Ok, so you missed Rob White’s 2015 Race Across America—the non-stop bicycle race across the continental United States which took place over the last 2 weeks. He did it alongside 3000 Miles to a Cure in order to raise money for brain cancer research.
I understand, though, things happen. Maybe your great aunt took you on a month-long motor-cycling adventure through Madagascar, or you finally decided to finish that Van Gogh puzzle you got for Christmas in 2011. Or maybe it was just that your internet went down, so you’ve been spending all your free time watching the Star Wars prequels on VHS.
Whatever the case, you’re in the right place.
Here’s the (almost) blow-by-blow recap:
Pre-race, Oceanside, CA:
Get to know racer Rob White with this video and blog post and watch this video to obtain a little taste of pre-race preparations from 3000 Miles to a Cure video intern Viviane Feldman.
RAAM Start/Day 1:
Rob started the race in Oceanside, CA at 1:19 PDT on Tuesday, June 16, 2015. Here is the video update from the day, which saw Rob brave a steep and stunningly beautiful descent down from the southern California mountains–and into the brutal desert heat.
Rob riding the “Glass Elevator” down into Borrego Springs, CA: the beginning of the desert.
RAAM Day 2, the Desert:
Rob’s second day of RAAM brought the desert heat, and his first state-line crossed: Arizona. Here are the sunrise and sunset video updates from the day. In the evening, he began climbing out of the desert through the Yarnell Grade, and up into Arizona’s wooded highlands. It also brought some of the first signs of sleep deprivation from Rob–one of the consistently torturous elements of RAAM.
RAAM Day 3:
The descent into the Navajo Nation and the crossing of Utah’s stunning Monument Valley marked Rob’s third day of RAAM.
Utah’s Monument Valley
RAAM Day 4, further than ever before:
The Race Across the West (RAW) is a sister event to RAAM, which Rob completed in 2014. The event goes from Oceanside to Durango, CO. When Rob crossed through Durango in RAAM, he officially began setting a personal record for distance in one event with every pedal stroke. He also climbed Wolf Creek Pass, the highest point in the race. Here and here are the video updates from this milestone-heavy day.
RAAM Day 5:
After the physically and emotionally demanding climb up Wolf Creek Pass came the painful but beautiful ascent of Cuchara Pass. The difficulty of the ride through Cuchara was exacerbated for Rob because of lung issues he had at the high altitude. Right on Cuchara’s heels came the Great Plains of Colorado and Kansas. It was a more than ordinarily tough day for Rob on RAAM–but one concluded by a nice surprise.
Rob climbing Cuchara Pass.
Mike Johnston, a brain cancer survivor and friend of Rob’s who–along with his dad, a close friend of Rob’s, surprised him along the route.
RAAM Day 6:
The sixth day of RAAM was also Father’s Day–and Rob’s daughter and brother joined his crew along the route! The more oxygen-rich air of the plains began to soothe Rob’s lungs as he powered through Kansas.
RAAM Day 7, Missouri and Exhaustion:
Rob exited the plains of Kansas and entered the scenic rolling hills of Missouri. The day was also memorable because of a dubious milestone, though: Rob’s first time falling asleep on the bike.
RAAM Day 8:
The Mississippi River is a major milestone for RAAM riders–both a sign post for the American East, and a reminder of the incredible distance they’ve covered since leaving the Pacific. Here is a video update from Rob’s 8th day, during which he crossed the great river into Illinois–but also continued to struggle from sleep-deprivation and general exhaustion.
An exhausted Rob is comforted by his daughter (and crew member, Rachel) after a nap on the eastern side of the Mississippi.
RAAM Day 9:
Rob did what he would later say was his best riding of the race on this day, moving quickly through much of Indiana and Ohio. But looming on the horizon was the steep and winding Appalachians.
RAAM Day 10:
Rob said before the race that the part of the course he was most afraid of was the Appalachians. Indeed, they would prove a harsh, but not hopeless, challenge.
RAAM Day 11:
Relatively severe physical injuries–including a pulled quad–became an increasing problem for Rob as he faced the last, mountainous, portion of the race, through West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. But his determination to finish the race and to raise money for brain cancer research didn’t waver.
RAAM Day 12/Finish:
The last morning of Rob White’s 2015 Race Across America was his hardest–he broke his collarbone with under 100 miles to go until Annapolis (one of the injuries I alluded to above) and continued to struggle with extreme sleepiness and pain. Nonetheless, he finished the race. His dedication to the brain cancer research cause–and his perseverance during this last part of the race–overwhelm me.
He finished 9th overall.
If Rob’s effort inspired you, too, donate here or at 3000milestoacure.com: 100% of funds go to brain cancer research.
And maybe send Aunt Mae a thank you note, too.
For the entire gallery from our photography interns, click here.