First off I have to say, this is the first book about biking that made me NOT want to attempt the challenge that was described in the book! The subtitle of this book is: An Astonishing Story of Suffering, Triumph, and the Most Extreme Endurance Race in the World. You know something, I believe it!
This book documents the RAAM. The Race Across America. Now I have dreams of someday riding from ocean to ocean, but not like this! This is 3000 miles in under 12 days. These people ride till they drop, sleep a couple of hours, and then ride again. My friends tell me that I am nuts for the rides I do, these people are certifiable!
Less than half of those that sign up finish the race. At the time the book was published, less than 200 total had completed it! The book lists some of the maladies that hit the riders. Aside from exhaustion and leg muscles being over used, there are saddle sores that never have a chance to heal.
I know how raw I was after 16 hours in the saddle, I can only imagine what the better part of 12 days worth of riding will do ones butt. These riders have no choice but to keep going and make it worse.
This wasn’t the scariest part, at least to me. Think about how you ride and how your neck muscles hold up your head so you can see where you are going. Sometimes, these people push their bodies so hard, and so long, these muscles give out and the head flops down! This just freaked me out a bit? Seriously? No longer able to raise your head? Some riders, in order to keep going, use duct tape to strap their heads to a board to keep it upright!
This book does a great job outlining the trials and tribulations of this ride. It is NOT my favorite book about riding, and I wasn’t all that impressed with the writing, gave me the impression the author was whining more than telling a story. However, without this book I never would’ve heard about this ride.
These people may be nuts, but they are also amazing. Braving exhaustion, elements, hallucinations, injuries and even death, just to say you’ve completed a ride? My helmet of off to them!
So tell me, would you ever want to do this?