4 Taiwanese take on 3,000-mile bike race across United States
A team of four Taiwanese bikers on Saturday (U.S. time) joined competitors from around the world in the Race Across America team event, a strenuous bike ride covering 3,000 miles from California to Maryland.
The four bikers are Hsiao Yiting, a doctor, Juan Chien-yeh, a software engineer, and sales managers Huang Yi-kuang and Lu Hsuan-chiu.
“All four of us are not the kind of people who give up easily. We joined this event to challenge ourselves,” said Juan, the team's captain, before they set off.
Over the next week or so, the group of four will pedal 3,000 miles in a relay format from Oceanside, California to Annapolis, Maryland in the annual race, one of the world's toughest and most grueling bicycle events.
“The route passes through deserts and the Rocky Mountains, so temperature differences could reach 50 degrees Celsius,” Juan said, expecting the large temperature difference to be a challenge for his team.
The bikers will travel across 12 states and climb over 170,000 vertical feet. Team racers have a maximum of nine days to com- plete the event, while solo racers have a maximum of 12 days.
“Although none of us have ever participated in a 5,000-kilometer bike event before, we hope to finish the race in seven and a half days,” Juan said.
He said the four bikers are divided into two groups that are on the move around the clock. Each group takes a turn pedaling 180-200 km at a time while the other group rests in a support vehicle.
"I have not participated in a long-distance biking event for a long time," said Hsiao Yi-ting, the only female in the group.
Hsiao said she really struggled to make up her mind on whether or not to compete before finally deciding to go for it.
Although all four bikers have participated in 1,200 km bike rides before, it will be the first time they travel 5,000 km, Juan said.
Before setting off on Saturday, the bikers had spent their weekends cycling around Taiwan to train for the race.
Throughout the journey, they will be wearing clothes emblazoned with Taiwan's national flag and the word TAIWAN, they said, to give Taiwan exposure across the United States.
Four Taiwanese bikers begin their leg of the Race Across America event, which will take them across terrain of more than 5,000 kilometers, yesterday.