Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Wooster's Mike McClintock to bike solo in Race Across America

Mike McClintock, 52, rode his first mountain bike race at the age of 38 with a baby seat still attached to his bike. The electrical company owner came in second at that race at Vulture's Knob and has been riding hard for 14 years ever since. But no ride will be as hard as the one he starts on Wednesday, June 15.

The Race Across America is billed as "the world's toughest bicycle race" -- an ultra-cycling event that's over 3,000 miles long (from Oceanside CA to Annapolis MD) and that must be finished within the 12 days allotted. What makes it even harder for Mike? The father of three is riding as a solo competitor, biking all those miles by himself and banned from riding in packs or drafting.

There are only 12 racers in Mike's division, Solo Men 50-59. As the RAAM website puts it, the solos are the stars of RAAM. Mike plans to average 260 miles of bicycling (20+ hours) per day to reach his goal and finish RAAM in 11 days. Only about half of all RAAM competitors finish the race; in the 30 years RAAM has been held, less than 200 solo racers have completed it.

Century Cycles is honored to be one of Mike McClintock's RAAM sponsors and is proud that Tom Wiseman, Assistant Service Manager in our Medina store, is on his crew.

"I admit I'm nervous," said Tom, who competed in the Fireweed 400 (a.k.a. The Great Alaskan Double Century) with Mike back in 2007, where they came in first in the men's duo category. "Historically, most of the time penalties in RAAM are for crew mistakes, not rider mistakes. There is no room for error. But Mike is ready. I've known him for 15 years and he's in his best shape ever."

Mike will be riding RAAM on his 2005 Specialized Tarmac that, as Tom puts it, "he has a real good relationship with." He's tapered now in his training, riding just 1.5 hours per day, but at its height was averaging over 550 miles of riding per week and went through 5 chains just in the past few months.

It may take a village to raise a child, but it also takes one to support a RAAM rider. McClintock Race Team secured parts and equipment from Century Cycles, Avenir, and Pearl Izumi to aid their quest. They received a PA system from Alstage Sound and Lighting for communication with Mike during the ride. Crew Chief Bob Haugh leaves tomorrow to drive the chase car to California, and the rest of the crew -- including Mike's wife Robyn -- are flying to LA from Ohio and Alaska on June 11. And they've studied the RAAM rules from top to bottom to make sure they don't miss a thing.

Upon Mike's return, we hope to hold an event at our Medina store with Mike, to hear all about his RAAM experience and to learn how we, too, can take our cycling from ordinary to extraordinary -- whether it's adding 10 more miles to our ride or 100 or, well, 3,000! In the meantime, you can click here to hear Mike interviewed on Radio Century Cycles back in April.

For more information about Mike and how you can help the charity he's riding for, Central American Medical Outreach, click here for the McClintock Race Team website.

Want daily updates during RAAM? Follow the McClintock Race Team on Facebook.

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