Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Hell on Two Wheels

The Race Across America (RAAM) is considered one of the toughest endurance events in the world.
RAAM—the Race Across America—is a bicycle race like no other. It’s nothing like its more famous cousin, the Tour de France. RAAM is much crazier, more gothic, and even savage. Once the gun goes off on the Pacific Coast, the clock doesn’t stop, so if you sleep, you lose. The first rider to complete the prescribed 3,000-mile route—nine days later at the Atlantic—is the victor. Most racers manage two or three hours of sleep each day while the leaders get by on an hour and a half—or less. Sleep deprivation leads them to hallucinate, often for hours on end. This epic race is the most brutal organized sporting event you’ve never heard of and one of the best kept secrets in the sports world. Contestants have died, been maimed, and spiraled down into the nightmarish realm of the mad. Half of them don’t finish. In fact, only 200 racers have ever made it to the end. Outside magazine calls it “the toughest test of endurance in the world,” and one winner who also climbed the world’s highest mountain said, “Everest is more dangerous but RAAM is harder.”

Hell on Two Wheels takes readers inside a harrowing, 3,000-mile long ultra-distance cycling race and follows a handful of courageous athletes who test themselves, each other, and the limits of human endurance.

Hell on Two Wheels is a thrilling and remarkably detailed account of their ups and downs, triumphs and tragedies. This is more than just a race—it's a monster, a crucible, an unforgettable allegory about the human experience of pain, joy, and self-discovery.

Amy Snyder is a marathon cyclist, three-time Ironman finisher, and retired management consultant. She lives in La Jolla, California, and recently wrote Hell on Two Wheels, a book about a 3,000-mile nonstop bike race Outside Magazine called the toughest test of endurance in the world. Learn more about her book at www.hellontwowheelsbook.com.

Amy's book tour kicks off June 2nd, information and more dates can be found on the website. I will be receiving a pre-publication copy to review, so check back in several weeks to find out what I thought of the book! If you can't wait, pre-order the book through Amazon.

Get more information about this forthcoming book on the Hell on Two Wheels website, on Facebook, or Twitter.


  1. I have a friend here that has raced RAAM twice with his team, both times winning it. Amazing athletes.

  2. This honestly sounds like fun. I would take my 5-6 hours of sleep and just finish the race though unless there is some sort of time cut-off that wouldn't allow that.

    I am in awe of those guys doing this on 1.5 hours of sleep, or even 3 hours. That is amazing.

  3. I can't imagine traveling 3000 miles by any means other than air. Absolutely amazing.

  4. There are also 2 documentaries about this event - Race Across America and Bicycle Dreams. Haven't seen them yet but they're on my "must watch" list.

  5. Sounds pretty intense! Nice timing with your post - Dean Karnazes is finishing his 3000 mile run across the US today!

  6. I haven't read any cycling books yet, mostly running. I'm going to have to check it out : )

  7. Just when you think you've identified the hardest event out there, something else comes along. This is pretty intense.

    I couldn't even stare at a wall eating oreos all day on a half hour of sleep, so I'm out, though I think Jason has it right.

    All that aside, the concept of "death" and "cycling" is quite real today, RIP Wouter.

  8. I just learned of the Barkley Marathons, but this totally blows that out of the water and I can't believe that I'd never heard of it! 1 1/2 hours of sleep per day...this sounds brutal.

  9. Why does stuff like this appeal to me? I mean, I wouldn't want to RACE it at this point in my life... but just to do it even is so incredibly appealing.

    I also have an interest in hiking the Appalachian Trail... and driving cross-country with my 4 kids and no husband.

    Just push myself to the limit...

    I may need to read this book.

  10. I would have to train like the old school USSR olympic teams did. 4 hours of stationary riding while placed in front of a brick wall. Thsi being done for days and weeks on end to solitify mental strength. I don't see that on my bucket list but it sure sounds great.

  11. RAAMers are crazy, for sure! Sounds like a great read.

  12. Both times I've ridden the Katy Trail, a RAAM rider has ridden past. Kind of cool to have that brush with the race. I'd love to ride cross country, but not race it. If I went without sleep for a day, my own support crew would be ready to run me over.

  13. awesome! makes me all worked up just reading this post. I will have to check this out.


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