TEAM EFFORT: Riders preparing for the Race Across America (from left) John Carey, Leon Harris, John Eastham, Ray Shadforth and Michael Shadforth.
TEAM EFFORT: Riders preparing for the Race Across America (from left) John Carey, Leon Harris, John Eastham, Ray Shadforth and Michael Shadforth. Patrick Woods

Cricks Auto Group heads for "world's toughest bike race"

COLLECTIVELY, this group of blokes has ticked some pretty big adventure boxes.

Among them were triathlons, marathons and Ironman events. But they were looking for a new challenge.

Cricks Auto Group chief executive John Eastham searched "world's toughest bike race" on Google.

He soon found their next adventure: a 4800km journey from west to east across the United States - the Race Across America.

"I played a few YouTube videos and that was it, I was hooked," Mr Eastham said.

"I sent them to the boys and they too were hooked."

This is no gentle spin across the States. It's a race from the start to the finish.

While there is a solo category, the most popular are the teams division where groups of two, four or eight can enter.

Two four-man teams will be entered into the event to be staged next June including Mr Eastham, and fellow Sunshine Coast riders and businessmen Ray and Michael Shadforth, Michael Callow and Leon Harris, along with Alan Bradley and Scott Gilbertson (Sydney), and Adam Carmichael (Townsville).

The group hopes to finish in about 6 1/2 days with an average of 32kmh.

After leaving San Diego riders face a prevailing headwind for much of the journey, with the route first tackling the Rockies, then it's the wide open spaces of corn fields and deserts, while the steepest climbs come at the Appalachians in the east.

"We think we are an outside chance of a podium and that would make us the fastest Aussie team," Mr Eastham said. "There have been three Australian teams to do the race. We are not riding 4800km each, we are riding 1200km each over a week, so it's not just about finishing. We want to be competitive."

Logistics are one of the greatest challenges, with each team having a crew of 13 support staff including two RVs and two vehicles.

John Carey from Cyclezone Mooloolaba and Jason Crowther of Atlas Multisports are team captains.

All money raised will be channelled into Montrose Access and Outrun Cancer.

All riders and support crew are paying their own way to the States with corporate sponsors providing material and logistical support.

Race US

Start: Oceanside, California.

Finish: Annapolis, Maryland.

Route: 4830km, 55,000m of elevation. Crosses 12 states, passing through 88 counties and 350 communities.

Like Multisport events? The Sunshine Coast Daily produces a free e-magazine each fortnight. Email multisportmecca@apn.com.au to join the mailing list.



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