As I type this, John Bergen has ridden 608 miles of RAAM (Race Across America). He's been riding for a little over 2 days and has 10 more days to make it to Annapolis, MD, which is another 2,400 miles away. Riders attempt the cross-country journey as teams of 2, 4, or 8 or race it as a solo rider, which what John is doing.
I sat down with John before he left for the start line in Oceanside, CA and asked him a few questions. What I found most impressive about John was his dedication to fit all his training into his already busy life. He is a husband, a father of two, and a co-founder of Society Consulting so to add hours and hours of training on top of his schedule meant riding through the night and sacrificing a lot of sleep.
Nuun: Why did you originally want to do RAAM? John: I came up with a personal challenge to tackle the 10 hardest endurance challenges on the planet, and during my research RAAM was on every list I found. It’s the greatest physical endurance test, I love to ride, seeing the country is this unique way is the opportunity of a lifetime. Plus it’s been an amazing platform to fundraise for charity (Fred Hitch Cancer Foundation).
How many hours do you train per week? What does a typical week look like for you? A typical peak-training week for me looked like this. Most rides were done on a trainer from 9pm to 6am. Monday - Rest Tuesday - 2-4 hr recover/base ride Wednesday - 5-8 hr ride Thursday - 3-6 hr ride Friday - rest Saturday - 8-12 hr ride Sunday - 12-20 hr ride
What is the coolest place you have ridden during training? I live in Redmond, WA and I really enjoyed riding from my house to the Canadian border which was 260+ miles round trip. I did this ride three times. I also did a 3 day training camp in Tucson, AZ, which is my most favorite place to train.
What's the biggest sacrifice you've had to make during training?Time away from family, has been really hard… I have a 3.5 year old daughter (EJ) and a 8 month old son (Meyer), and my wife (Katie)… I’ve lost a lot of time with them the last 6-8 months… looking forward to making up for lost time the rest of the summer!
Over the 12 days of RAAM, how many hours are you expecting to sleep? I'll hopefully average no more than 2-3 hours of sleep each day, so anywhere between 25-35 hours over the 10-12 days.
What part of the 3000 miles are you least looking forward to? Crossing the Mojave Desert. Temps can reach 120+ degrees...brutal!
What is your record Nuun consumption over a 24 hour period? I went through 3 tubes (36 tabs) in one training ride. I drink it a little stronger - 2 tabs per 20 ounces.
What do you plan to eat & drink on the ride? The main stable will be a combo of Nuun, Infinite, Power Bar products, and then I'll sprinkle in regular food (chips, fruit, milk shakes, peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, even pizza and burgers when available).
What is your favorite thing to do when you aren't riding? Spend time with family and friends, travel, and cheer for the Seahawks (10 year season ticket holder).
You can track John on his ride here.
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