasons aswell. For UK riders.

Take a look at Race around Ireland http://racearoundireland.com/

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9001 posts]
5th August 2014 - 15:09

114 Likes

Gkam84 wrote:
Well first of all, you need to do an event that can qualify you to compete in RAAM, alot of people don't know that, the problem being, there are only two each year in the UK and they are both 24hr TT's

http://www.raceacrossamerica.org/raam/raam2.php?N_webcat_id=230

So once you know what you are aiming for, you should set your goals to get qualified. If you do then qualify, you will need to raise a shed load of cash, for a solo effort, you need to have a minimum of 6 Crew and 2 Support Vehicles. One normally being some kind of motorhome. Then you need to think about fuelling them both for around 8000 miles (4000 each).

You need to find a good crew with experience and cover their costs of getting to and from RAAM. In many ways you are just as cheap to take crew from the UK as you are to finding them in America.

You need food for all the crew, insurance, $2000 for the entry fee, Start and Finish line hotels for everyone because you need to be there before the event a couple of days to sort everything out.

Coming from the UK, I'd estimate you'd need to budget at least £25,000 to make sure everything was covered, I wouldn't say you'll need all that, but better to be safe than sorry.

Then you need to work out that you have 12 days to cycle over 3000 miles, you have to make certain times to continue in the race, there are time stations and cut off deadlines. Where if you are not at station 6 by X time, you are out of the race.

So it isn't just simply working out, 3000/12 and thinking, I can get away with 250 miles per day.

If I haven't put you off yet, I could go into more detail or put you in touch with people who can go more in depth and have done it themselves.

I have to admit I was highly impressed with the quality of your answer. You sound very knowledgeable about the subject. I was taken aback it was written by you. I have been so used to your slight of hand comments and your backwards logic I had to look twice to make sure I was reading right and you were the author. Very nice response. Very nice of you.

posted by benji p [54 posts]
5th August 2014 - 16:24

114 Likes

neildmoss wrote:
I really wanted to do this and started making plans to get seriously tuned up for endurance riding. My wife then bought me the book "Hell on two wheels" by Amy Snyder (link: http://www.hellontwowheelsbook.com/ )

It's not the best of reads, but it was a sufficient view from the inside as to the realities of the race for both rider and crew. It turned my opinion from "this is a really great challenge" to "this is an unacceptably dangerous endeavour" (which I suspect was my wife's aim Smile )

I've changed focus and will race in next year's Le Mans 24h as a solo entrant. The draw for that is it about as pure an environment as you could hope for as a cyclist - no traffic, no traffic signals, no manhole covers - albeit at the cost of some decent scenery. It will allow me to experience my limits in a much safer environment.

Basically, the lesson from the book was "Don't underestimate the task that is the RAAM". If you go for it, go with your eyes wide open and prepare yourself and your crew meticulously.

Good luck - it's a very select club of people that you will join if you complete it.

Damn nice post. Couldn't have been clearer. Good job.

posted by benji p [54 posts]
5th August 2014 - 16:27

114 Likes

thanks for that, it certainly gives me a lot to think about. I will look into doing a few events closer to home first. a few club mates done a 24 hr TT earlier in the year, I`ll see what it takes to get on that team.

Thanks again.

wheelz.

wheelz

wheelz's picture

posted by wheelz [63 posts]
6th August 2014 - 9:35

104 Likes