Race Across America 2019
In June 2019, in a team of two people, breast surgeon James Harvey and former Prevent Breast Cancer fundraiser Tom Allen will cycle 3,081 miles across America, in 8 days, with a goal to raise £125,000 for the charity.
Whilst cycling in the Italian Lakes in 2017 for Prevent Breast Cancer, they decided that we needed a bigger challenge and wanted to raise even more money for Prevent Breast Cancer. That’s when they decided on the biggest challenge of our lives – Race Across America. This is a challenge that will push them both to breaking point.
This is considered the world’s toughest cycling race, as cyclists are expected to race over 3000 miles over tough terrain in just 8 days.
Race Across America is a 3081 mile bike race from the West Coast to the East Cost of America – Oceanside, California to Annopolis, Maryland. James and Tom will be taking on the challenge as a team of two, which will mean one of them must be on the road at all times. This will see them cycling over 400 miles per day!
Research has shown that on average a RAAM rider will sleep for just 2 hours a day, and in the last days of the race it has been known for riders to get as little as 30 minutes sleep per day. This research was carried out on a four-man team.
RAAM will see them climb over 170,000 feet. To put that into perspective, that’s the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest SIX TIMES!
Cycling just over 3,000 miles is truly mind boggling. It’s the equivalent of:
- CYCLING FROM THE UK TO SAUDI ARABIA
- CYCLING FROM LONDON TO NEW YORK
And that’s just the race! During their training alone, they will cycle the equivalent distance of riding around the world – an incredible 24,000 miles. That’s a long time on the saddle. If you’re still not convinced about how hard this challenge really is…
ONLY FOUR TWO-MAN TEAMS FROM THE UK HAVE EVER MADE IT TO THE FINISH!
Only 87 two-man teams have ever successfully completed RAAM. That’s six-times fewer than the amount of people who have been in space!
Remember, Tom and James are not professional athletes and are fitting their training around full time jobs and spending time with their families.
I am a Consultant Breast Surgeon at The Nightingale Centre in Manchester, which specialises in the prevention and treatment of breast cancer. I have a background in ultra-marathon mountain and trail running.
To raise a large amount of money for Prevent Breast Cancer, I thought we needed a big challenge. This was the biggest challenge I could find for Tom and I to do on a bike: the hardest race in the world.
Why Prevent Breast Cancer?
I help the charity to choose which research projects to support, the quality of the research they are doing and the difference they are already making in Preventing Breast Cancer makes me want to do everything I can to provide the funds to keep up their good work.
What is going to be the biggest challenge of RAAM?
Sleep or lack of it. On average we can expect to get around two hours of meaningful sleep a day. This coupled with exhaustion and trying to sleep on the move will make the challenge incredibly hard. It is not uncommon for ultra-endurance athletes to hallucinate when taking on a challenge like RAAM.
Day-to-Day, I am a Fundraising and Communications Manager for a Brain and Spinal Injury Charity in the North West. I have been cycling and racing bikes for years. I was also a member of world-class development programmes and raced for domestic teams in the UK.
Why Prevent Breast Cancer?
Having worked for PBC, I have seen first-hand what breast cancer can do to families and loved ones and people I’m lucky enough to call friends and it’s something that needs to stop.
What’s is going to be the biggest challenge at RAAM?
I am absolutely terrified of the deserts. If you get your nutrition, hydration and temperature management wrong your race could be over within about 300 miles. The added pressure of only being a two-man team will mean we don’t have the luxury of doing short turns and if one us was to fall ill or suffer from an injury it puts an incredible burden on the other rider. I think this is one of the biggest challenges of RAAM.