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[Update: On January 8 th , 2017 André became the first handcyclist to qualify for RAAM by finishing the SoCal400 course, 401.7miles, 20,462ft. of climbing in 31hrs 2minutes.]
With the grueling 3,000-mile Race Across America (RAAM) creeping closer on the calendar, cyclists eager to join in on the madness are in the process of qualifying. For Andre Kajlich, a hand-cyclist looking to be the first in his category to complete the race solo, that process could have gone smoother.
Andre traveled in early November from Seattle to Borrego Springs, a dusty Southern Californian town that hosts an annual endurance bike race. The qualifying marker for RAAM was to complete 400 miles in the 24-hour time trial;
click here to read: The Story from Borrego Springs.
To spoil it, Andre’s race went well for the first 200 miles. Then at 4 AM, the frame of his bike snapped on a slight slope without any warning. He got hauled back to the pits to grab his back-up handcycle: a rusty little rig with an uncomfortable seat and fraying gear cable. He got back out on the course and continued to crank, but at the end of the day came up short by about 55 miles.
The window for qualifying is not over, though. In mid-January Andre will attempt to qualify again, aiming for the same 400-mile mark in 24 hours. But as he prepares, it’s important to make sure the journey is financially possible.
Where will my donation go?
The original budget was meant only to cover travel, registration, food, lodging, and transportation for him and his crew. A detailed budget will be released in the coming weeks.
Now, of course, that budget must inflate to cover another qualifying race, and if his first bike cannot be repaired under warranty, potentially investing in a new bike altogether. This expense could be large considering elite handcycles are still handcrafted.
All donations will go toward the stated budget.
If Andre completes RAAM and we have any money left after the competition, we ask your permission donate it as a block gift to the Challenged Athletes Foundation.