When my son Keith recommended Amy Snyder’s book, Hell on Two Wheels, I was apprehensive. We share the same interests in books, but he is an avid cyclist and I know little about the sport. However, it turns out that the book is a very compelling eye-opening read, a darn-good story with no bike racing knowledge required. It is a thrilling tale about the most incredible sporting event you’ve never heard of — a 3,000-mile bike “Race Across America” (RAAM). It’s the ultimate in ultradistance cycling where mere survival may be the greatest victory.
To give this story some perspective, RAAM cyclists average 22 hours of racing each day during this mind-boggling gut-wrenching race. The leaders get by on 90 minutes or less of sleep per day. They are forbidden from taking shelter from the wind behind fellow racers or support vehicles. They ride alone. The race has been completed in just over eight days, but most of the racers are happy to do it in ten. Do the math.