Austrian cyclist Severin Zotter has won Race Across America (RAAM), billed as “the world’s toughest bicycle race.” The 33-year-old finished June 24 with a time of 8 days, 8 hours and 17 minutes.
Cyclists from all over the world gathered in Oceanside, California on June 16 to begin the 3,000-mile coast-to-coast bicycle race, which crosses 12 states before finishing in Annapolis, Maryland. In addition to teams of two, four, and eight, 41 solo riders were included in this year’s race. Solo racers, like Zotter, ride between 250 and 350 miles per day and have a maximum of 12 days to complete their journey. To be competitive, riders typically sleep no more than two or three hours a day. Last year’s winner was from Austria as well.
Austrian Christoph Strasser, winner of three of the last five editions of RAAM, which is 30 percent longer than the Tour de France, had to abandon this year’s race due to a lung infection. When he won RAAM last year, he did it in a record 7 days, 15 hours and 56 minutes.
Over $2.5 million is raised annually for a variety of charitable causes. RAAM is in its 34th year, making it one of America’s longest running cycling events.
Only about 200 people have ever finished RAAM. Compare that to the more than 2,000 people who have climbed to the summit of Mount Everest. Austrian cyclist Wolfgang Fasching, who climbed Everest and completed RAAM, once said, “Everest is more dangerous, but RAAM is much harder.”
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