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It wasn’t about the cycling: discovering more on Race Across the West

Jane CA climbing Palomar

Overcast and humid conditions prevailed in Oceanside, CA when Team WOW (Women on Wheels) lined up at the start of the iconic Race Across the West. Behind them was the original seed of the idea born from a shared goal of Jeana and Jane, and months of endurance specific training, often on indoor trainers through the winter months. Ahead of us lay 860 miles of desert roads comprising of over 40,000 feet of climbing and temperatures that would exceed 110 degrees.

Our goal? Simple – to complete the distance within the 68 hour time limit and raise as much money as possible for the Scleroderma Foundation and the Astro Brain Tumour Fund.

This was no simple undertaking though – the logistics of putting a team on the road had taken several months to fine tune, and relied heavily on a support crew of exceptional volunteers. So, Team WOW was in fact a team of eight. Support was provided by four indispensable men – who drove both the support truck and RV, ensured we were adequately fed, monitored our hydration, laundered our clothes and kept us motivated when times were tough.

Leah Mexican hatOur overall game plan was to rotate riders who would take pulls of up to 2 hours at a time. As the humid coastal conditions gave way to clear blue skies and the temperatures started to rise, this plan worked pretty well for the whole race with a couple of exceptions when the heat proved too much, and team mates needed to support each other by swapping in sooner rather than later.

However our leapfrog and direct follow support (from 7pm -7am) worked like clockwork – with support crew and racers communicating well from the start to ensure quick handovers and sufficient nutrition for whoever was riding.

In the end, while RAW is an iconic cycle race, it wasn’t really about the cycling. Highlights of the race were some breath-taking views – the Great Glass Elevator in Borrego Springs California; Sedona, Arizona at sunset; Monument Valley, Utah. We had the realization that as humans, we are very small compared to the extraordinary landscape around us. We were in awe over the fact that eight people from all walks of life who were not all well known to one another could pull together so well for a common goal.

4WOW with medals

Team WOW with their medals!

Team WOW completed the race in 57 hours – 4 hours ahead of their predicted schedule with an immense sense of achievement.

Ride rest repeatWe are immensely grateful to Swiftwick for providing us products to sustain the demands of multi-day racing through the desert climates of California, Arizona and Colorado. We used the ASPIRE ZERO socks and absolutely LOVED them! They felt comfortable the entire race and came in stylish colors (we had blue, orange, and black).

The Swiftwick compression socks were crucial as we traded riders every 60-90 minutes, and each of us had about 10-12 rides within the 57 hour race. Not ONE of us cramped or had any issues related to our feet! Thank you Swiftwick for helping us reach our goal and inspiring others along the way!

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