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Race Across America

The 3,100-mile charity challenge ends in Annapolis this week

    Feet pedaling and hearts racing, some 1,300 cyclists from all over the world and all walks of life challenge themselves in the Race Across America from Oceanside, California, to Annapolis City Dock.
    Race Across America is a test of speed, endurance and strength from the beginning to the end. Its intensive combination of distance, terrain and weather tests racers throughout their 3,100-mile journey. Across 12 states, cyclists climb more than 170,000 vertical feet.
    Both cycling teams and solo racers compete. Teams have a maximum of nine days to finish, while soloists have 12 days from the starting date on June 12. As they pedal, the world’s longest stop watch ticks on and on, until a racer crosses the finish line.

One Racer
    Among the solo cyclists is Annapolitan Michael Glass, 55, an attorney and principal of a self-named law firm.
    “He’s racing home,” says Jon Korin, president of Bicycle Advocates for Annapolis and Anne Arundel County.
    A lifelong causal biker, Glass became a serious cyclist in the mid-’90s. He works hard at it, training 25 hours every week since February 2017. In June, he qualified for the Race Across America in a three-and-a-half day, 800-mile race in Iceland, the WOW Cyclathon.
    In the Race Across America, he’ll step up his pace to 20 hours a day — with two to four hours of sleep each night. That’s what Korin calls “the basic game plan racers devise for getting across the country and keeping themselves going.”
    To finish, Glass must bike about 260 miles a day.
    “I just hope to finish,” Glass says. “Getting through it will be a win in itself.”
    Like many others, he is cycling to raise money for causes he believes in: the Green Beret Association and ­Fisher House. Across the country, Fisher House Foundation builds comfortable homes where military and veterans families can stay free of charge while a loved one is in the hospital.
    He funds his causes by way of donations to the Glass Family Support for Our Veterans, which he founded two and a half years ago. “Every dollar that’s raised is going directly to the charities,” he said.
    “If I had a do-over, I would have served,” Glass explained. “I have felt a debt to the people who have served, so I wanted to help give back to the veteran community.”

And His Crew
    To give back in the way he’s chosen, Glass depends on a crew of 10. Half are veterans. His crew chief, Jared Ross, was in special operations for 24 years. Ross chose the Green Beret Association, which provides support and services to people who served in the Army’s Special Forces, and their families.
    Annapolitan crew member Paula Carrigan has raised money for Fisher House, so Glass chose to support that charity for her.
    In the race, crews make sure their racers stay hydrated, eat right and are safe on the roads. At night, it’s a Race Across America rule that a vehicle must be following the cyclist with headlights on.
    “All the rider has to do is pedal,” says Jeff Magnuson, director of Race Across America. “The support crew does everything else. If the support crew isn’t together or on point, then the whole race could fall apart.”

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    Follow racers through their challenges at www.raceacrossamerica.org and greet any or all as they cross the celebratory finish line at Annapolis City Dock in a stream from June 21 to 25. They’ll be tired, hungry, thirsty — and welcome at Galway Bay Irish Pub, which is sponsoring Race Across America cyclists from Ireland and is inviting all racers to stop to refuel with authentic Irish food, drink and merriment.