Sunday, January 16, 2005

Race Across America to be broadcast

UltraMarathon Cycling Association, Inc.
For Immediate Release

Please let your club know via e-mail and/or your website that the NBC Sports will broadcast a two-hour show of the 2004 Race Across America on Saturday, January 22, from 2:30 - 4:30 EST (check local listings.)  Below / attached is more information.

John Hughes
Managing Director, UMCA, Inc

Ultra-Endurance Race Adopts Cycling-For-All Approach

TEMPE, Arizona- The Insight Race Across America is pleased to announce a two-hour NBC Sports airing of the 2004 edition on Saturday, January 22, 2005, 2.30 p.m. - 4.30 p.m. EST (check your listings for any local variations).

The NBC broadcast adds to a host of feature-length shows focusing on the event internationally, and in its 24th year, RAAM is now receiving worldwide recognition beyond the wildest dreams of the race's founders. As it approaches its quarter-century milestone, RAAM is gradually becoming an international tradition. A key observer of RAAM's development is Jim Lampley, who hosted ABC's Wide World of Sports telecasts of the first five RAAM editions and who is one of the Executive Producers of the upcoming telecast.  Lampley's company, Crystal Spring Productions, was hard at work on RAAM even as he worked his twelfth Olympics as a broadcaster for NBC in Athens.

"Anyone who knows me well knows about my love affair with RAAM," Lampley says of the world's toughest ultra-endurance event.  "When we first arrived in Santa Monica in 1981 to meet John Marino and the three other men who would start out with him, we had no idea what we were about to see and I'm not sure they did either.  But from the wee hours of that first night, chasing Lon Haldeman into Death Valley, I've always felt this is the ultimate American trip.  Now we have a great opportunity to share it with millions of Americans who have never really seen it, Pacific to Atlantic across the broad backs of three thousand miles of roads, from the inside out, the way we see it on RAAM.  The name alone still give me chills, has for twenty-five years:  The Race Across America.  There's only one."

At the same time the television presence of the event is taking a giant step forward, its presence on the ground is multiplying rapidly. This represents a coordinated move by the event management to build on the long and distinguished history of RAAM to make it North America's premier road cycling event.

Insight RAAM is the American answer to the Tour de France, attracting many of the leading ultra-marathon cyclists in the world to climb their own Mt. Everest. Going the rest of the American way, race organizers offer the opportunity for nearly anyone with a driving desire to compete alongside the hard core elite of the sport to sign up for the ride of a lifetime. A corporate team division was recently added for 8-person teams, in which each rider takes on about 1/8th of the challenge a solo RAAM rider handles, riding 3 hours per day. While still challenging, this puts RAAM within the reach of practically anybody who rides a bicycle regularly - and it creates a spectacular opportunity for organizations to participate in employee/customer team building as well as support their charity of choice. For conventional bicycle racing teams, the 4-person team category is ideally suited to top amateur and professional teams. After beating an international field, the 4-person Action Sports team took away $25,000 in prize money last year.  Olympic speedskating legend and bicycle road racer Dr. Eric Heiden will compete with a four-man team from Sacramento next year.

The movement to give America's bicycle race to more American cyclists is augmented by sponsorship activation specialists O2 Sports Media, who have devised a plan for 2005 that reidentifies RAAM as North America's bicycle race.  Riders of all abilities are invited to participate in organized rides along selected parts of the route, from 10 - 100 miles, celebrating the great continental crossing, the spirit of cycling, and of course saluting the racers themselves as these determined souls power through one of the world's most arduous sporting events.

According to race director, Jim Pitre: "RAAM is such a special cycling event that we want everybody to have a piece of it. And we want to provide more opportunities for our sponsors to activate their sponsorships, and provide more people for them to do this with. And it's good for the racers, too-they get more support out there on the road. 3,000 miles in a bit over week can seem an awfully long time when you're the one spinning the pedals, and the more fans out there on the course the easier it gets."

The Insight Race Across America starts in San Diego on June 19th and ends in Atlantic City on June 28th. The planned 3,000 mile route passes through California, Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illiniois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey, and includes about 150,000 feet of climbing. Up to 150 cyclists from 15 nations are expected to participate in the 2005 edition. For more information, visit

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