Das Handbike Portal
20.06.09 - 29.06.09 Race Across America
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30.Mai 2009 - The Race Across America is one of the most respected and longest annual endurance bike racing events holding legendary stature the world over. It is one of the pinnacles of sporting accomplishment, globally seen as the highest rung of the of the ultra-endurance sports ladder. Since 1982, RAAM has a rich and storied history standing as a monument to human endeavors.
Unlike other famous bike races, like the Tour de France, RAAM is not a stage race. The race is one stage, live to the very end. In RAAM, once the clock starts on the west coast, the clock doesn’t stop until each racer reaches the finish line on the east coast. RAAM is 30% longer than the Tour de France and racers finish in half the time with no rest day. The race format is essentially a time trial, commonly called racing against the clock or race of truth. Unlike the Tour de France, there is no drafting or taking shelter from the wind. Its an all out solo challenge.
The route is over 3000 miles, touching 14 states and climbing 100.000 feet. Teams typically cross the country in 6 to 9 days, averaging 350 - 500 miles per day. Solo racers finish in 9 to 12 days, averaging 250 - 350 miles per day. Teams have a relay format and race 24 hours a day,
THE RAAM CHALLENGE
An all-star handcycle team (www.teamcanbeventure.com) of four of the world's top disabled athletes will try to set a new course record in the ultra distance bicycle race RAAM-RACE ACROSS AMERICA, beginning on June 20 in Oceanside, CA. Supported by a crew, the relay team must race 24 hours a day, non-stop and complete the 3000 mile race in 9 days to finish the race under “official” able-bodied conditions - something that has never been done before on handcycles.
Patrick Doak The Hawaii Iron Man Triathlon seems to draw out the deepest hidden grit in us all. There is Julie Moss crawling to the line in 1982 and Paula Newby-Fraser collapsing with just a quarter-mile to the finish in 1995. Who can forget John McLean becoming the first wheel chair athlete to finish the Ironman? The sport has provided many examples of people who ably display the drive to keep going … the willingness to see what is on the other side. Handcycle athlete Patrick Doak eats sleeps and breathes this attitude. He knows no boundaries, recognizes no limits. At the tender age of 10, Patrick was injured in a shooting accident. The result was a bone fragment from his spinal column traumatizing his spinal cord, which left him partially paralyzed.“It is not such a bad gig,” laughs Doak. “The odds of me earning a slot to the Hawaii Iron Man in Kona as a hand cyclist are a thousand times better than that of an able-bodied athlete.” At first that might sound cold and dry, but to know Doak you must first look beyond the chair, the impeccable manners and southern charm and embrace his sarcasm and intensity. “As you get acquainted with Patrick, you find (painstakingly) there is a sarcasm that runs through his veins as naturally as blood,” shares his girlfriend Jennifer D'Andrea. “He can say just about anything in a tone that's believable and fools so many of us more times than we like to admit.” After 11 years of racing and four Iron Man Triathlons under his belt, Doak is a seasoned veteran with a valuable message to share: make no excuses, make the commitment and respect your sport. In return you find the true essence of being an Ironman.
Dr. Hannes Koeppen of Germany, a retired Biologist and paralysed below the chest, is considered by many to be the strongest Handcycle Ironman in the cycling discipline. And, like many of his European able-bodied counterparts, proved that you can win the Ironman on the bike by capturing the 2007 and 2008 Ironman World Championship Title in the handcycle division. Injured in a car accident in 1986 while training for his first triathlon, he continued his involvement in endurance athletics from a wheelchair. Hannes had numerous marathons to his credit by the time handcycles were introduced in the mid-90s. That is when he started competing in short distance triathlons, pursuing his long-time dream to be an Ironman. He qualified for and completed his first Ironman World Championship race in 2006. A flat tire on the running course almost derailed his race, but he courageously pushed on to finish in 4th place. As expected, Hannes was back the following year with a vengeance, taking the 2007 title. Always looking for new challenges, Hannes competed at the Ironman Malaysia in 2008, a race reputed to be one of the toughest in the world due to the extreme heat and humidity, and finished first in his category with a personal best timing of 11:14. At 50, Hannes, the senior statesmen of the handcycling triathlon community, is active in recruiting new athletes, advancing handcycle designs, and bringing his background in biology to the forefront of disabled athlete training. His work ethic, attitude, and competitive nature make him a respected force to reckon with for years to come.
Carlos Moleda grew up in São Paulo, Brazil. At age 18, he chose a life of adventure, moved to the United States and joined the Navy. His ability to work hard and learn fast eventually won him a coveted spot as a Navy SEAL. A few years later, he found himself in the middle of an intense firefight in Panama. Nine of the 10 men in his unit were wounded – four fatally. Carlos was hit near his spine and leg, and lost feeling in his lower body forever. Competitive sports proved to be the best way to recover from this traumatic injury. Through an unyielding spirit and a passion for competition, Carlos turned his misfortune into his greatest adventure: becoming a champion. Today, Carlos is a winner of the 367-mile Sadlers Ultra Challenge handcycle race in Alaska, a two-time National Handcycling Champion and a four-time Hawaii Ironman Champion where he holds the world record for the physically challenged division. Carlos appreciates how far he's come. To help others, he serves as a spokesman for the Challenged Athletes Foundation and uses his expertise and motivational skills to teach younger kids with disabilities how to ride racing wheelchairs and handcycles. He is married to Sarah Preston Moleda and has a son, Spencer. He is an amazing man, a fine American and when you're with him you can't help but realize that there are few people on this Earth who stand as tall as Carlos Moleda.
Vico Merklein Born in 1977, Merklein was a natural athlete who was active in sports even before he became a paraplegic in a bad motorcycle accident at the age of 20. In spite of this tremendous setback, his physical and mental toughness enabled him to resume sporting activities even though he was disabled. Not long after his accident, Merklein discovered a new passion for handcycling and soon became a member of several German handcycling teams. Hardworking and always eager to take on new challenges, he quickly became one of the strongest handcyclists in the famous Sopur team of Germany. Vico Merklein has won numerous road racing competitions around the world and is also the holder of several course records. He was a member of the group of handcyclists who set in 2007 the current world record in the marathon distance (1 h 5 min 35 sec).