Ear to the ground

“I must not have done that right. I think I actually enjoyed it.”

– A competitor in the recent IHBC East Animas Time Trial, which covered 14 miles and concluded with a grueling mile-long uphill finish

Wheels on fire

Some of the finest suffering available on two wheels will again pass through Durango in coming weeks. The fabled Race Across America (RAAM), a 3,000-mile cross-country cycling race, passes through Durango in mid-June.

The 2008 race starts in Oceanside, Calif., on June 7 and finishes in Annapolis, Md., about 10 days later, on the week of June 16. In all, successful RAAM competitors will climb more than 109,000 vertical feet, cross 14 states and pedal 3,047 miles.

Lon Haldeman, two-time winner, recently shared his RAAM experience withVelonews. “In the 1983 RAAM, I probably only slept 15 hours,” he said. “I remember riding through many nights with a low heart rate just trying to get down the road and stay awake. My legs were strong enough to ride faster, but I couldn’t force myself to pick up the pace.”

Sleep-deprived and struggling racers will be in the Four Corners region after crossing California’s Coast Range and making their way through the Mojave and Painted deserts. Riders will eventually find their way to U.S. Highway 160 and drop from Hesperus into Durango. The 2008 route will make for a fourth Durango stopover as well as a second visit to “RAAM’s classic trio of mammoth passes.” From Durango, cyclists will tackle Wolf Creek, La Veta and Cuchara passes before rolling into the windy plains of Kansas.

For more information on RAAM, log onto: www.raceacrossamerica.org.

   Social spinning

If racing across the Animas Valley is more your cup of tea, you’re in luck. Mountain Bike Specialists has started a weekly group ride where “fun” and “sunshine” are the rewards.

A Wednesday night ride is now taking off weekly at 5: 30 p.m. The ride is designed to be social and fun, and there will be no drops. The rides are free and cyclists need only show up, sign a basic waiver and pedal off into the sunset. Two hours is the maximum duration of the road and mountain bike rides but “that does not mean two hours of nonstop riding.

The Wednesday rides got under way June 4 with a spin out to Trimble and back. On June 11, riders will put on their knobbies and meet at Three Springs to explore the new mountain bike trails. A road ride to Colvig Silver Camp, mountain biking the southern end of Hermosa Creek and others are on tap for coming weeks.

Visit www.mountainbikespecialists.com for details.