Steamboat Springs It's one of the longest, toughest bicycle races in America, and over the next few days, the competitors in the Race Across America will begin passing through Steamboat Springs en route to the finish line in Pensacola, Fla.
"They are in Utah right now," past competitor Katie Lindquist said. "It looks like there is one guy just smoking the rest of the field at least he is right now."
That guy who is smoking everyone is Wolfgang Fasching. The two-time winner of the race is currently 879 miles into the race with just more than 2,100 miles left to go.
"It's not a huge lead in this race," organizer Jim Pitre said. "But it is for this guy. He has won it before and everyone out there knows he can maintain the pace."
Last year Fasching didn't take part in the race. Instead, he decided to attempt to climb Mount Everest and was successful.
Since Sunday, he has set a blistering pace by averaging just more than 17 mph while making his way through the western United States.
He is being chased by a pack of riders including Fabio Biasiolo and Stefan Lau both riders have completed 813 miles of the race.
This year's race includes 18 solo riders (17 men and one woman). There is also a tandem squad in the race, which will also ride the entire course.
Another division, which started Tuesday, allows riders to form teams of two to four riders to trade off legs of the course as they make their way toward the finish line.
The Royal Air Force was leading late Tuesday. The squad held a 12-minute lead over SAS, which is made up of members of the Swiss ski team.
The Race Across America was started in 1982 when four riders Lon Haldeman, Michael Shermer, John Howard and John Marino held the first race across the country on bicycles. The event so captured the imagination of the country that every year since, men and women have set out to challenge the elements and their innermost fears along the RAAM course.
This year a total of 61 cyclists (including the team division) will test their resolve during the 2,992-mile race.
Pitre said the solo riders will begin arriving in Steamboat this evening.