By Kenna Almberg
BJ Almberg from Ely, NV will be competing in Race Across America (RAAM) in June. He has been training for over 5 years, competing in shorter ultra cycling events anywhere from 300 – 930 mile distances where he has either won or finished second in all of them.
RAAM is one of the most respected and longest ultra cycling events in the world. Since 1982 cyclists from all over the world have competed either solo or in teams of 2, 4 or 8 people. BJ will be competing solo. The race begins on June 13th in Oceanside CA, traverses three major mountain ranges (Sierra, Rocky and Appalachian), crosses four of America’s longest rivers (Colorado, Mississippi, Missouri and Ohio) and the Great Plains. Also, it passes through such iconic American landmarks as the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts, Monument Valley, Great Plains, and Gettysburg. Solo cyclists are given up to 12 days to finish and at the end BJ will have covered over 3,000 miles and climbed over 175,000 feet in elevation. There is no other race in the world like RAAM. No other race combines the distance, terrain and weather. No other event tests a person’s willingness to not give up. To put it in perspective, more people have summited Mt. Everest than have finished this race in its 41 years of existence.
This is a supported race that will require a 10-12 member crew between 3 vehicles. The crew’s job will be to keep him on the bike as long as possible up to 21 hours a day. Keeping him hydrated, consuming enough calories, and preventing or addressing any physical issues will be a constant challenge for the crew.
Race Across America has become a huge platform for raising funds for great causes. BJ’s efforts will be raising funds for the Clean Water in Ghana Project. Six million people in Ghana are without clean water. Fredrick Partey, an Ely resident and Ghana native, started the Clean Water in Ghana Project several years ago and with assistance of the Soda Springs Presby Church, he has been able to install a few freshwater wells. With the money raised during RAAM we can help Fredrick bring more freshwater wells to his home village in Ghana. A media crew with our own local Director of Tourism for White Pine County will be following along documenting this incredible journey.
You can support BJ and his fundraising for this worthy project by making a contribution or sponsoring one of 54 time stations along the route. Contributions can be made at http://spot.fund/BJsRaceForCleanWaterInGhana. You can also donate by check made out to White Pine Youth Center and mail to our fundraising coordinator: Mary Kerner, 980 Marich Way, Ely, NV 89301. There will be a link posted on the RAAM site that will allow you to follow the race from your phone or computer and any comments made on BJ’s Race Across America’s Fundraiser Facebook page will be read to him over the communication system while he is pedaling through hot deserts, up never ending summits and across the windy plains of Kansas, all the way to Annapolis. Any support would be welcome to not only make this a successful fundraiser but to help get BJ to the finish line!