It starts today, June 11, 2019 at noon. The Race Across The West (RAW) is an ultra-cycling event across 930-miles of the western United States. The race in Oceanside, a Southern California beach town just north of San Diego and traverses across undulating terrain of the Coastal Mountain ranges, along the Sonoran and Mojave deserts. After climbing into the Rockies of southwest Colorado, the ride ends in Durango, Colorado. Two all-female teams were set to compete in the over 50 age category up until last week. After six months of intense training, Team Revolution Coaching, a two-female squad competing in the first ever over, two-female 60+ age category had to pull out unexpectedly. Team In Our Prime, a two-female team in the 50-59 age category, is set to take off this morning and Sistership will be following their progress over the next two days. Teams have 68-hour time limit to complete this grueling 930-mile road race with over 56,000 feet of elevation gain.
Karin Weller, 57 and Sylvia Maas, 56 have joined forces and experience to build an impressive female team of women over 50. Both women are veterans of the RAW and are coming off an impressive, record-breaking cycling race this past October 2018 at the 6-12-24 Hour World Time Trial Championship in Borrego Springs, CA. The goal of the time trial is to cover as much distance as possible in 24 hours. The women covered 451.2 miles and averaged 18.9 miles per hour, coming in one minute before the two-person male team.
Veterans of the Race Across The West
Both athletes are veterans of the RAW. Karin, an insurance accounting supervisor in Turlock, California, has found a way to juggle work-life with the many hours of training on the road to compete in several endurance cycling races over the past several years. In 2016, she competed in a two-person mixed team under Team Eland and decided to go do it alone in 2017. Karin placed 5th in the 50-59 age category. She found a winning combination with her 2018 teammate Sylvia Mass, a high school biology teacher from San Diego. Sylvia also competed as a solo competitor in 2016. After the team’s success this past fall at the World Time Trials, they are racing across the west and challenging themselves in the event that over the past 9 years, has become one of the crown-jewels of ultra cycling.
In a quote Karin shares on her website: stravagirl.com, she offers us a clue as to what drives her: “With ultra-cycling, I think it’s the distance I like and I like challenging myself. It’s not easy, it hurts but feels so good to know I’m keeping my speed up, and I’m pushing myself…I love how you feel, the freedom, the nature, the things you get to see.” Her statement summarizes a similar theme with most ultra-endurance athletes we’ve followed. These races seem to serve as vehicles in which the human spirit finds an excuse to see just how one can push themselves.
“I love how you feel, the freedom, the nature, the things you get to see.” (Karin Weeler)
Sistership will follow the race and particularly these two women, as they seek to set another record and find out once again, what lies on the other side of their current limits.
You can follow the race which starts at 12:00 noon on the official Race Across the West Race Tracker.
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