RAAM: Race Across America: Essex, South, UK: First4Commercial

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[h2]Race Across America (RAAM)[/h2]

[h3]Race Across America ‘The World’s Toughest Bike Race’[/h3]

We sponsored UK cyclist Chris Armishaw, from Billericay, Essex, who set out on 13 June 2012 on the world-famous ultra-endurance race ‘Race Across America’ (RAAM), cycling 3,000 miles across the American continent, from Pacific to Atlantic Ocean. Racing against the clock, he had no more than 12 days to complete this extraordinary race that tested the utmost limits of his physical endurance, mental resilience and commitment to a cause. 

Chris aimed to become only the fifth British solo rider to successfully complete the ‘world’s toughest bike race’ and he used the race to raise money for UK children’s charity Action Medical Research.

[h3]ABOUT RACE ACROSS AMERICA[/h3]
Not for the faint-hearted, Race Across America is billed as the ‘world’s toughest bike race’ and has been running since 1982. Racers must race 3,000 miles, across 12 states and climb over 170,000 vertical feet to complete the ride.

RAAM is a race but unlike the three great European Grand Tours (Tour de France, Vuelta a Espana and Giro de Italia), it is not a stage race but one continual stage, similar to a time trial. Once the clock starts it does not stop until the finish line. It is about 30% longer than the Tour de France and racers must complete the distance in roughly half the time allowed for the Tour.

The event is open to both teams and individuals but the solo riders are the stars, competing against both nature and themselves. Solo riders must ride 250-350 miles a day, balancing speed and the need for sleep. They have no rest days and no team mates only their support crew to share the load, meaning very few finish within the allotted time of 12 days to earn the distinction of ‘RAAM Finisher’. Chris aims to complete the race in 10 days.

In the last 30 years less than 200 solo and team racers have officially finished the event. Of these, just five were British. 

Austrian adventurer Wolfgang Fasching, who has won the solo RAAM three times and also climbed Mt. Everest, has said: “Everest is more dangerous, but RAAM is much harder.”

For updates on how the race went go to www.first4commercial.com/RAAM2012

[h3]ABOUT ACTION MEDICAL RESEARCH[/h3]

Action Medical Research is a UK charity funding vital research to help sick and disabled babies and children. Since 1952 the charity has contributed to some of the most significant medical breakthroughs in modern history.

Research previously supported is now commonplace in medical care, such as the vaccines for polio and rubella, the use of ultrasound scanning in pregnancy and the importance of taking folic acid before and during pregnancy to prevent spina bifida.

Today, the charity continues to find and fund the very best medical research to help stop the suffering of babies and children caused by disease and disability.

The charity is passionate about cycling and runs a successful event portfolio including the RIDE100 series of one-day regional rides, the highly competitive RIDE24 relay race and the biggest London to Paris ride in the charity sector.

In 2011 RIDE24 became the first UK track event to gain Race Across America (RAAM) qualifier status for solo riders looking to prove they are good enough to take on the challenge.

[h3]CHRIS’S STORY[/h3]
Only a few years ago Chris Armishaw, who lives in Billericay, Essex, and works for Sainsbury’s Property Division, saw a newspaper advert for a London to Paris bike ride, run by Action Medical Research, which finished in Paris the day before the city hosted the finale stage of the Tour. He decided to enter even though at that time he didn’t then own a bike!

Despite a lack of ideal preparation, he successfully completed the event through the support he received from a fellow rider he met on the way (Clifford Davison, life long cyclist and inspirational person from Roth-shire, Inverness) who helped spur him on and has mentored him since). Re-igniting his passion for cycling he hasn’t looked back since, six years on and having taken part in some of the toughest races in the UK and Europe (he has twice completed the Maratona dles Dolomites ‘Race Across the Dolomites’ in Italy) he is taking on the world’s toughest race there is.

The idea of tackling Race Across America has become a serious aim for Chris, something that will be an incredible challenge!

Chris has become involved with the team at Action Medical Research and a strong supporter of the work carried out by the charity. It was through having two healthy daughters (now 15 and 12 yrs) that he became very aware that not all families are so lucky and so he combined his love of cycling with a desire to do as much as he can to support the charity’s work. To see riders taking on big personal challenges and raising money for such a great cause is something that inspires him.

For more information about RAAM go to www.raceacrossamerica.org

For more information about Action Medical Research go to www.action.org.uk

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