“EVEREST IS MORE DANGEROUS, BUT RAAM IS MUCH HARDER.”
-WOLFGANG FASCHING, MOUNTAINEER, ADVENTURER AND THREE-TIME SOLO RAAM WINNER
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[Update: On January 8th, 2017 André became the first handcyclist to qualify for RAAM, doing so 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;
To spoil it (click here for full Story from Borrego Springs), 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.