As we have already announced in our social media messages, Race Around Poland has been recognised as the "RAAM-Style Road Race" and thus as a qualifying race for Race Across America, one of the longest, toughest and most prestigious ultra-cycling races in the world!
Organised since 1982, this event (then still called the "Great American Bike Race") is a non-stop cycling race through 12 states, over 3,000 miles (approx. 4,800 km), with the need to climb over 170,000 feet (approx. 51,800 m) of elevation gain in a maximum of 9 days (teams) and 12 days (solo). For comparison: the 2020 Tour de France was cycled over in 21 stages, and a distance of 3,470 km, about 30% shorter, and the total elevation gain of all stages was about 153,000 feet (about 46,500 m), about 10% less than in the RAAM, and to be completed in the time longer by half of that of the RAAM ....
Starting in Oceanside California and finishing in Annapolis Maryland, the riders cycle a route from the west to the east coast of the United States, crossing several climate zones (from Mediterranean, desert, semi-desert and alpine to oceanic on the east coast), three mountain ranges: Sierra, Rocky Mountains and Appalachian Mountains, four of the largest American rivers and some of the most famous US landmarks such as the Mojave and Sonora deserts, Monument Valley, the Great Plains and Gettysburg.
This great and wonderful challenge has attracted participants from 35 countries throughout its history. The organisers estimate that around 20 countries are represented on the RAAM route each year. The history of the race has been full of exciting and tragic events. There have been fatal accidents involving vehicles on the roads along the route of the race, but many finishers have returned and continue to return in order to stand once again at the starting line in Oceanside and feel that thrill of excitement that only the perspective of taking part and writing once again in the history of the most demanding ultracycling event in the world gives. Since 2011, the undisputed king of the RAAM has been Christoph Strasser, who has surrendered the palm of primacy only three times between 2011 and 2019 (with the most recent victory being three in a row), and who, by completing the race route in 7 days 15 hours and 56 minutes in 2014, also set a hitherto unbeaten course record in the solo category.
RAAM's partner for years has been the Spiegel Bikes brand, whose bikes are raced by some of the best ultra-cyclists in the world, including multiple RAAM finishers and world record holders in various categories: Marko Baloh, Joe Barr or Chris "Hoppo" Hopkinson. This brand, which specialises in frames adapted for fast long-distance riding, has also become a partner of Race Around Poland. On his Spiegel Bikes San Marino bike, Marko Baloh set a new Race Accros America record in 2019 in the 50-59 age category of 9 days 16 hours and 57 minutes! From the collaboration between Spiegel Bikes and RAAM, the design of the official San Marino frame was created with a distinctive paint job referring to the race logo. Everyone can order such a frame, also in Poland, but only finishers can order a personalised frame with information about the time they completed the RAAM.
Sound appealing? The organisers invite both professionals and amateurs, but of course the idea and desire to take part in the legendary race is not enough.
In order to take part in the RAAM, it is necessary, first of all, to prepare oneself physically and mentally, and to plan these preparations. Those interested are referred to a series of articles that we published on our website, in which the only Polish RAAM finisher in the solo category - Remigiusz Siudziński described his way to the start, from the idea, to the return with the longed-for medal and the jersey to Poland.
Additionally, it should be taken into account that generally only teams of 2, 4 or 8 riders can take part in the RAAM without any additional qualification requirements, and riders who want to take part in the solo category must obtain a qualification.
One way to gain qualification to take part in RAAM is to finish within the limit of one of the so-called "RAAM Style" RAAM Qualifying Races published on the raamrace.org website, the list of which includes just under 40 entries, of which only one is located in Poland. This is Race Around Poland!
We have everything you need to prepare for and start in the legendary RAAM race:
Do you feel that you would like to achieve more, go further and experience the adventure of a lifetime? From now on you can start it on the starting line of Race Around Poland!
You are welcome!