The Race Across America (RAAM) has been taking place every year since 1982. Riders must cycle 3,000 miles, across 12 states, and climb over 170,000 vertical feet. These numbers make RAAM 30% longer than the Tour de France and instead of 21 stages that take place over three weeks, racers of RAAM cover the distance between 5-12 days. This makes RAAM the longest time trial in the world making it the hardest “race of truth.”
RAAM started with four individuals riding from the Santa Monica Pier in California to the Empire State Building in New York. The inaugural event was televised and was a race between the four individuals. The first introduction of relay teams consisting of two to eight riders was ten years later in 1992. The introduction of relay teams opened the race up to any cyclists with good overall fitness. This addition also opened up the opportunity to for teams and individuals to raise awareness and money for non-profit organizations. This is often the motivation for many racers to get involved in the race and the driving force guiding each of their pedal strokes.
Wahooligan Team NF is doing just that, riding for a bigger cause than just themselves. Team NF rides for Neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder of the nervous system that causes tumors to form on the nerves
anywhere in the body at any time which can cause learning disabilities, behavior problems, blindness, deafness, a higher likelihood of cancer, and even death. It is estimated that more than 100,000 Americans and nearly 2 million people worldwide suffer from NF, making it more common than cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, and Huntington’s disease combined. Despite the commonality of this disease, it falls in the category of an orphan disease which means that it has not been adopted by the pharmaceutical industry because it provides a little financial incentive for the private sector to make and market new medications to treat or prevent it. Diseases such as these rely on the efforts of private organizations to
create awareness and raise funds for the research and development of treatments and ultimately a cure.
Currently, there is no cure for NF and this is why the team was formed, rais awareness of the disorder and money to help fund research in an effort to cure this disorder and provide relief to those suffering. Neurofibromatosis is something that hits close to home for one of the NF Team members, Steve Kendra who’s daughter is living with this each and every day. It is not hard to understand why this is so important to the team when it impacts those closest to you. NF Team members are dedicated to expanding peoples awareness of the disorder by competing in the Ride Across America.
Wahoo has jumped on board to help the team with logistics, training tools, and navigation for the race. The team has set a pretty big goal, finish in 145 hours. This is approximately five hours faster than last years four-person winning time of 150 hours. The NF Team have been preparing for this effort all year and has done extensive research and planning on the best routes, segments for each rider, nutrition and a million other variables. Wahoo has stepped in to provide the ELEMNT Bike Computer to help with route navigation and live tracking. While the riders will be using the ELEMNT to track their ride data and to provide them with Turn-by-Turn directions throughout the event, the rest of us will be following every turn of the crank using the Group Live Track. Live Track enables viewers to see where each rider is on course, where they are headed next and any data from their power meter, TICKR Heart Rate monitor and cadence.
The team will be taking shifts with one rider on course at a time. This means that you will see one rider moving while the other three will remain fixed on the map as they rest up for their next turn to ride. The team will be sharing the Live Track link daily on their social accounts and we will be providing updates from the team as they roll in.
Follow us on social for updates on how the team is stacking up to the competition and how they are fairing against the time set out. The team has set some big goals both in performance and shedding light on Neurofibromatosis. We encourage you to follow the race using our Live Track link and comment below and in social posts with encouragement for the riders.
Lastly, share your story with us as well. We want to know why you ride a bike, have you or someone you know been impacted by NF or another debilitating disorder?