The “world’s toughest bicycle race” began Tuesday in Oceanside, CA and some of the cyclists are already showing up in Parker, AZ in the middle of a heat wave.
The Race Across America is a highly competitive endurance event which began in 1982. The route takes cyclists 3,000 miles from Oceanside to Annapolis, MD, crossing 12 states and climbing over 170,000 vertical feet along the way.
Cyclists from around the world qualify in gruelling events to take part, especially for those who dare to do the race as a solo competitor rather than as part of a team. This year, 41 solo participants will ride up to 350 miles per day and have a maximum of 12 days to complete the route. The current record for the fastest speed in the history of the Race Across America was set last year by Christoph Strasser, a star Austrian ‘ultra cyclist’ who completed the race in around one week.
This week is a particularly tough one to be cycling through the desert. Afternoon high temperatures are reaching between 110 and 115 degrees as a high pressure system causes an unusual heat wave for the time of year.
So, when you see the cyclists out on the road between Blythe, CA and Parker, AZ, or between Parker and Salome, AZ – the next point on the route – be impressed!
Live coverage of the race can be found at ridefarther.org.