Summary: In all, successful, RAAM competitors will climb over 109,000 feet, cross 14 states and pedal 3,047 miles.
RAAM leaves San Diego and immediately attacks one of the longest sustained climbs of the race. After passing over the summit of Coast Range, the racers plummet nearly a vertical mile into the southern California deserts. After several hundred miles of very hot riding, the course climbs back into the cooler climates of Prescott and Flagstaff, Arizona. The course continues north north west into the Indian Reservations of NE Arizona and the magnificent Monument Valley of southern Utah. Bending eastward, the racers will be challenged by the southern Colorado Rockies, and RAAM’s classic trio of mammoth passes: Wolf Creek, La Veta and Chuchara. After Trinidad, CO the course enters the high plains of eastern Colorado and the rolling hills of Kansas. In Missouri, the rollers become more significant—peaking along the banks of the Missouri River. Passing just north of St Louis, the racers cross the mighty Mississippi River and can start thinking of the finish line. After slicing across Illinois and Indiana along US 40, the course bends southeasterly through Ohio farming country. US 50 and the Appalachians are the next challenges to face the racers: east of Cumberland a series of three very tough climbs will make tired suffering legs scream. But even after these are behind the riders, the terrain through the Pennsylvania Dutch countryside will not let them rest. Not until the racers have shuttled across the Delaware River outside Wilmington does the road finally flatten out—only shortly before the racers finish their epic journey across the US on the famous Historic Boardwalk in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Racers familiar with the course used over the past few years will recognize most of the roads. Three major new sections have been developed for the 2005 race. Instead of crossing central Arizona and New Mexico, the route crosses southern Colorado, rejoining last year’s race in western Kansas. A new, much quieter and more bike-friendly route is being used between Hancock, MD and Rouzerville, PA. Finally, this year’s route follows US 40 across New Jersey—instead of US 322.