Austrian cyclist Christoph Strasser has won the men’s solo category in the Race Across America (RAAM) for the third time in three years, in the process setting the fastest speed ever for the coast-to-coast event’s history.
British rider Mark Pattinson currently lies second, but still has nearly 500 miles to ride. Meanwhile, another Briton, Mike Hall, is leading the inaugural Trans Am Bike Race, which unlike RAAM is unsupported and covers a longer distance.
The distance of RAAM, first raced in 1982, has varied from 2,901 miles in 1994 to 3,170 miles in 1983, but no-one has completed it in a shorter time than Strasser, who previously won the race in 2011 and 2013, has this year.
The 32-year-old rode the 3,020 route from Oceanside, California to Annapolis, Maryland in 7 days 15 hours 56 minutes – that’s 6 hours 56 minutes than he did last year, when the course was 26.7 miles shorter – at an average speed of 16.42 miles an hour.
Pattinson, in second place, has now passed the 44th of the race’s 55 checkpoints, while his closest challenger, the Italian Nico Valsesia, has been through 43 of them so far.
The other British entrant in the men’s solo category, Chris ‘Hoppo’ Hopkinson, currently lies eighth, while in the women’s race, which is being led by the American Janice Sheufelt, the UK’s Shusanah Pillinger is fourth of the five cyclists still riding.
RAAM has attracted an unusual amount of attention in the mainstream press this year in the UK and abroad due to the presence in the team race of the Duchess of Cambridge’s sister, Pippa Middleton.
The Michael Matthews Foundation Team she and her brother James are riding for is currently fifth among the eight entrants in the eight-person team category, having ridden 1,843.7 miles in less than four days at an average speed of 18.88 miles and hour, the relay format explaining the higher average speed compared to the solo events.
You can keep up to date with all the latest information about the race on its website.
Meanwhile, Yorkshireman Hall – winner in 2012 of the World Cycle Racing Grand Tour – has just passed Springfield, Missouri having completed more than 2,900 miles of the 4,233 mile route from Astoria, Oregon to Yorktown, Virginia.
He’s almost 80 miles ahead of the second placed rider, the Canadian Jason Lane, and you can check the riders’ progress through the Trans Am Bike Race website, and Hall is also providing updates on Twitter.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.