On Tuesday, June 14, Sarah Cooper begins Race Across the West (RAW). This race from Oceanside, California to Durango, Colorado follows the first 928 miles of the RAAM route.
UPDATE: Sarah Cooper has won Race Across the West, beating all the women and men! There are links to media coverage at the end of this article.
Sarah has done multiple races around the 500-mile mark, and has always raced straight through without any rest breaks. (For perspective, those races take her around 30 hours.) There are no mandatory rest breaks in Race Across the West; however, taking rest breaks is necessary to complete this distance. It will be interesting to see when and for how long she takes them.
The route takes racers through deserts, plains, and mountains. It climbs over the Sierra Mountains before crossing the Mojave and Sonoran deserts. California, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado are all part of the course.
Sarah has a crew of eight who will take turns using two [correction: three] vehicles to support her.
We at Discount Tri Supply and Kyle's Bikes are proud to support Sarah and will be eagerly following her progress. Follow us on Twitter for updates, or stalk her yourself with the live tracker and leaderboard at RideFarther.com. We will also make occasional updates to this article.
And they're off. RAW racers left the start line in a time trial start beginning at noon PDT. Sarah is now on her way to Durango!
Update Tuesday 9:40 p.m. CDT
Sarah arrived at the first time station in Lake Henshaw, California at 6:48 p.m. EDT in a time of 3h 35m and an average of 15.91 mph. According to her crew chief and coach, Greg Grandgeorge, "Sarah was spot on projection for TS1."
She arrived at the second time station in Brawley, California at 10:24 p.m EDT. That's an elapsed time of 7h 11m and an average of 20.24 mph.
Overnight, Sarah took the lead among all solo competitors in Race Across the West. Although she is over 342.5 miles in, it is still early in the race. The lead may change many times as the racers strategize their rest breaks. We admit to being pretty excited however.
She came through Salome, Arizona (TS 05) at 8:21 a.m. EDT. (That's 5:21 a.m. for Sarah.) Her race time was 17h 8m and average speed was 19.99 mph. In second place is Andrew Willis. He reached TS05 at 9:36 a.m. EDT with a race time of 17h 59m and a speed of 19.04 mph.
Update Wednesday 1:25 p.m. CDT
Sarah is in the lead on the map; does that mean she's winning? Well, maybe. Race Across the West has a time trial start. For example, Sarah started at 12:13 p.m. California time (3:13 EDT) and the current male leader, Andrew Willis, started at 12:37 p.m. (3:37 EDT). That's a 24 minute difference. If he were to be 10 minutes behind her, he would be leading by 14 minutes. However, last we checked she was ahead of him on the road by an hour and 27 minutes, and that means her actual lead is just about an hour.
So right now, she is winning.
Now is also when racers will need to consider when to take their rest breaks. The clock keeps running even when they sleep. So the leaderboard could change up some.
Solo leaders as of TS06 Congress, Arizona, 395 miles into the race
Sarah Cooper (R121) — 20h 32m — 19.24 mph
Andrew Willis (R101) — 21h 34m — 18.32 mph
Joe Frank (R123) — 22h 43m — 17.39 mph
Jan Jose Kraemer (R108) — 22h 51m — 17.29 mph
Andy Christensen (R48) — 22h 53m — 17.27 mph
Todd Carpenter (R125) — 22h 57m — 17.22 mph
There is coverage of Sarah on the Race Across the West Facebook page.
After a hot day in Arizona, lows will be dropping into the 40s tonight. Sarah's crew is there to be sure she has lightweight clothes and cooling arm sleeves in the day and has warmer layers at night.
Those of us staring at her tracking flag all day can tell she has started to take some breaks. She is still leading the overall solo field.
She is about 530 miles in as we go to bed (for the second time since the race started). She will keep going except to take those strategic rest breaks.
As of time station 8, back in Camp Verde, Arizona, she had gone 500.01 miles, and had arrived there at 8:23 p.m. EDT (5:23 on Sarah's time). That was a race time of 1d 5h 0m and an average speed of 17.24 mph.
Her nearest competitor right now appears to be Todd Carpenter (R125) who hit TS 08 at 9:46 p.m. with a race time of 1d 6h 23m and an average speed of 16.46 mph.
Is it a surprise that Sarah is leading the overall solo field? Not to us. And not to Rick Boethling, executive director for RAW and RAAM. He was interviewed by George Thomas in May. They begin discussing RAW and names in the solo field at the 9:42 mark and discussing Sarah specifically at the 11:00 mark.
RICK: I'd say the bright shining star that everyone is looking to is, um, Sarah Cooper. And she's turned in some ridiculously good performances at every type of racing. Um, so I think there's going to be a lot of eyes on her.
GEORGE: So a women could maybe win overall?
RICK: Yeah, I don't see why not. I think she could. Uh, I mean, she's... If you watched her performance at Sebring this year, she was third overall betwee– behind Marko Baloh, a record holder, and I believe Erik Newsholme, a RAAM veteran as well. She wasn't that far behind 'em. <laughs> So yeah, I think absolutely a woman could win it overall.
This morning, Sarah checked into TS 10 in Tuba City, Arizona at 8:35 a.m. EDT (5:35 Sarah time). That is 678 miles into the race with 250.5 miles to go. She has taken just two 20 minute sleep breaks and is averaging an impressive 16.39 mph. Her crew fed her warm chicken and rice soup and coffee before sending her back out on the road.
Extra Thursday Update
There is more coverage of Sarah on the Race Across the West Facebook page.
We are continuing to tweet from @Disc_TriSupply and will update the blog again before "bedtime."
Will Sarah set a course record?
The women's course record was set in 2012. Leah Goldstein rode the 860 mile course in 2d 14h 3m with an average speed of 13.84 mph. Because this year's course is longer (928.4 miles), Sarah could take more time and still beat the record by having a higher average mph. As of TS13, she has maintained an average of 16.04 mph.
We wonder if Sarah could beat the time, as well as the miles per hour, but it is an extra 70 miles! And, except for a sharp downhill at the end, it is almost all up hill to the finish. Is anyone willing to predict her finish time? (8:00 p.m. CDT: The Race Across the West Facebook page has just made a post musing about Sarah's chance to break records.)
A few details on Sarah's progress...
She made it through TS 13 in Montezuma Creek, Utah at 7:13 EDT with a race time of 2d 4h 0m and an average speed of 16.04 mph. That was 834 miles into the race with 94.4 miles to go to Durango, Colorado and the finish line.
Her crew reports that, prior to TS 13, she took a 20 minute nap. From looking at the map, this took place near the scenically named "Cow Canyon Trading Post."
At the time of this post, she is nearing the Utah/Colorado border and has just 34.5 miles to the next time station. Then it's just 44.2 miles to the finish. No sleep for us until she finishes!
There is another article about Sarah on the Race Across the West Facebook page.
Update Friday 1:23 a.m. CDT — The Finish!
Sarah won the women's solo division, beat the men's solo leader, and set a new women's course record!
Her time was 2 days 11 hours 59 minutes and she averaged 15.48 mph over 928.4 miles.
- Sarah Cooper Approaches Durango — Race Across the West Facebook Page
- Cooper Wins RAW 2016 — By Vic Armijo, Race Across the West Facebook Page
- Media1_HIGHLIGHTS_June16 — Race Across America Facebook Page
- RAW Finish - 06.16.16 — Race Across the West Facebook Page
- RAAM Radio RAW Banquet Friday — RAAM Radio (Sarah comes on at about the 4:30 mark.)
- A Visit With 2016 Race Across The West Champion Sarah Cooper — RAAM Radio
- Race Across the West 2016 — Sarah Cooper's race report
- Urbandale’s Sarah Cooper Discusses Placing First in ‘Race Across the West’ — WHO-TV
- Will Sarah Cooper do RAAM? — RAAM Radio, August 2, 2017
- Sarah Cooper Is in for RAAM 2017 — Race Across America Facebook Page, August 15, 2017