The concept of a bicycle race across America can be traced back to newspaperman George Nellis, who in 1887 crossed the USA on a 45-pound iron high-wheel bicycle with no gears and with pedals attached directly to the front wheel. Following the railroad routes across the country, he made the crossing in just under 80 days.
Every ten years or so, the record would be reduced by a few days, but it was not until the 1970s, when John Marino decided to find out how quickly a bicycle could be ridden across the U.S.A. that the modern movement of trans-national cycling competition began. Other riders started challenging the marks made by Marino, and by 1982 a group of these riders decided they were ready for a head-to-head race. In its first year, the Race Across America (RAAM) was called the Great American Bike Race. Four riders lined up on the pier in Santa Monica and raced to New York City. The winner was Lon Haldeman. Since then the race has been run every year, always west to east. The race now begins in Oceanside, California and finishes in Annapolis, Maryland. With its mid-June start dates, RAAM starts close to the summer solstice to provide competitors the maximum daylight hours.
Past Race Results
Records -- The record book of who is the fastest in each division over the 27 year history.
Solo Racer Numbers -- Every Solo racer is granted a lifetime number. See the list of the racers and their number. The list only includes the racers who started the race.
Hall of Fame – These are the people who have had the most influence on the race, including racers, staff, and crew.
Race Honorees -- Since 2001, the race has been dedicated to various people.
Every RAAM finisher – solo and team – will receive a Finisher’s Plaque, Finisher’s Medallion and Finisher’s Jersey. Solo age group and gender winners will receive USA Plaques. Two and Four-person team age group and gender winners will receive USA Plaques. All Eight-person teams race in the Open Division. USA Plaques will be awarded to the fastest Open Division Team.
In addition, there are a number of Special Awards. These awards are given to those who have achieved something special. The following is a description of each award.
Pete Penseyres Award -- Awarded to the fastest solo male finisher. This award honors Pete Penseyres who held the solo male RAAM speed record for more than two decades.
Seana Hogan Award -- Awarded to the fastest solo female finisher. This award honors Sean Hogan, the 6-time solo female RAAM champion who has held the solo female speed record for two decades.
King and Queen of the Mountains -- Awarded to the fastest male and female in the mountains. The solo racers with the lowest cumulative time over three predetermined "mountainous" segments will be the winner. Presently, those three segments are:
TS 6 – Congress, AZ to TS 7 – Flagstaff, AZ
TS 16 – Pagosa Springs, CO to TS 17 – South Fork, CO
TS 48 – Cumberland, MD to TS 49 – Hancock, MD
King and Queen of the Prairies -- Awarded to the fastest male and female on the flats – desert and prairie. The solo racers with the lowest cumulative time over three predetermined "flat" segments will be the winner. Presently, those three segments are:
TS 2 – Brawley, CA to TS 3 – Blythe, CA
TS 25 – Greensburg, KS to TS 26 – Pratt, KAS
TS 36 – Greenville, IL to TS 37 – Effingham, IL
Jim Kennedy Trophy -- Awarded to the fastest team each year. This award honors Jim Kennedy who organized the first team.
Jim Pitre Cup -- Awarded to the fastest team comprised of racers from a single organizational entity. This is open to service organizations, non-profits, corporations and others. All racers must belong to or be affiliated with the organization to be eligible. This award honors former Race Director Jim Pitre and his introduction of the team division.
Rookie of the Year -- Awarded to the fastest solo racers, male and female, racing their first RAAM.
Armed Forces Cup – Awarded to the fastest team representing the armed forces. Open to any team division, but all racers must be current or former members of the armed forces.
Bike Club Cup – Awarded to the fastest team representing a single bike club or bicycle advocacy group. Open to any team division, but all racers must be current members of the club or organization they represent.
Collegiate Cup -- Awarded to the fastest team representing a single college or university. Open to any team division, but all racers must be current or former students and/or staff of the school represented.
Emergency Services Cup – Awarded to the fastest team representing the providers of emergency services – police, firefighters and providers of emergency medical services. All racers must be current or former providers of these services.
Ian Sandbach Award – Awarded to the solo racer who best showcases sportsmanship and inspiration during the race.
Lon Haldeman Award – Awarded to the solo racer or team who raises the most money for charity. This award honors Lon Haldeman, one of the original 4 racers and winner of the first two races, for his ongoing philanthropic efforts.
Lee "Fuzzy" Mitchell Award – Awarded to the most outstanding crew. This award honors Lee “Fuzzy” Mitchell, who participated in more races – as a racer, support crew member or crew chief – than any other individual.
Jure Robic Award – Awarded to the fastest solo racer, male or female, over the most difficult segment of the RAAM route. The award honors 5-time solo male RAAM winner, Jure Robic. Presently, that segment is:
TS 48 – Cumberland, MD to TS 49 – Hancock, MD
Lanterne Rouge – Awarded to the last solo finisher, male or female.
Note: Racers do not have to finish RAAM to be eligible for the King and Queen of the Mountains, King and Queen of the Prairies, and Jure Robic Desert Awards.