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Race across America

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June 18, 2004
by Al Joens

Sheldon, IA -- An Iowa man has been training for a test of endurance unlike any other. Randy Van Zee will compete in the "Race Across America", a bicycle race, which begins Sunday in California.

Randy van Zee's life is all about the bike. "My life has pretty much been training, go to work, training, sleep and then start all over again."

Training for what is billed as "The world's toughest endurance bicycle race".

Three thousand miles from San Diego, California to Atlantic City, New Jersey. Randy’s one of 21 men from around the world who will be competing individually. He hopes to complete the race in ten days. "I just gotta see if I can do It."

Training for randy means 1,400 miles in the saddle every week, as many as 250 miles a day. Randy’s putting on most of those training miles here on the back roads of northwest Iowa. He’s out hours before dawn. And way past nightfall.

Lest you doubt he can do it, consider this: to qualify for the race, Randy had to pedal at least 400 miles in a 24-hour time trial. No problem. He’d done that nine times before.

Does someone have to be insane, a little bit, to do something like this? "Well, I’m starting to think so. You know, at first, I thought, you know, this will be great. You know, it'll be fun. But as we get closer to the race, I sometimes ask myself 'what am I getting into?' you know?" a monumental goal.

But one that randy and those who know him believe he will achieve. Randy will travel with a support crew of seven, including a mechanic and two medical technicians.

One big challenge will be lack of sleep. Randy expects to sleep just one-to-three hours each day of the race. For more information, check out www.raceacrossamerica.org.

posted at 11:25AM by dave.miller@walb.com

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