A combined US/British eight-man squad has won the team competition in the 2013 Race Across America. The Allied Forces team scorched across the USA, covering the event’s 2993.3-mile route in just in 5 days, 3 hours and 45 minutes.
That’s both shorter in time that the previous record of 5 days, 5 hours and 5 minutes, set last year by Team ViaSat, it’s also substantially faster as 24.19 mph versus ViaSat’s 23.93mph.
Allied Forces was also faster than the previous absolute team record-holders, the Lightning recumbent team who set a 24.02mph average speed to cross the country in 5 days 1 hour and 8 minutes in 1989. Because the Race Across America route varies from year to year, records are set on average speed. The 1989 route was 2,911 miles.
The British half of the Allied Forces squad is the Strategic Lions team of 11-time Best British All Rounder time trial champion Kevin Dawson; double Olympian John Tanner; road race champion, top UK time trialist and cyclo-cross racer Keith Murray; and team founder Andy Watson.
They teamed up with the American Team4Mil, led by former Navy Seal Wayne K Dowd, along with Shaun Olin, Billy Edwards and Jonathan C. Puskas.
In the four-man team category, early leaders RAAM Fireflies – four firemen from the UK – are still lying second behind the German 4athletes powered by gateprotect team. The Germans are just over 0.2 mph up on average speed and look set to cross the finish line first, later today.
After Christoph Strasser smashed the Race Across America solo seed record to take the win yesterday, several other solo riders have now finished.
Swiss riders Dani Wyss and Reto Scoch took second and third places respectively, while British ex-pat Mark Pattinson was fourth.
RAAM race director Rick Boethling has called Mark Pattinson the “most under-rated UltraCyclist in existence.” While other riders aim to set a blazing fast pace, especially in the early sages of the race, Pattinson claims he doesn’t have the ability to do that, so approaches race Across America as a tortoise to other riders’ hares.
Letting more ambitious athletes burn themselves out sees to work for him. Pattinson was second in his first-ever RAAM in 2008, and second again, behind Christoph Strasser, in 2011.
While he didn’t quite make the podium this year, his slow-but-steady strategy saw him overtake several riders in the middle and closing stages of the race, moving up from sixth to fourth to complete RAAM in 9 days 6 hours and 59 minutes, an average speed of 13.42mph.
Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.
Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.
Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.
The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.