The Race Across America (RAAM) – billed as the World’s Toughest Bicycle Race – concluded its 35th year with two “rookies” (or first time entrants) as winners. Forty-two solo racers from seventeen countries lined up in Oceanside, California and 48% of those racers completed the 3,089-mile race ending in Annapolis, Maryland. On the way, they climbed 175,000 feet and traversed three major mountain ranges, two deserts and four of America’s longest rivers.
Pierre Bischoff, a rookie from Germany, became the first German to win RAAM, finishing in 9 days 17 hours 9 minutes (13.16 mph). He held off late charges by American David Haase and Slovenian Marko Baloh, both RAAM veterans. First-time RAAM racers Ralph Diseviscourt (Luxembourg) and Robert Ferris (USA) rounded out the top five.
The 50-59 age group was won by Martin Gruebele (USA), a rookie, followed by RAAM vets Chris O’Keefe (USA) and Palle Nielsen (DEN). Valerio Zamboni (MON) completed his 5th RAAM, winning his first age group title (60-69), edging out American Marshall Reeves in a hard fought battle across the country.
Nicole Reist of Switzerland claimed the top step of the podium for the women in 11 days 14 hours 25 minutes (11.02 mph), making her the 3rd Swiss woman in 5 years to win RAAM. All three were first-time RAAM racers. Seana Hogan, arguably the greatest RAAM racer in history, placed 2nd overall among women and won her age group (50-59) with a record setting performance. This marks Hogan’s 7th RAAM finish, with 6 overall wins and this year’s age group win. She has now won more RAAMs than any other racer – man or woman – and holds both the women’s overall speed record as well as the 50-59 age group record.
Gerhard Gulewicz’s participated in RAAM for the 11th time as a solo rider, but it was his first using technology that monitored his ride 24/7, every step of the way. He used mobile IoT (Internet of Things) technology from a new company called Noa, integrated into his three competition bikes, which meant that Gulewicz and his supporters were able to track his ride performance live with precision data on his speed, remaining trip duration and bicycle switches. Noa’s technology is also capable of monitoring bicycle conditions and maintenance needs, eliminating unexpected and costly slowdowns.
“For the first time in 11 years, I was able to bring my fans along with me for the entire ride,” said Gulewicz. “Noa’s technology connected me with both my team and fans in real time, providing live updates on where I was, what I was riding, and how fast I was riding toward the finish line.”
According to Noa Technologies’ CEO Philipp Meyer-Schmeling, “After 18 months of rigorous testing in every condition imaginable, we wanted to put our mobile IoT platform to the ultimate road test in a very public way. Gerhard is an exceptionally inspiring athlete, so we thought it would be fantastic to enable everyone who wanted to join him on his RAAM journey to be able to do so, coast to coast.”
For 35 years RAAM has been ultra-bicycle racing’s premier event. RAAM draws competitors from around the globe to test their physical and mental limits in the 3,000-mile coast-to-coast race across the USA. Preparations for 2017 are already well underway. RAAM takes place every June between the Giro d’ Italia and the Tour de France.
For 2016 RAAM partnered with NothinButShorts, an international documentary company, to film the solo race, commemorating the 35th anniversary. The film is currently in the editing process. To help support the finish and promotion of the film, please visit the Indiegogo fundraising page.
Race Across America, Inc. and Team Get Outdoors, LLC (dba SOUL EVENTS) are world leaders in the sport of ultra-bicycle racing. The Race Across America (RAAM) is celebrating 35 years of being the world’s premier ultra-cycling race, a 3,000-mile coast-to-coast race across the USA. Race Across the West (RAW), an 860-mile race across the Western US, the RAAM Challenge Series of ultra road races, and the 6-12-24 Hour World Time Trail Championships are all a part of the RAAM brand. In addition, RAAM offers seminars on ultra bicycle racing and sanctions ultra races worldwide. Visit RAAM online for complete information.
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