I’m headed out to California on Thursday for a cross-country cycling event called the Race Across America. I am on the crew for a 4-person team Strategic Global Advisors (named after their sponsor). There’s 4 racers, and a crew of 6 to support them. A friend from Ithaca that I have biked with a lot is also on the crew.
The race starts at 2pm Pacific time on the 18th for the teams (solo racers will have started on the 14/15th because they ride slower), and most expect to finish during the weekend after that, in Annapolis, MD. The route is a bit over 3000 miles long, and goes through California, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. We’ll constantly be moving, since the race doesn’t end at night, which means we’ll cover over 400 miles each day.
The logistics of how the racers get through a day is a bit tricky, but goes something like this: There will be two pairs of riders – let’s call them A & B and C & D. Each rider is only on the bike for about an hour at a time, before their partner takes over for an hour. So A & B will alternate for a 6 hour block of time, then riders C & D take over. Riding short amounts of time with frequent breaks allows them to go a lot faster for each small session than if they each rode for several hours. Essentially this means they split the time equally, with each person riding a total of 6 hours throughout the day, with a chance to catch some sleep a few times in the day.
In the crew, we will have three vehicles to follow along. There is a 25ft RV, a cargo van, and an SUV. Only one vehicle can closely follow a racer at a time, so that will typically be the SUV, while the cargo van will continually leapfrog ahead to prepare the next exchange of racers. The RV will be nearby too, but isn’t allowed to follow behind the racer. With 3 vehicles, we should be able to manage sleeping, laundry, and food decently well (hopefully!).
I’m bringing along a laptop and a few cameras, and if there are chances to post updates online, they will be here. On the right side of the page there are several links for ways to follow along. We’ll have a Spot GPS, which can update our location on the map as we go, which will be neat to watch. I’ll try to post photos and videos to the sites linked there also, assuming I can get online in towns along the way. I’ll have my cell phone with me as well, but I’m not sure what coverage will be like.