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The Clay County Advocate - Press-Flora, IL
  • Race Across America

  • Race Across America
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  • Charleston, IL Resident Keith Wolcott Prepares for Bicycle Race of a Lifetime – Across the USA
    Charleston, IL May 10, 2014 – If you live near Coles County, perhaps you’ve seen him bicycling on the area roads. Keith Wolcott, 57, of Charleston, IL, is preparing for the Race Across America (RAAM) Powered by Trane – a transcontinental bicycle race that starts in Oceanside, CA, and ends in Annapolis, MD.
    On June 10, 2014, Wolcott and his support crew will embark on a 3,000-mile race which tests competitors’ physical limits, challenges their mental resilience and proves their commitment to a cause.
    Wolcott is described as “an accidental RAAM racer” by UltraRace News because he unknowingly qualified for RAAM in 2012 when he completed a qualifying race in Iowa. By riding more than 400 miles in the Ultra Mid-West 24-Hour Race, he met one of the qualifications for entering RAAM. “I wasn’t even thinking about doing RAAM,” said Wolcott. “But when I learned that I had qualified for the race, the idea started to grow on me.”
    Though eligible to compete in RAAM last year, Wolcott and his wife, Ellen, decided an additional year to prepare would be good. Over the past 18 months, they have made extensive preparations for the race – assembling and training a support crew, acquiring equipment and supplies for the event, and – of course – building endurance and stamina through training rides.
    A mathematics professor recently retired from Eastern Illinois University, Keith has logged more than 20,000 training miles in the past 16 months. This includes a couple of reconnaissance rides on mountainous parts of the RAAM course (New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, as well as Maryland and West Virginia.)
    Last summer, the Wolcotts conducted a 5-day test with the support crew on the roads around Charleston. “The purpose of that exercise,” said Keith, “was to determine whether or not I could ride 250 miles a day for 5 days.”
    Clearly, the Wolcotts and their crew – Team Wolcott – passed that test, and in a few short weeks, they will be on their way to the RAAM starting line in Oceanside, CA.
    RAAM racers and their support crews brave the desert, plains and mountain weather, and raise thousands of dollars for charities around the world.
    As part of their participation in RAAM, Team Wolcott has elected to highlight World Bicycle Relief -- a charitable organization which provides specially designed, locally assembled bicycles to students and healthcare workers in rural Africa.
    The toughest endurance event in the world, RAAM offers long-distance cyclists the opportunity to challenge themselves to the limit of their abilities. More than 2,000 cyclists have completed RAAM since its first edition in 1982. For solo racers, earning the title of RAAM Finisher is a daunting goal. Solo racers must complete the course in 12 days, though the first solo racer to cross the finish line last year arrived in just under 8 days. In its 33-year history, fewer than 450 solo racers have been named official RAAM Finishers.
    Page 2 of 2 - For Team Wolcott, “winning” is defined as putting forth their best effort, returning home safely, and, remaining good friends.
    “RAAM unites people of all backgrounds, nationalities and cycling histories in a shared adventure through team bonding, struggle and a strong sense of accomplishment,” says Fred Boethling, owner of RAAM and solo and two-man team finisher. “It’s man against the elements, the road, and ultimately, him or herself.”
    In Illinois, the RAAM route passes through or near Alton, Greenville, Vandalia, Altamont, Effingham, Dieterich, Newton, Oblong, Robinson and Hutsonville. To follow Wolcott’s progress in this year’s Race Across America, visit RAAM online at www.raceacrossamerica.org or the Team Wolcott website at www.teamwolcott.net.
    About the Race Across America (RAAM)
    The Race Across America, known as the “world’s toughest bicycle race”, will set over 200 competitors on a 3,000-mile route stretching from Oceanside, California to Annapolis, Maryland. Athletes race continuously day and night, on their own power or share the challenge with a team, and a crew of 8 - 15 people following in support vehicles with food and supplies for the race. These courageous adventurers brave heat, wind, thunderstorms, altitude, the dark of night, fatigue and sleep deprivation, cross several major mountain ranges and raise over one million dollars for charity. For more information and race updates, see http://www.raceacrossamerica.org.
     Contact: Keith & Ellen Wolcott, twinprimes@gmail.com, 217-508-9133
    Or Team Wolcott media contacts:
    Molly Daniel, bunnytel@yahoo.com, 217-549-2303
    Lori Casey: loricasey8466@gmail.com, 217-254-4649

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