Getting ready for Race Across America

March 12, 2012/ Maria Parker

I recently made the decision to attempt Race Across America (RAAM) in June of 2013 on my Cruzbike Vendetta. No one enters into RAAM lightly. It is the ultimate challenge for the ultracyclist. It is 3000 miles across the country starting in Oceanside California and finishing in Annapolis Maryland in under 12 days. According to Jim, it has 128,677 feet of climbing. I have been watching movies about it and reading books about it and talking to RAAM veterans and reading their blogs. Frankly, I’m terrified.
There are two reasons I am attempting it:
1. My sister was recently diagnosed with a very serious brain cancer. There is currently no cure for brain cancer and her doctors say she will likely die within a couple of years. I believe that the path of my life, and my particular set of skills have brought me to this moment. With your help, we can make a difference. I am using RAAM as a platform to raise 1 million dollars for cancer research so that in the future mothers, sisters, friends, and children won’t have to hear the words my sister and her husband had to hear in the doctor’s office after her MRI. Please consider liking our face book page and donating. One million is such a big number; please consider donating and asking others to donate.

This is Jenny and I.

Jenny and Maria

2. I secretly believe that RAAM will be a lot easier on the Cruzbike Vendetta than on any other bicycle. Many of the issues faced by RAAM racers are related to the biomechanical difficulties of an upright diamond framed bike. How much better could they do with no saddle sores, Shermer’s neck, back, wrist, and shoulder issues?

The RAAM course.

raam map

This past week, I started my training build up to RAAM. I’m currently riding a version 1 Vendetta. It feels great. I’ve done a couple of shorter tougher workouts and one longer (50 miles) less intense ride. I use a power meter to keep within certain power zones and I have a coach, Jim Verhuel, of JBV Coaching who is guiding me.
My husband Jim, and John Tolhurst are working hard to make sure that the Vendetta and any other equipment I use will be perfect for the race. Jim is putting together an excellent crew and our crew chief is Dan Fallon, who blogs about cycling here.
They are worrying about sleep and follow vehicles and gear and logistics and all the really hard stuff. I am worrying about training and raising money to kill brain cancer. It’s enough.

Jenny’s MRI.


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