Race Across the West Shortened for 2010

, , | UltraRob | Wednesday, January 13th, 2010 at 8:33 am

2 years ago the Race Across the West (RAW) was started. Starting with the Race Across America (RAAM), it went the first 1,000 miles. The finish was in Taos, NM for the last 2 years.

The Race Across the West was seen as a race that filled the distance gap between the 500+ mile RAAM qualifiers and the 3,000 miles of RAAM. It allows those planning to do RAAM a chance to test themselves further and gives those that don’t think they can finish RAAM something bigger. RAAM organizer Fred Boethling told me when RAW started that he expected it to become bigger than RAAM.

It seems that since it’s “only” 1/3 of RAAM, racers haven’t been taking it seriously enough. In 2 years there have been 17 RAW racers and only 2 of them have made it to Taos.

In 2010 the RAW finish is being moved to Durango. It will be 180 miles shorter and have 16,000 feet less climbing than it has the last 2 years. I think Durango is a much nicer town to to finish in. Of course the racers may be too tired to care.

When I raced RAAM in 2006, I was still feeling quite good when I got to Durango. Ok, quite good considering I had ridden over 800 miles in under 3 days and slept a total of 4 hours. I was also pacing myself to go many more miles.

There was a big discussion on the ultracycling list when the shorter route was announced about how it was being made easier. A couple people posted that it really shouldn’t be easier. Since it’s shorter they should be pushing themselves harder. It may not take as long but they should arrive at the finish with nothing left.

There was also a discussion about how the existing record wouldn’t be valid any more. Since the RAAM course has at least small changes each year, the most relevant record is average speed. The RAW route distance change is bigger than is normal for RAAM so I’d expect the RAW average speed record to be easily broken this year.

I don’t know if it’s because the route is shorter or more people are hearing about the race but there are already as many registered for the Race Across the West this year as have raced in the last 2 years. Hopefully racers won’t take it even less seriously now that it’s shorter.


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One response to “Race Across the West Shortened for 2010”

  1. Fonk says:

    Like you said, I think RAW fills a nice sweet spot, in that it's something still quite a bit bigger than a 500-mile event, but not so daunting as full-on RAAM. There's really nothing else like it out there right now. I could actually see myself possibly taking on something like RAW one day, but no way am I ever going for RAAM. I think it's just taking a while to catch on because it's so new.

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