No endurance event can be compared with the RAAM: the Race Across America which start annually in June. Participating cyclists have to cover 3,000 miles (4,800 km) from the Western Pacific Coast to the Eastern Atlantic Ocean Coast as fast as possible.
The race was originally organized by John Marino in 1982 and there were four competitors. The transcontinental event grew bigger every year. Nowadays there are approximately 250 participants and there are over 15 divisions, such as Solo Male, Solo Female, Four Person Mixed and Solo Male-Recumbent.
Unlike most multi-day bicycle races the RAAM has no stages and there is no specified distance to travel each day. Sleep is optional and the clock runs continuously from start to finish as in a Time Trial. The final overall finish time includes rest periods. The winner is the rider who can ride the fastest while also making fewer and shorter stops. The winner usually finishes in eight to nine days, riding approximately 22 hours per day.
The fastest men's speed was by Pete Penseyres in 1986, who rode the 3107 miles (5000 km) at 15.40 mph (24.8 km/h) in 8 days, 9 hours, and 47 minutes. The fastest woman was Seana Hogan in 1995, who finished 2912 miles (4686 km) in 9 days, 4 hours, 2 minutes - an average of 13.23 mph (21.3 km/h) . The eight-person team record was established in 2009; this squad of riders completed 3,021 miles in 5 days, 9 hours and 5 minutes. Jure Robic of Slovenia who won the race five times.
As many as 50% of solo participants drop out due to exhaustion or for medical reasons. Each rider is assisted by a support crew that follows in vehicles to provide food, water, mechanical repairs and medical aid. A vehicle with flashing lights is required to follow the rider during the night to ensure safety.