The following text is from a team recap email from Race Across America.
RAAM Team racing began in 1992. Team RAAM affords more cyclists the opportunity to participate in the World’s Toughest Bicycle Race. Unlike Solo RAAM, there are no qualification requirements for Team RAAM. Anyone – businesses, clubs, friends, acquaintances – can put together a team and enter RAAM. Goals vary widely – establish or break records, raise funds and awareness for charities, have a great adventure, tick off a bucket list item, simply finish.
In order to become an Official Team RAAM finisher, teams must complete the coast-to-coast trek in 9 days. After the various re-routes owing to road repairs, construction, weather, etc., this year’s course came in at 3,082.3 miles with 181,117 feet of climbing.
RAAM is open to 2-, 4- and 8-person teams. This year there were 46 teams (226 racers) comprised of 9 – 2P teams, 22 – 4P teams, and 15 – 8P teams. 43% of the race field was from outside the USA. Teams from 12 countries participated. As always, weather and road construction played a role. Owing to the longer course, higher temperatures, variable weather and re-routes, overall speeds were somewhat slower than in years past. Nevertheless, there were 3 new records established.
We continue to be amazed at the diversity of life experiences of the RAAM teams. This year we have runners, triathletes, rowers, boxers, kick boxers, rugby players, motocross racers. We have firefighters, police officers. We have soldiers and wounded warriors. We have doctors, surgeons. We have men, women. Rookies and RAAM veterans. There are so many stories that deserve to be told. We wish we had more space.
This year there were 9 – 2P team entries. Only 2007 and 2014 with 13 entries, and 2013 with 11 entries had more. This year there were 6 Male under 50, 2 Mixed under 50, and 1 Mixed 50-59 2-person teams.
2P teams were introduced in 1997. Team Dagger-Primal (USA), riding modified mountain bikes, established the record of 12.94 mph. It wasn’t until 2001 that 2P team racing caught on – that year 8 – 2P teams entered the race. 2P team speeds gradually increased until in 2006, Team Body Exchange- Garden Pathways (USA) established a record of 19.58 mph that would stand for 8 years. In 2014, in a hotly contested race, two teams broke that record, Heinemann XP (GER) and Flying Cyclasana Beasts (USA). Heinemann prevailed and holds the current 2P team record of 19.65 mph.
This year the fastest 2P team overall was Team Bergen-Hill (USA), finishing in 7d:15h:28m (17.7 mph), followed by Atlantic Drifters (UK) in 8d:9h:57m (15.2 mph), Team Beyond (USA) in 8d:15h:1m (15.2 mph) and Ardstone Tayto Park LCRC (IRE) in 8d:15h:22m (14.81 mph). All were racing in the Male under 50 group.
Atlantic Drifters team members Tom Brunwin and David Lambert rowed 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean. Team Beyond racer Phillip Theodore and his rowing partner rowed across the Atlantic in a record setting 45 days. Ardstone Tayto Park LCRC became the first Irish team to finish RAAM.
This year the 2P team finish rate was unusually low – only 4 of 9 teams finished (44%). Over 20 years of 2P team racing, 75% of 2P teams have finished.
4P team racing was introduced in 1992. Team Manheim (USA) won that race with a speed of 20.12 mph. The current 4P team record of 23.06 mph was established in 2004 by Action Sports (USA). It is one of RAAM’s longest standing records.
This year only 2 – 4P teams broke the 20 mph barrier, Love, Sweat & Gears (USA) and Danes Across America (DEN). This year women established 2 new 4P team records. In the Female Under 50 Group Quattra Bavariae (GER) finished in 6d:15h:19m (19.27 mph), and in the Female 60-69 Group Team Brigham Health (USA)finished in 7d:11h:4m (17.15 mph).
Top 3 finishers in the Male Under 50 Group were Danes Across America (DEN) in 6d:6h:40m (20.38 mph), Team Australia II (AUS) in 6d:13h:29m (19.5 mph) and Crownmead Homes (UK) in 6d:15h:18m (19.27 mph). 2017 RAAM Hall of Fame inductee Hubert Schwarz was a member of Next Generation (GER). Over the years Schwarz has organized and raced on many German RAAM teams – he has 2 teams in this year’s race. Sahyadri Cyclists (India) became the first 4P team from India to finish RAAM and Team David’s Salon (Philippines) became the first relay team from the Philippines to complete RAAM.
Top 3 finishers in the Male 50-59 Group were Plantagenets (USA) in 7d:16h:7m (16.68 mph), Legend of the Road (USA) in 7d:19h:58m (16.33 mph) and Vencendo Desafios Team Brasil (BRA) in 8d:3h:3m (15.74 mph). Team Honor Warriors (USA) were 1st in the Male 60-69 Group finishing in 8d:16h:30m (14.73 mph).
All 4 members of Legends of the Road are world class motorcycle racers – legends in their sport. David Bailey and Doug Henry suffered spinal cord injuries and are riding hand cycles. Micky Dymond raced on the 2014 Legends of the Road team, along with David Zabriskie, Ben Bostrom and Dave Mirra – they won the 4P overall. This year marked the 11th RAAM for Vencendo Desafios Team Brazil (BRA). RAAM Hall of Fame member, Marcio Milan, has been the organizing force behind these teams. This year’s team finished in 7d:22h:52m (16.08 mph).
Love, Sweat & Gears (USA) were 1st in the Mixed Under 50 Group finishing in 6d:3h:39m (20.79 mph). Cruzbike Races 3000 Miles to a Cure (USA) riding recumbents were 1st in the Mixed 50-59 group finishing in 6d:12h:26m (19.63 mph). Top finisher riding standard bikes in Mixed 50-59 was Heinemann XP Team 2.0 (GER) finishing in 7d:0h: 45m (18.19 mph), a mere 4 minutes ahead of Team Rotary RAAMs Polio (USA).
2013 female Solo RAAM winner, Maria Parker, raced on Cruzbike Races 3000 Miles to a Cure.
In 2003, 8-person teams were introduced. That year, Team Insight (USA) established the record of 18.09 mph. That record has since been broken 7 times. Allied Forces (UK/USA) currently holds both the 8P and overall RAAM speed record – 24.19 mph set in 2013.
This year 4 – 8P teams broke the 20 mph barrier. Team ViaSat (USA), won the 8P division, finishing in 5d:17h:22m (22.35 mph). Team True Patriot Love (CAN) finished 2nd in 5d:17h:56m (22.26 mph) and Team Oceanside (USA) finished 3rd in 6d:3h:00m (20.89 mph). Also, breaking the 20 mph barrier was 4th place 8P team GermanG8tors (GER) with a 20.01 effort.
This was ViaSat’s 11th RAAM. The team first raced in 2006 and every year thereafter until they finally broke the 8P team record in 2012. Those teams were a collection of company employees and friends. They took 2013 off and returned in 2014 with an all-employee team. They have raced in every RAAM since 2014. Their decision to re-focus as an all-employee team takes advantage of a number of the benefits RAAM affords corporate entities.
ViaSat is one of a growing number of corporate teams. ViaSat is a Southern California based technology company engaged in the business of developing and manufacturing satellite and web-based communications systems.
RAAM is attractive to corporate teams for several reasons, among them it provides a unique team-building environment, an incredible sense of achievement having finished a world class event – The World’s Toughest Bicycle Race, and an outstanding platform from which to raise money and awareness for corporate sponsored charities.
Team Skipper (USA) established the 8P fixed-gear record, finishing in 6d:23h:4m (18.38 mph). This was RAAM Hall of Fame Member Tim Skipper’s 16th RAAM. For team member Joe Peterson, it was his 15th RAAM.
Team RAAM continues to grow, drawing athletes from all walks of life with wide ranging goals.
To better prepare racers for Solo RAAM we encourage potential participants – solos and teams as well as racers and crew – to race RAAM Qualifying races and attend RAAM Seminars. RQs were started, back when RAAM was open only to solo racers, with the idea of screening out those unlikely to finish solo RAAM. But RQs have become much more. They are an opportunity for racers and crew to practice under race conditions. Today there are more opportunities than ever – over 40 races in 12 countries with more on the horizon. In addition, RAAM offers Seminars in the off-season.
Congratulations to all of the 2017 Team RAAM finishers as well as those with the courage and confidence to undertake the challenge of racing coast-to-coast across the USA. Thank you to all the racers, support crew members and sponsors who make this possible.