RAAM is divided into 55 segments with a time station at the end of each. But unlike other famous races, these segments are not separate stages. The race clock runs continuously from from the start until the rider finishes. Racers both ride and rest on the clock.
Racers in the solo division have a maximum of 12 days to complete the race, meaning they will ride 250–350 miles a day. How do they do that? It takes an amazing amount of preparation.
Sarah has been training for years and progressively racing longer and longer distances. Until last year, when she raced the 928-mile Race Across the West. You can hear about her training regimen in the interviews we have linked to below.
It also takes a lot of gear and crew. That includes four bikes, spare parts, changes of clothing, her nutrition, and an inflatable mattress for sleeping. To carry all this—and make sure it is all in the right place at the right time—she will have three vehicles and ten crew members traveling cross country with her.
"Most ultra racers are basically entrepreneurs. We build it ourselves. We train crazy solo. We put all the race prep and gear and logistics together. Then hand it over to someone else and have to give up complete control, many times to relative strangers, to hopefully succeed in the chosen adventure." (Erik Newsholme)
Another thing that has made RAAM possible is the support of Sarah's sponsors and coach. They have been critical to her even getting to the start line.
- Kyle’s Bikes helps with all of Sarah's bikes and bike gear needs.
- Carbo Pro provides Sarah with plain-tasting complex carbs she can consume for days on end with no stomach upset.
- Velorosa Cycling is Sarah's clothing sponsor. They designed those great looking kits for Sarah!
- Ice Friction Technology treats Sarah's chains with a coating that reduces friction and eliminates the need to constantly relube.
- Active Edge Orthopedic and Sports Massage Therapy allows Sarah to recover from her long hours of training and racing.
- Beaverdale Bicycles / T-Shirt Graphix take care of the dynamo hub wheels Sarah uses for training and gravel racing, and they printed the crew t-shirts.
- kLite makes the dynamo light Sarah uses on self-supported races and during training.
- Tri2Max Coaching coaches Sarah.
Coverage of Sarah during Race Across America
Race Across America won't likely be covered on the evening news. However, the race organization will provide tracking, and RAAM media will post articles on their Facebook page. Kyle's Bikes will take that information and information we receive from Sarah's crew to maintain a live blog of Sarah's progress from start to finish. This will be the best source of information on Sarah's progress, so be sure to bookmark it:
- Sarah Cooper in Race Across America (live blog)
We will Tweet frequent short updates. And we'll make occasional Facebook and Instagram posts. If you want to see those, follow us on social media:
Cheering for Sarah along the Way
If you live along the route and want to cheer for Sarah or any of the other racers, you are welcome! There are just a few things to keep in mind.
- These racers are racing, and the clock never stops. They won't have time to stop and chat. You'll probably get a nod and a wave, maybe even a smile!
- The crews are busy crewing. Their responsibilities are to their racer's safety and to make sure they are wherever their racer needs them to be. They won't have time to chat either.
- The route is open to traffic, but every vehicle that goes by takes a little mental energy from the racers. Whenever possible, take alternate routes.
- In a lot of stretches, there aren't many good places to park. The crews need a lot of space and have a lot of regulations to follow. Be sure you don't take a good spot.
If you post any pics of Sarah on social media, please tag them #WheresCoop and #RAAM2017 so we can see them! UPDATE: If she's smiling, add #SarahSmiles. If she's being relentless (and when isn't she?), add #581Relentless.
Pre-RAAM Coverage of Sarah
While you are waiting for the race to start, check out these interviews and other coverage!
- Interview With Ultra-Cyclist Sarah Cooper — ICE Friction Technology, February 17, 2017
- Prepping for RAAM with Sarah Cooper — JustGoBike Podcast, March 29, 2017
(interview starts around 8:00 mark)
- Catching Up with Sarah Cooper — RAAM Radio, April 14, 2017
- Crushing It — dsm Magazine, May/June 2017
- Two Long Weekends for Sarah Cooper — RAAM Radio, May 8, 2017
- Sarah Cooper's Road to RAAM: Departing for Borrego Springs — RAAM Radio, May 30, 2017
- What’s the proper send-off for a woman who’s about to compete in one of the most grueling bicycle races in the world? — Velorosa Cycling, June 5, 2017
- Don't call her Wonder Woman on wheels. She's just a metalhead Iowa bicyclist with grit. — Des Moines Register, June 7, 2017
In addition, take the time to read Kyle's Bikes coverage of Sarah's previous races:
- Bike Sebring 24 Hours: Sarah Cooper
- Sarah Cooper Cyclist Profile
- Race Across the West 2016: Sarah's Report
- Sarah Cooper in Race Across the West (live blog)
- All Sarah Cooper articles