Ultra cyclist Shusanah Pillinger has become the first British woman to complete the Race Across America (RAAM) solo. She completed the 3,004 mile journey in 12 days, nine hours and 14 minutes.
Pillinger, from St Albans, also attempted RAAM last year, but crashed more than two thirds of the way through. Nine days and 2,150 miles into the challenge, sleep deprivation had set in causing her to fall off her bike. She sustained a broken collarbone and was forced to abandon.
This year, she was the third woman to complete the route. Isabelle Pulver from Switzerland was the fastest woman, finishing in 10 days, 21 hours and seven minutes. Austria’s Severin Zotter won the men’s race in eight days, eight hours and 17 minutes.
Pillinger was supported by a crew of eight people on her journey from Oceanside, California, to Annapolis, Maryland, including Erica Ley, a paramedic from Hertfordshire Air Ambulance, the charity she is raising money for.
Last year, Ley aided not just Pillinger but also another cyclist who collapsed during the race – an intervention Pillinger says probably saved his life. Before setting off, she said that experience had given her added determination.
“Knowing what these guys can do in an emergency, from witnessing it first hand, really makes me want to help contribute to the upkeep of the vital service, so I will once again be fundraising for the Herts Air Ambulance this year.
“My primary goal is to finish the race and claim the first British solo female record without further incident but it would be fantastic if we could raise more than last year’s total of £8,200 on the way! Every pound donated will help me to keep pedalling.”
At the time of writing, she had raised just over £5,000. Donations can be made via her JustGiving page.