Have you ever tried one of the RAAM Challenge events? If not, this would be a great place to start! It’s one of the coolest ride series around, and it’s on March 8th, 2014. We sat down for an amazing interview with the newest host of the event, Jon Reiling.
Why join your ride?
First of all, the thing that I am most proud of is that we have something for everyone. All levels of riders. We have a half mile ride, all way up to a 400 mile ride for those qualifying for RAMM. There is also an option to ride solo or as a team. As a team, you can ride it has a 2 man or 4 man team, and split it up between riders. Additionally, we focus on the community. Texas has an amazing cycling community, which is one of the reasons we chose the Austin event. We want to support the community in all aspects. This year, we are highlighting the city manager, Ralph Hendricks; he was hit on his bike in October. Charity 5K run is going to be done along side the ride as well. There will be beer, wine, and live music preformed by John Anthony Martinez at start and finish.
How long has your ride been around?
Well, out of the challenge series event, we are new. We are going our 3rd, but RAAM has been around over 25 years.
What was the motivation behind starting the ride and who benefits from it?
I came on this year to focus on the challenge series. The name RAAM is well known, but the Challenge series is lesser known and thought of only to be involved with riding 3000 miles. But they are separate events, and this is about helping to remove that stigma. We want people to be outside, riding, and enjoying the ride. We are trying to brain a consistent experience.
Logistically can you give us an idea of how many volunteers, finances and planning it takes to put on this event?
It takes a lot! We have about 35 to 40 volunteers just to handle the start and finish and the aid stations. We are always open to people taking charge of an aid station. We have help from the Chamber of Commerce, and the community, and it is a massive undertaking. Venders, police, camber of commerce, all help out. It is a huge event that we have to make sure everything is safe. But, I will say, you get done, you are exhausted, but you see so many people who had fun, and see those who took on a personal challenge.
Do you have a map of the start facility showing registration, parking, all toilets, water/snacks, start line?
What is the most rewarding experience of hosting this event?
It has taught me how much work goes into these events! When I do triathlons, I find myself high-fiving all the volunteers and forgetting about my time.
What is the average number of participants?
Since we are a new event, we have been seeing about 100 to 200 participants. Our goal this year is 250-500. We would love to have 2500 to 3000 in the next few years.
What can folks do to support you and your mission?
The biggest thing is, spread the word! The number one thing they can do it show up and have a great time! The second thing is to bring you friends and family and let us know and break the stigma.
Do you ride, and if so, what kind of bicycle do you have?
I ride a Specialized S Work Tarmac. I live right at the base of the Rockies and love riding every chance I get! I’m waiting to get the snow to leave.
Anything else you’d like to tell folks about this ride?
I would like people to know we have 7 different Challenge Service events. We have a lot of people who come, from all over the US to these events. They make wonderful vacations. We also have people who come from all over the world who come to qualify for RAAM, because this is one of the only 400mile races in the US. We kind of take a European approach to this, and make sure our distances are accurate. Our 100 and 200 distances are perfect for people training for an Ironman and other such events.
CLICK HERE – for more information about this ride.
Well, that’s all for this interview. Make sure you hurry and register for this great event! Don’t miss out Wheel Brothers!