Today is the official start of the 2017 Race Across America. Len Forkas started his 3,000 mile journey solo cycling at 1:19 PM PST time today. RAAM is in its 36th year and this is Len's second time, his first time was 2012. He successfully completed RAAM in 2012 when he was 52 years old, winning his age division and coming in 10th overall out of 47 cyclists from 20 countries.
This years race is extra special for Len as he has his son Matt joining him as a crew member. Matt was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at the age of 9 in 2003. After witnessing the positive effects Matt’s friends and classmates had on his recovery, Len founded Hopecam to help other kids undergoing cancer connect to their support networks. Since then, Hopecam has helped more than 1,000 children connect to 10,000 classmates in 46 states. Our goal is to connect another 1,000 children, and we are at 80% of our $1 million goal today.
RAAM is one of the longest annual endurance events in the world, spanning 3,089 miles over the Rocky Mountains, through the desert and over the Appalachians. From California to Maryland, it is about 1,000 miles longer than the Tour de France and has to be completed in half the time. The bicycle race is also unique because there are no stages; cyclists rest only as needed, averaging 18-20 hours on the bike per day. The race must be completed in 12 days for solo riders. Based on the race’s 35-year history, only half of solo riders will make it to the finish line.
This morning Len and his crew said their goodbyes and thank you's to their gracious hosts for the past few days Larry and Linda Fromm. The crew packed up the 2 vans and the RV and headed off to the Pier at Oceanside. At 1:19 PM PST time Len Forkas cycled through the starting line with his crew behind him. You can watch the video to the start of Race Across America and the beginning of Len's 12 day journey starting in Oceanside, California here: RAAM Start
Everyday for the next 12 days Len is honoring a different Hopecam child. You can read about each of the children here: Daily Honored Children. He is also dedicating each of his 55 time-stops across the United States to 55 children that have or had cancer. Read about each of these amazing children here: Time-station Children.
Len dedicates his 'RAAM Day 1' ride to Ethan.
Update: On Day 1 of RAAM, Len cycled 236 miles with an elevation of 9,121 ft, averaging a speed of 16 miles an hour, and a Strava Suffer Score of 458. The Strava Suffer Score is an analysis of your heart rate data. The more time you spend going full steam ahead and the longer you ride, the higher the score.