They're off! Race Across America begins with high hopes for Brit relay team

Strategic Lions aim to smash record for 8-man relay

by Sarah Barth   June 17, 2012  

RAAM 2012 Official Team Photo

They’re off! Race Across America team competition has begun - a 3,000 mile slog across the continent, beginning in Oceanside, California, and ending in Annapolis, Maryland, in a few day’s time.

Unlike the Tour de France and other multi-stage events, RAAM is more like a time trial. Once the clock starts, it doesn’t stop, and what’s more, amateurs and pros alike can compete.

Riders come from 25 countries across the world to race in one of the categories: Solo, 2-Person, 4-Person, 8-Person. Among them, winners of the 8-man team category last year, is the British Strategic Lions Cycling Team, raising money for Help The Heroes.

Last year they won in just 5 days, 9 hours and 14 minutes, racing in a relay format with one rider always on the road, which works out at about three hours a day each in the saddle.

This year the group of enthusiastic amateurs - including Strategic Team Group’s managing director Andrew Watson; former triple national road champion and Olympian John Tanner; and time trial legend Kev Dawson - aim to beat that record by at least 11 minutes to smash the overall category record.

The team, kitted out with Scott bikes and equipment, is currently in third position in the race, and we’ll be following them with regular updates as their progress unfolds.

We profiled the riders last week; you can read all about them here.

Help for Heroes supports members of the Armed Forces who have been wounded in Britain’s current conflicts.  The Strategic Lions Cycling Team have spent the last nine months mentoring Team Battle Back, comprising riders who have either been wounded on operations or injured while training for active service.

While the team competition started yesterday (Saturday) the solo riders have been on the road since last Monday when the women's race and the men's over 60s competitions got underway followed the next day by the men's solo riders.