Maria Parker's blog

Getting ready for Race Across America

Submitted by Maria Parker on Mon, 03/12/2012 - 9:31

I recently made the decision to attempt Race Across America (RAAM)  in June of 2013 on my Cruzbike Vendetta.  No one enters into RAAM lightly.  It is the ultimate challenge for the ultracyclist. It is 3000 miles across the country starting in Oceanside California and finishing in Annapolis Maryland in under 12 days.  According to Jim, it has 128,677 feet of climbing.  I have been watching movies about it and reading books about it and talking to RAAM veterans and reading their blogs.  Frankly, I’m terrified.
There are two reasons I am attempting it:
1. My sister was recently diagnosed with a very serious brain cancer.  There is currently no cure for brain cancer and her doctors say she will likely die within a couple of years.  I believe that the path of my life, and my particular set of skills have brought me to this moment.   With your help, we can make a difference.   I am using RAAM as a platform to raise 1 million dollars for cancer research so that in the future mothers, sisters, friends, and children  won’t have to hear the words my sister and her husband had to hear in the doctor’s office after her MRI.  Please consider liking our face book page  and donating.   One million is such a big number; please consider donating and asking others to donate.

This is Jenny and I.

Jenny and Maria

2.  I secretly believe that RAAM will be a lot easier on the Cruzbike Vendetta than on any other bicycle. Many of the issues faced by RAAM racers are related to the biomechanical difficulties of an upright diamond framed bike.   How much better could they do with no saddle sores, Shermer’s neck, back, wrist, and shoulder issues?

The RAAM course.

raam map

This past week,  I started my training build up to RAAM.  I’m currently riding a version 1 Vendetta.  It feels great. I’ve done a couple of shorter tougher workouts and one longer (50 miles) less intense ride.  I use a power meter to keep within certain power zones and I have a coach, Jim Verhuel, of JBV Coaching who is guiding me. 
My husband Jim, and John Tolhurst are working hard to make sure that the Vendetta and any other equipment I use will be perfect for the race.  Jim is putting together an excellent crew and our crew chief is Dan Fallon, who blogs about cycling here.
They are worrying about sleep and follow vehicles and gear and logistics and all the really hard stuff. I am worrying about training and raising money to kill brain cancer.  It’s enough.

Jenny's MRI.

Maria Parker's blog
chaosknight's picture

Hey! Big thanks for the post

Hey! Big thanks for the post this so inspirational and insightful, looking forward to see more excellent article.
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brylle's picture

Thanks for sharing. This kind

Thanks for sharing. This kind of hobby is very fun. Your one of my inspirations to pursue my passion. Thanks and God bless.


Geotak2527's picture

Did you participate in sports

Did you participate in sports in high school or college?  If so which sports?  Prior to cycling on Cruzbikes were you into cycling?  You are such an amazing rider, I just wondering what your athletic background is.  I know you'll knock them dead in RAAM.

dorothymartin's picture

I like such a type of race

I like such a type of race because it's just an inspiration for us. I will have too join the race.
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Firecracker's picture

For anyone not up-to-speed on

For anyone not up-to-speed on RAAM, check out "Hell on Wheels" by Amy Snyder--a good read.

Romagjack's picture

Please keep us updated on all

Please keep us updated on all aspects of this enormous undertaking. I'm really pulling for Jenny. Maria, you are an inspiration to us all.

Maria Parker's picture

Thanks so much for this

Thanks so much for this encouragement Jack.  It really helps.  I was with Jenny yesterday, and she is doing pretty well. She is an amazing person who is handling this with grace and courage.  I'll try to do regular updates. 

Thanks again for your kind words.


cyclist1's picture

Congratulations on your

Congratulations on your commitment and resolve for cycling for a cause.  I'm sorry to hear about your sister's illness and prognosis.  I host a radio show and can interview you can get you some web PR.  If you are in the Northeast in June/July you may wish to add the American Cancer Society Philadelphia bike a thon to your agenda.
Please get in touch about your experience with the Cruzbike Vendetta.

Maria Parker's picture

Hi cyclist1: Thanks so much

Hi cyclist1:

Thanks so much for your comments.  I'd love to be a guest on your radio show.  Getting exposure is the most important and difficult aspect of fundraising.

 I've gone to the website of the ACS ride and book-marked it. If it's not too close to RAAM, I'll try to do it.  

It's a privilege to be able to ride the Vendetta and to try to do something to improve the future of others impacted by cancer. The Vendetta is amazing bike that makes us look better than we are.