Three-time Ironman finisher Amy Snyder takes the wraps off the best kept secret in the sports world, the Race Across America (RAAM), a bicycle race like no other. Unlike its famous cousin the Tour de France, RAAM is much crazier, more gothic, and even savage: Once the gun goes off the clock doesn't stop, and the first rider to complete the prescribed 3,000-mile route is the victor.
In Hell on Two Wheels, Snyder follows a group of athletes before, during, and after the 2009 RAAM, the closest and most controversial race in the event's 30-year history. This work offers a thrilling and remarkably detailed account of the competitors' triumphs and tragedies as they test themselves, each other, and the limits of human endurance. As RAAM exacts its vicious toll, Snyder shows how the racers discover their essential humanity and experience profound joy and completeness, demonstrating how such a grueling effort can also be cleansing and self-revelatory.
©2011 Amy Snyder (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
Reading this book made me realize that the participants in RAAM are no doubt the toughest, baddest, and most mentally focused athletes in the world. Going through RAAM is like subjecting yourself to Navy Seals Hell Week - except with the added pains of saddle sores, neck paralysis, pulmonary edema, swollen hands and feet, hallucinations, and a host of other ailments. The author did a great job in helping the reader understand what motivated each of the main contestants portrayed in the book, and how they dealt with the tortures of this grueling race. I can't say it was motivational - as some sports books are. This was more of a drama / documentary - but gave me a greater appreciation for these athletes.
Good book. Hard to follow at times.
I didn't like how the author compared RAAM to races like Leadville 100, Badwater, Tour de France, etc and suggested they pale in comparison to the effort needed for RAAM.
I am completely impressed with the physical and mental toughness of RAAM cyclists, but I would NEVER suggest or imply they are superior to the efforts of a finisher in one of these previously mentioned ultra endurance events.
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