Borrego Sun - Since 1949

Race Across the West


Last updated 7/18/2023 at 12:11pm

As riders made their way through Borrego Springs for the first time stop of one of the toughest cycling races in the world, they were greeted with quite pleasant weather in comparison to other years.

With temperatures barely grazing the 90s, compared to weather where it hit over the 100s, it was a nice change for the riders of Race Across the West and Race Across America.

The 3,037-mile Race Across America (RAAM) and its 928-mile counterpart, Race Across the West (RAW) is not for those inexperienced. With temperatures reaching triple digits in the desert to high climbs, this race requires not just a physical strategy, but a mental one too.

The race also once again featured Borrego Springs' very own Sylvia Maas, who dedicated her race to raise money for Borrego High School seniors.

In this race, there are three major climbs, previously highlighted in previous issues of the Borrego Sun. Three major climbs (up the Pala Grade near Oceanside plus two in the Rocky Mountains) and one minor (across the Appalachians) encompass fully one-third of the RAAM course, ending in Annapolis, Maryland. Also, about three-quarters of the 928-mile RAM course involves climbs, ending in Durango, Colorado. The races can and are won or lost on those climbs.

Many of those also wanting to keep track of the racers and their treacherous trek were unfortunately tricked into bogus "live streaming" links as fake Facebook account users posing as official RAAM affiliates posted comments on RAAM's posts.

RAAM posted on their Facebook, "We're doing our best to delete them as they're posted, but these scammers are persistent. We don't want to turn off or restrict comments – that would take away from the enjoyment of our many loyal fans."

"The links claim to take you to a free live stream, but in reality, will melt down your computer faster than an ice cube on a summer sidewalk in Borrego Springs. The links are phishing scams that will ask you to sign up for live streams that do not exist and surrender credit card or personal information in the process."

A few users unfortunately fell for the gimmick.

Competing in the solo female category for RAW this year, there was just one entry for each category – under 50, 50 – 59 and 60 – 69.

Christie Tracy (USA) finished with a time of three-days, eight-hours, and two-minutes with an average speed of 11.6 mph.

Wendy Larsen (USA) finished with a time of five-days and 25 minutes with an average speed of 6.23 mph.

Pamela Creech (USA) finished with a time of three-days, 15-hours and 24-minutes with an average speed of 10.6 mph.

In the under 50 solo male category, Fabio Silvestri (Brazil) finished first with a time of two-days, 10-hours and 45-minutes and an average speed of 15.8 mph. Right behind him was Matthieu Lossel (Denmark) with a time of two-days, 16-hours and 30-minutes with an average speed of 14.39.

Michael Phillips (USA) competed in the solo male 60 – 69 category with a time of three-days, 11-hours and 24-minutes with an average speed of 11.13 mph.

Herve Talabardon (France) finished with three-days, 18-hours and 20-minutes in the solo male 75 – 70 category with an average speed of 10.28 mph.

Sylvia Maas, Borrego resident and endurance cyclist, competed in the two-person Mixed Category (60 – 69) with partner George Thomas as Team Figgy, where they finished the race in two-days, eight-hours and 40-minutes with an average speed of 15.6 mph.

Thomas had a bit of trouble and decided to take a 2-mile run, but not voluntarily. He got a flat while his crew had gone ahead and evidently didn't have the means to fix the tire roadside, and so he took off his shoes and ran in his socks to catch up to his team and get another wheel.

Maas competed in the solo women's division in RAW last year, finishing in second place. She has raced RAW solo before and on a team twice.

In the 2021 race, she and Thomas competed in the two-person (50 – 59) Mixed Category, where they finished the race in a time of two-days, 17-hours, 51-mins, three mph faster than the nearest RAW racing team.

Ten-time RAW racer Marko Baloh (Slovenia) teamed up with multi-time WTTC 12-Hour champion Ryan Collins to break the two-person Race Across the West record this year. With an official time of 1 day, 20 hours and 20 minutes (20.94 mph average), Baloh and Collins of Team Infinity Bicycle Seats have broken the 2-Person 50 – 59 record set in 2021 when the Speed Cowboys (USA) completed the 928-mile route from Oceanside to Durango in 1 day, 22 hours and 40 minutes (19.89 mph average).

With less than 20 miles to go, rather than ride individually as they had for the previous 908 miles, Baloh and Collins set out together to ride the final miles as a team. At the finish they were greeted by Marko's wife, Irma, who has been with him for nearly all of his many RAAM, RAW, and WTTC races, Henry Diaz, Elisabeth Guevara, Jane Janousek, Borut Osojnik, and Randy Horton.

Nearly a day behind Team Infinity Bicycle Seats were Team Rusty Dogs of War finishing with an official time of two-days, five-hours and 23-minutes (17.39 average).

In the two-person male (50 – 59) category, BC Racing (UK), finished first with a time of two-days, two-hours and 38-minutes (18.34 average).

In the four-person female (60 – 69) category, Team Four Feisty Femmes (USA), finished with an average time of 16.31, in two-days, eight-hours and 56-minutes. And in the four-person male (under 50) category, Team EJ3 finished with a time of two-days, eight-hours and 15-minutes with an average of 16.51 mph.

Next issue: More coverage of the Race Across America Solo and Team racers.

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