Jeff Foster and his team will race 3,100 miles from California to Maryland to raise money as part of the annual Race Across America (RAAM)! The RAAM is considered one of the toughest in the world given the length (longer than the Tour de France), the non-stop 24/7 racing format, the mountain climbs totaling 176,000 vertical feet and the extreme weather conditions. The desert sun heats temperatures to 100+ degrees, while the passes in the Rocky Mountains can bring freezing temperatures.
Not only is the RAAM challenging, but it’s also a huge platform for racers to raise awareness and money for charities of their choice. Jeff has chosen the Innovative Recreation Cooperative (IRC) of Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center to receive a portion of his proceeds. He says, “RAAM is considered the most difficult bicycle endurance event in the world but it pales in comparison to the challenges many in our community live with and overcome each day.”
Created in 1994, the IRC Program helps meet the needs of individuals who have suffered a life-changing illness or injury in East Tennessee. The program is an affiliate of the Patricia Neal Rehab Center at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization.
“Our group decided on doing the RAAM late summer of last year. We began training fall of last year. Now, with only one week until the big race, our entire team has ramped up training sessions to almost 6 days a week…” explained Jeff Foster, CFP®. The team has been on several simulation rides to practice riding through the night, switching riders, camping and other logistics. This past weekend, Jeff and Marty Prince (fellow Knoxville team member) rode to the top of the new parkway in Wears Valley… a quick 76 miles!
Team EndoPark is a group of 6 cyclists and their 8 support members. The name, “Team EndoPark,” is a combination of “Endo” as in Huntsville Hospital Department of Pediatric Endocrinology (two of the team’s riders are raising money for a program to help fight juvenile diabetes) and “Park” as in Parkwest Medical Center (where two Knoxville riders are MDs).
How They’ll Do it
The 6 riders plan to rotate shifts biking every 40 minutes. To accomplish their goal, each rider intends to average 18.8 miles per hour during their shift. Rotations are quick, making the entire trip a collective group effort. Hydration and physical stamina are of utmost importance during the journey. The riders will rely on one another and their support team of 8 for navigation, encouragement and nourishment. Most importantly, their support team will help Team EndoPark with meal prep, hydration, equipment and first aid throughout their journey across the United States.
Donate to the IRC Program
If you’d like to support Jeff’s Race Across America to “Remove all Barriers” for those who’ve suffered a life-changing illness or injury in East Tennessee, donations can be made to the Patricia Neal IRC program by credit card or check. It’s easy to donate! Click here to see exactly how.
Live tracking of all RAAM races begins June 15th. You can view that here.
You can also keep up with Team EndoPark on their Facebook here.