An annual week-long bicycle tour is peddling through parts of southwest Ohio this week. Roughly 1,600 riders are participating in the Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure.
Director Julie Van Winkle says this year's route includes Hamilton, Eaton, Oxford, Brookville and Miamisburg. "It's about 410 miles for the week if they do absolutely every optional mile along with the required ones. It's about 280 (miles) if you just ride on the days that you need to go from town to town."
She says the ride last came through this area in 1998. "We do go to a different part of the state each year and we have never in 28 years repeated a route exactly."
Riders are in Oxford Tuesday and head to Brookville Wednesday morning. The race, which started at the Butler County Fairgrounds, ends Saturday in Hamilton.
Race Across America (RAAM) bicyclists are also crossing Ohio this week with stops in Oxford and Blanchester. Those riders compete mostly in teams in the coast-to-coast endurance race.
On it's website, RAAM describes the race this way:
Race Across America (RAAM) is one of the most respected and longest running ultra-endurance events in the world. RAAM is seen as a pinnacle of athletic achievement not only in cycling circles but the greater sporting community as well.
In 1982, four individuals raced from the Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles to the Empire State Building in New York City. Covered by national television, the race captivated the public’s imagination. Relay Teams were introduced in 1992 and quickly became the most popular and fastest growing segment of the race. Team sizes are 2, 4 and 8 persons.
RAAM is about 30% longer than the Tour de France. Moreover, racers must complete the distance in roughly half the time, with no rest days.
RAAM is not limited to professional cyclists. RAAM is open to professional and amateur athletes alike. While solo racers must qualify to compete, anyone may organize a team and race.
Racers must cycle 3000 miles, across 12 states, and climb over 170,000 vertical feet. Team racers have a maximum of nine days but most finish in about seven and a half with the fastest in just over 5 days. Solo racers have a maximum of 12 days to complete the race, most finishing in 11 days with the fastest finishing in under 8 days.