Chad Williams has begun his journey in Race Across America. The Taranaki ultra-endurance cyclist is undertaking the biggest task of his life as he looks to go from one side of the USA to another inside the 12 day solo time limit.
As we write this Chad Williams has left Oceanside, California and is heading East. He left in good conditions and to the cheers of a large and enthusiastic crowd of well wishers. Oceanside is on the California coast, between Los Angeles and San Diego, but his journey is taking him 3000 miles away from there, through 12 states and up over 170,000 feet of climbing. To give you an idea of how tough the challenge is that Chad is undertaking, he is taking on an endurance challenge some 30% longer than the Tour de France, with no teammates to draft behind, no peloton to shelter with.
He has a support crew but that is it, the clock does not stop until he reaches the finish line in Annapolis, Maryland. This is not a stage race, this is one continuous trek that many do not even finish. The event is more accurately to be known as a time trial as Chad did not start with any of his other solo competitors, with each of them instead being started at intervals.
The fastest riders will tackle the Race Across America in just under 8 days, although most take around 11 of the allowed 12 days.
The Race Across America Challenge is being undertaken by Chad to raise money for the Key to Life Charitable Trust, an organisation devoted to dealing with the issues of mental illness and suicide prevention.
As we write this Chad Williams has completed 42 miles (67.6km) of the 3000 ahead of him. He is heading through the Palomar Mountain range and on towards the Anza Borrego Desert State Park. You can keep up to date with Chad’s progress here.
When we spoke to Chad over the weekend he told us that the nerves hadn’t kicked in although the excitement had. “I’m not nervous yet, just extremely excited! Everything definitely feels real now. I’ve gone from counting down the months, to counting down the weeks to counting down the days and now I’m actually riding parts of the course. It’s extremely real now!”
Chad’s time around the Oceanside area prior to starting the Race Across America allowed him to get to grips with the early sections of the course. When we asked him how much riding he was doing in the run up to the race start he said, “I’m not doing anything too long, 4 hours max. I’m taking some time to familiarise myself with the first section of the course. I want to know it off by heart so when the adrenaline kicks in on race day, it’s 2nd nature to go the right way!”
We wish Chad all the very best as he undertakes the biggest endurance challenge of his life! You can also check in on Chad’s progress at his RAAM Endeavour Facebook Page.