Race Across America (RAAM) is coming to Washington again this month.
The annual transcontinental bicycle race makes its fourth appearance in Washington and 10th consecutive trip to this area. From 2003-08, the race had a time station in Marthasville.
This year’s race runs from Oceanside, Calif., and goes to Annapolis, Md. Solo women and the 60-plus men started June 12. The solo men will begin June 13 and all teams will start June 16.
This year, Time Station 34 will be at Revolution Cycles in Washington, the same place it’s been since the tour moved to the south side of the Missouri River.
For those not familiar with RAAM, it does not run like the Tour de France or the former Tour of Missouri. You’re not going to see a large number of riders charging through this area at one time. Riders leave Oceanside and roll at their own pace along the route. That means you could run across riders and their support teams at any time of the day or night.
The route through this area is Highway 94 east from Jefferson City to Highway 19 north of Hermann. Riders turn south, cross the Missouri River, and then turn east on Highway 100, going through New Haven before reaching Time Station 34 at Revolution Cycles.
From the time station, the teams continue east on Highway 100, turning left on Highway 47 and riding across the Missouri River bridge. From there, the teams continue to Highway 94, turning right and going through Dutzow. Teams continue on Highway TT to Highway T, turning left. The teams continue to the intersection with Highway D at Cappeln and transit east to New Melle. The route then follows Highway Z north into Wentzville.
Motorists are asked to be alert during the race. Riders are supposed to be in close contact with their support teams, but it is possible to find a rider a little away from his or her team if the chase vehicles are refueling or stopped for supplies.
Two riders have been killed during the race since it started coming through this area in 2003, although neither fatality happened in Missouri.
At least two riders have been injured in Missouri in recent years, but one of the accidents appeared to take place as two rival teams were fighting for the lead in one division north of Hermann. Cyclists are supposed to follow road rules.
While RAAM doesn’t bring a huge economic impact to the local area, it does go a long way toward the area’s international reputation among cyclists and others, which potentially could impact tourism.
For example, folks around Del Rio, Texas, probably have a bad impression of Missouri. Dex Tooke, who competed last season reported being assaulted by a motorist in Missouri during the 2011 race.
“One time in the Ozark Mountains I was going uphill about 8 miles an hour and cars behind me were all mad because they wanted to get around me,” Tooke said in an article currently posted on mywesttexas.com. “One upset motorist came around me and the mirror of his truck hit my shoulder. It was all intentional. I could have stopped and filed a police report but it would have taken some of my precious time.”