Christoph Strasser (This image has been downloaded from the cyclist’s Facebook page / no copyright infringement intended)

Austrian cyclist Christoph Strasser has won the 2017 Race Across America (RAAM).

This is his fourth win.

According to RAAM’s Facebook page, he completed the race in 8 days, 9 hours and 34 minutes, which would be the slowest timing in his quartet of wins at the race. The last time he finished on the eighth day was in 2011, when he reached the finish line in 8 days, 8 hours and 6 minutes. His other two wins were in seven days including the fastest solo timing at RAAM to date.

In second place at the time of writing this report, was Mark Pattinson of UK. He had covered 2698.8 miles and was still cycling. Others in the race’s vanguard were Guido Loehr, Marko Baloh, Tom McKenna and Brian Toone. They were at 2694.9 miles, 2615.1 miles, 2597.6 miles and 2582.5 miles respectively.

RAAM’s cut-off limit for the solo category is 12 days.

The Indian cyclists at RAAM have done well so far.

In the solo category, both Amit Samarth and Srinivas Gokulnath have made it past the race section spanning the 1000 mile-mark to 2000 miles of the journey; the middle one third. At the time of writing this report, Amit had covered 2259.2 miles and Srinivas, 2260.2 miles. No Indian cyclist has so far registered a solo finish within cut-off time, at RAAM. In 2011, Samim Rizvi from Bengaluru managed to cycle the entire distance but unfortunately he finished just outside the official cut-off. This year, as per RAAM website, Samim had to DNF (Did Not Finish) after 500.01 miles covered. DNFs have been several this year.

Sarah Cooper of the US was leading in the women’s section of RAAM.

She had covered 2377.3 miles.

Paratriathlete Andre Kajlich, the first handcyclist to qualify for the solo category in RAAM, was past the 2200 mile-mark. At the time of writing this report, he had covered 2224.9 miles.

In the team category, Sahyadri Cyclists, the four person cycling team from India attempting RAAM, had covered 1703.5 miles. They are still in the race.

RAAM proceeds from Oceanside on the US west coast to Annapolis in the east. It is approximately 3000 miles long and done in one go. There are no daily stages; there is only overall cut-off time. It is among the world’s toughest cycle races.

Strasser holds the record for the fastest time at RAAM: 7 days, 15 hours and 56 minutes, set in 2014. Away from RAAM, according to Wikipedia, he holds the record for the maximum distance cycled on a road bike in 24 hours – 556.856 miles (896.173 km). He also has to his credit the fastest crossing of Australia – from Perth to Sydney – in 6 days, 10 hours and 58 minutes.

Strasser’s progress at the 2017 RAAM was markedly different from others’. His momentum was steady. At the time of finishing, his lead over the second placed solo cyclist was over 400 miles.

Given those following Strasser still have several hundred miles to go, anything is possible in this race.

(The author, Shyam G Menon, is a freelance journalist based in Mumbai. The distances mentioned in this report are as per the race’s website including its live tracking system. For the spot report from Oceanside, the starting point of RAAM, please click on this link: https://shyamgopan.wordpress.com/2017/06/17/2017-raam-gets-underway-a-spot-report/ For a mid-race report / reflection please click on this link: https://shyamgopan.wordpress.com/2017/06/19/raam-mid-race-musings-will-it-be-first-indian-solo-finish-this-year/)