Cycling: Christoph Strasser won his third Race Across America (RAAM) on his fifth start. And that in a new record time of 7 days, 15 hours and 56 minutes. He has thus clearly undercut his own record from the previous year of 7 days, 22 hours and 11 minutes.
At the age of 31, Christoph Strasser, who came tenth in the athletes of the year in Austria last year, has finally blossomed into one of the outstanding extreme athletes in the country. Today he reached the finish of the Race Across America in Annapolis (Maryland) with a lead of more than 750 kilometers on the Brit Mark Pattinson, who was previously second. The Styrian completed the 4.880-kilometer route in 7 days, 15 hours and 56 minutes (unofficial result of the race director).
"I'm absolutely speechless, not only because of the exhausting last week. It's unbelievable for me that it turned out to be such a great time - for the second time I broke the magic 8-day mark", said a speechless Strasser at the finish, who is now primarily looking forward to a juicy steak and the first solid food since last Tuesday. Christoph about his first emotions: “Now the joy outweighs the fact that the 184 hours in the saddle are now over. I am very proud that I was able to get this third victory again with a record run. My biggest thanks now, above all, to my eleven-strong team. They really did an incredible job!”
The superlatives roll over after Strasser's third RAAM triumph. His big goal was the double, which no Austrian has ever achieved before him. With a start-to-finish victory, this was achieved in a convincing manner. His consistency was particularly impressive. No other driver before him in the 32-year history of the RAAM was as fast in the early stages and he generally finished the race as the fastest overall.
While last year he unwound the RAAM with an average speed of 25,297 kilometers per hour on his first record run, this year he was able to increase to 26,41 kilometers per hour. His total sleep time over the past eight days was only 6:30 hours. The gross driving time including all breaks, bike and clothing changes is around 184 hours, he has been sitting exclusively on his bike for around 170 hours since last Tuesday 22 p.m. (CET).
For the doctor and team boss Rainer Hochgatterer, the record run can be divided into influenceable and non-influenceable factors. “What you have no influence on is the weather: at the beginning we had a tailwind, little rain, overall it wasn't too hot and we didn't have unnecessarily long construction site stops. On the other hand, we had extremely strong crosswinds and difficult conditions, especially in Kansas halfway through the race.”
Christoph came to the United States with a bomb form and according to the team boss he made no mistakes: “He was insanely focused and motivated, had very good intrinsic motivation and, despite the lack of opponents, he carried his “racing toughness” through to the end. Especially in a race like this, the team in the background is extremely important and the well-rehearsed team of eleven didn't make any mistakes. We also had no procedure, a very good nutritional concept and the medical problems (buttocks, knees, arms) were always under control.” Hochgatterer is impressed by the mental strength of his protégé: “Christoph is a thoroughbred professional and has matured a lot in recent years. Last year he broke the sound barrier of eight days. From a mental point of view, we knew that we could go even faster. It's like the 100m world record when certain limits fall.”
The records of Christoph Strasser at the RAAM
- fastest RAAM: 7 days 15 hours 56 minutes
- Fastest average speed ever at the RAAM: 26,41 km/h
- 3rd win after 2013 and 2011
- 1st Austrian to double at RAAM
- 5th rider to take the double: Ion Haldeman (USA), Bob Fourney (USA), Rob Kish (USA), Jure Robic (SLO)
- youngest winner of the RAAM (2011)
- Fastest initial speed: 900 km/h for the first 32,2 miles
- fastest first two days: 950 miles in 48 hours
- 1st rider to stay under eight days twice