RAAM Riddle

Today Patty Riddle is officially listed as DNF on the RAAM website for failing to make time cut-offs. Her race plan was to just make every cut-off. Had she done that she would not only have established a women’s 60+ record, but also shattered the existing women’s 50+ record.

The speed requirement is one thing that makes RAAM so difficult. RAAM sets time cut-offs for various points in the race. One list of requirements for solo riders, another for teams. Everyone races against the same standard. There is no allowance for gender or age. Two-person teams have the same time limits as four- and eight-person teams.

Time limits include any time off the bike; i.e. sleep and medical attention for solo riders. Most two-person teams also occasionally have no rider on the road. The official mileage for 2007 is 3043. Solo time limit is 293 hours which equates to 10.39 mph. Team time limit 240 hours, or 12.68 mph. Compare that to these RAAM records which are below the pace required for 2007.

Division                Name              Year   MPH
Men 60+                 Fred Boethling    2006   10.31
Women 50+               Bonnie Allison    1992   8.48
2 Person Team Mixed 50+ Dutton & Riddle   2006   10.74

I understand that it is logistically difficult to allow the race to trail out across the country for 3-4 weeks. RAAM officials were lenient with Riddle, allowing her to continue as an official participant until she fell well behind the last teams. I’ve heard that Riddle plans to continue her unofficial ride across America. I hope if she makes it to Atlantic City her time will be listed as the Women 60+ record as a goal for women and men who dream of their own RAAM.

This year solo riders left Oceanside on Sunday, June 10, followed by all teams on Tuesday, June 12. I hope that future events will incorporate a system of staggered starts that allow more women and older men to attempt this challenge with a chance of an official finish; possibly starting solo 50+ women Friday, solo women and 50+ men Saturday, solo men and 2-person women and mixed teams Sunday, 2-person men’s teams Monday, 4- and 8- person teams on Tuesday. That would give 50+ women two additional days, and 50+ men and all other solo women one extra day. Far from a level playing field if historical RAAM data is any indication, but at least a slightly better chance to show themselves and RAAM fans what they can do.

Be sure and check out the Fasching quote below!!

3 thoughts on “RAAM Riddle”

  1. The time limits really do make RAAM tough. You run into tough times and you can’t stop and recover. The cut-offs are never far off unless you’re at the front. I know all too well from last year.

  2. It does seem like much of the field is pushing the cut-offs and there is little room for error or problems along the way. An argument could be made that RAAM, like the Giro and Tour de France, is for elite athletes and riders who can’t keep up with a minimum pace should be eliminated. Then again RAAM has always been an event open to many different divisions. As a woman I would like to say yes, women can compete equally with men in this event. While it is true that women excel at endurance events, strength and speed are a big advantage in RAAM. A small increase in speed translates to many extra hours of sleep, which results in more speed, etc. A very low percentage of women have finished the race in recent years and the first woman is often just making the cut-offs or behind them. The women’s record is almost a day slower than the men’s record on a course about 200 miles shorter. Given that Seana Hogan often led the field during the first part of the race, it may make for more exciting events to continue to start the men and women on the same day, but extend time limits. On the other hand, that makes the logistics for race officials and manned time stations more difficult.

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