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Sat 14th Dec 2019
Ready for RAAM: James Gilfillan
Posted by: Editor
Posted on: Monday 16th May 2011

Tags  Ian Patterson  |  James Gilfillan  |  Nick Crosby  |  RAAM  |  Race Across America  |  Team Feat  |  Wayne Smith

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The Race Across Amercia (RAAM) is one of the most iconic and toughest sporting challenges in the world. In June this year, four members of New Forest based Team Feat, including reigning Ironman 70.3 and ITU Duathlon World Age Group Champion James Gilfillan will be heading to San Diego to head off across the USA on a cycling journey which ends at City Dock, Annapolis over 3000 miles later - and they hope it will take just six days.

Here James describes how some of their recent preparations for the big event have gone.

New Forest based Team Feat's ( preparation for this year's Race Across America, the infamous 3030-mile bike race, the past two weeks have seen the team make giant strides towards the event in June.

Using the extra bank holiday courtesy of HRH, the whole team took part in a night-time dress rehearsal, riding through the night covering over 160miles in eight hrs on a route through Wiltshire, Dorset and Hampshire, following maps and route descriptions, practising rider changeovers, following support car rules and communication between teams, crew and riders.

The course threw up some surprises and took everybody to some new parts of the area perfect for training. The weather played its part too, giving us a taste of riding at night in torrential rain whilst descending in to and climbing out of West Lulworth, much to the amusement of the locals in the village pub confused by our roof rack, flouro jackets and flashing warning lights whilst waiting for a rider change over.

Being Friday night, whizzing through Bournemouth, Boscombe and Christchurch brought some interesting looks from the late night drinkers, as well as the police, who obviously thought we looked organised enough to be left alone.

Needless to say everybody learnt something throughout the night and all agreed it was a worthwhile exercise. No fundamental problems despite some interesting route notes courtesy of Map-my-ride and a serious near miss for Wayne Smith courtesy of some New Forest Ponies sleeping in the middle of the road at 2am!

Preparing for a team  change and night riding in the New Forest

The second event took place at Ceno restaurant in Southampton, one of the teams sponsors. The restaurant hosted a fund-raising evening for the team and their charity, Wessex Heartbeat. With a live band, auction, raffle and dodgy impromptu dancing by three of the riders! Being a four man team, the AWOL rider knows who he is and will on washing duties during the race.

The restaurant put on a great BBQ buffet and were less phased by the awful rain than the riders had been a week earlier and provided more food than even the combined appetites of the four riders could manage, though a request for the chef to join the crew was declined by the restaurant owner.

The evening saw presentations by Wessex Heartbeat Chief Executive D'Arcy Myers and Team Captain Nick Crosby, both leaving the guests with no uncertainty why the team were raising money for the charity.

The team had sought out prizes for the raffle and auction and the guests dug deep purchasing 1400 raffle tickets and bidding a total of £2,200 in a lively, well fought, auction led by Peter Woods, with a helicopter flight and evening at the Master Builders Hotel at Bucklers Hard proving very popular.

The team are still on the lookout for partners and sponsors. If anybody is able to help with equipment and kit for the riders, nutrition or kit for the crew or fund the team to ensure they can do the best for Wessex Heartbeat then we'd be pleased to hear from you.

Check the team out at where you can use the Just Giving page to sponsor the team's charity and learn more about the team and crew, or join us on Facebook.

The Team Feat RAAM team

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