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    • So these days, cyling has started to grow into new exciting directions. One of those is ultra endurance events like RAAM (Race Across AMerica) and the Tour Divide Race. The TD is a self supported race from Banff Canada to Antelope Wells, NM along the Great Divide while RAAM is a fully supported event based on solo or team riding across the country from California to Maryland. I wonder what other riders and cycling fans think of these events? With all the drama surrounding traditional professional road cycling, they offer a chance to follow racers as they put in superhuman efforts to cross the country. Plus, they offer the chance for regular schmo's to participate if they want.

      For my money, they are more impressive than the TdF. I know....heresy, right? But imagine one of the TdF racers riding dirt roads and singletrack, sleeping on the ground, completely taking care of everything on your own while cycling 2700 miles and doing it in under 14 days (current record)

    • Damn, I've wanted to do the Tour Divide for I dunno, 10 years, but it would take me a month I think. I'm interested in following RAAM and the trans am (didn't Marcel Gruber just win that monster? 4164 miles!). The thing with something like the trans am, you have to ride through places like Kansas and two guys got hit this year, one is in critical condition and I dunno about the other.

      The Tour Divide is so beautiful and mountain bikey. Major bucket list item.

    • Yeah, Marcel Gruber did win it. That is such a crazy cool race. RAAM deals with traffic issues by have strict safety rules, while races like Trans Am and Tour Divide are solo ITT efforts. For my money, self supported is way more exciting to watch. Mike Hall was killed by a car in that Indie Pacific race in Australia one night. So it seems to me that the achilles heal of those events are the road sections and riding at night. I too am more intersted in trying the TD. I am thinking it would take me between 27 and 32 days. That's a huge effort.

    • I have zero experience but an old Navy buddy tells me how his now 80+ year old dad is an obsessed RAAM rider and he forceably dragged his son (my buddy in the Navy) for multiple years and he said it was an absolute terror. Complete obsession about getting to the next spot first, mileage, etc. I totally could sense that although there might be sense of the accomplishment, anytime more than 100 people are gathered you can assume a 10% idiot factor. There is no time for "enjoying the ride" and certainly no living in the present. It is all about the next horizon, NOW!

      Personally, I would rather just hire a "guide" with a small trusted group.

    • There are tons of great hardcore gravel oriented rides out there to do. Hilly Billy, Mount Lemmon, Gravel Race up Spruce Knob and Dirty Kanzaa to name a few. If you have the mentality to do them, they are awesome. Same with TD or RAAM, you really need to be mentally in the game. Those races aren't group races either. You ride them as ITT efforts. That is to say, you against the clock. I have no desire to do RAAM, but the Tour Divide definitely is on my list of things I want to try.

    • I watched it! And ever since then I've wanted to do that race.

      The other one I fantasize about is the Leadville 100. Oh man. The year Lance did it, a whole bunch of my friends went to the theater to watch the, I don't know what it was, interview with Lance? That captured my imagination.

    • I'm working my way toward something big along these lines but haven't nailed down the target yet... I crewed a RAAM team last year and that was just exhausting. It was a full-on, 7 days and 17 hours of GO! Crew cohesion and morale suffers when all you can focus on is moving an entire team across the USA in about a week. There are so many logistical challenges that it boggles the mind and I'd have to dedicate hours and days to writing them all down.

      When it works though, it's a thing of beauty and grace... watching teams and crews that have experience and unity of purpose is quite stunning.