28 weeks to go, 200 days until race start

The Challenge

As our Race Across America charity ride gets closer we thought we would give a weekly update on what’s going on in our world. We hope it gives an insight into the challenge itself, the logistics involved, the training, nutrition, our weekly training regimen and so much more.

Every week Team Prevent Breast Cancer is busy with training and organising and logistics and raising sponsorship and awareness. In our first update we thought we’d set the scene of what it is we are actually planning to nearly die doing!! So if you’ve been seeing the headlines of Tom and James doing Race Across America this should give you a guide to what we face.

It all started after returning from our second charity ride for Prevent Breast Cancer, we needed a new challenge, and we wanted a bigger challenge. A quick Google search of “hardest bike race in the world” we came across Race Across America. Some bravado over Whats App between Tom and myself and we’d agreed to go ahead (we had absolutely no idea what it was actually going to involve over the next 18 months ha ha).

We started our research on the race by watching videos on YouTube and OMG these guys are absolute nutters!! The first video we watched the rider got such a bad neck he couldn’t actually look up while riding on the bike anymore, so they built a metal brace attached to his head to hold it up. That’s not the first time we’ve seen that since.

The Race itself is long, 3,041 miles from the West Coast in San Diego to Maryland on the East coast. But the length is not the only issue. The race climbs 170,000 feet (six times Everest) and reaches altitudes of 10,000ft where altitude becomes a factor. But that’s not the worst of it….ha ha ……temperatures this year were over 40 degrees, road temperatures of 50 degrees as we cross the deserts in the first half of the race. This year a four man crew and a solo rider from Manchester attempted the race, both ended in hospitalisation. Heat, tiredness, dehydration, and lack of sleep all take their toll.
Tom and I are terrified of the heat, training in the North West in March and April is no preparation for the Mojave desert. The heat is gonna cook us on the bike like two poached eggs, so we have to invent ways of staying cool. The faster we go, the more heat we produce and the quicker we will break!

The Race is non-stop, either Tom or I have to be on the bike at any one time, a constant relay between the two of us, day and night, day after day after day for eight days and nights until we reach the East Coast. We will ride two hours on two hours off, the two hours off the bike will involve getting off the bike into a hot car, eating, massage, drink, try and get some sleep and then eat again, drink, get back on the bike, repeat.

We will need 8000 calories each per day, we can’t eat that much, so our bodies will essentially be eating themselves, eating our muscle and fat stores away for the eight days. Tom and I are gonna have to put some weight on before this race starts!! Sleeping is really difficult, you get off the bike with your heart racing from exercise, hot from the effort needing to eat and drink. Typically racers actually sleep for 30-90 minutes in a 24hour period. Guaranteed scrambled eggs for brains.

The Race has to be completed in nine days, we have to hit the checkpoints in good time or we will get timed out and the Race will be over. We have to average 15.6mph to get inside the time, this is no mean feet considering winds, hills, changeovers, heat etc so there can be no sightseeing or hanging around!!! This ain’t gonna be a holiday for sure.

Having just completed a solo 24 hour race around Brands Hatch in September we now realise that after the first day we will be not capable of rationale thought. This could not happen without the support of a crew, we need eight crew members to come on the adventure with us. The Race requires a car to follow the rider with flashing lights on the vehicle at all times. We need another vehicle for the riders to get in and rest and eat. So we are moving 2 vehicles across the US with constant changeovers of drivers and adequate rest for the team. The crew will look after food and drink, route finding, problem solving, bike maintenance, medical support, moral support and also importantly themselves! Oh and preferably they will have a terrible sense of smell, there is no doubt Tom and I will not be smelling of roses.


Just writing this brings a sense of apprehension.

So this week I thought id put in my weekly diary to give you a picture of what we are up to behind the scenes.


  Morning Afternoon Evening
Monday Ride into work 1hr 5 mins. Meetings with potential sponsors Breast Clinic Ride home 1hr20 in freezing rain
Tuesday Breast clinic Breast clinic BMI Alexandra Stretches


Wednesday Operating list Breast Clinic 9-10:30pm ride on indoor cycle trainer
Thursday Breast clinic BMI Alexandra. Research meetings Meetings with PR company and Manchester Institute for Health and Performance 18:30 meeting with sports nutritionist.

9pm starving – eating pizza

Friday Operating list Operating list Training Whaley Bridge U8and U9s footy teams. 9-10pm 1hour indoor training. Got some ace pink rimmed tyres, fit them
Saturday Ward round Climbing session for core strength. 1hour on cycle trainer social media, bike maintenance chicken and wine!!
Sunday U8s footy match. Fitness test with Tom 1hr 30 Rest and blogging.


If you want to get involved in helping raise funds towards our total of £125,000 or want to offer your help in any way please contact @nwbreastsurgeon, @wearepreventBC or please visit our Just Giving page https://www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/preventbreastcancer/raam