• Juan J. Arrieta

Godspeed: An amazing mental and physical challenge

Disclaimer: I received an invitation to a private advance screening of "Godspeed - The Race Across America" to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Click on the following link to learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (Ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews.

Godspeed - The Race Across America is a documentary film of an amazing mental and physical challenge undertaken by two inspiring athletes, Brad Cooper and Jerry Schemmel. Brad and Jerry join forces and enter the Race Across America (RAAM) in the 2-person relay category as "Team Enduring Hope". Before telling you about their team, it is important to share and explain some key details about RAAM.

RAAM is one of the most demanding cycling challenges in the world, different from the three great European Grand Tours (Tour de France, Vuelta a España, and Giro de Italia) in that RAAM is not a stage race. It is one continual stage, so once the clock starts, it does not stop until the finish line. Its distance is approximately 30% longer than the Tour de France and yet racers must complete the distance in about half the time, with no rest days at all. Racers must cycle 3000 miles, across 12 states, and climb over 170,000 vertical feet. They have a maximum of nine days to complete the challenge, but most finish in about seven and a half, with the fastest in just over 5 days. Solo racers have a maximum of 12 days to complete the race, most finishing in 11 days with the fastest finishing in under 8 days.

RAAM starts in Oceanside, California, and travels east, crossing three major mountain ranges (Sierra Nevada, Rockies and Appalachian), four of America’s longest rivers (Colorado, Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio). It also passes through the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts, Monument Valley, and the Great Plains. In all, the race spans 3000 miles, climbs 175,000 feet, crosses 12 states and finishes in Annapolis, Maryland.

Over the years, RAAM has become a huge platform for racers to raise awareness and money for charities of their choice. Athletes have raised over $2 million per year over the past 5 years, and that's where Team Enduring Hope comes in, as explained by Jerry Schemmel on the following video, in which he talks about their mission to raise money for orphans in Haiti:

In the documentary, Brad and Jerry take this racing challenge head on. While they are both amazing, tough-as-nails athletes, the endless hours of cycling and varying demands from the road as well as the weather they encounter clearly test their limits. It must be noted that they do have an outstanding support crew that must help them stay on and navigate the route properly, keep up with their hydration and nutrition needs, deal with equipment issues, just to name a few of many key aspects the men must get right in order to be successful in their quest.

As the miles accumulate and time progresses on the race, the faith that both men and their crew display for one another and their charitable mission is beyond admirable, and one can't help but to feel part of their team and root for nothing but their complete success. That, however, is where I will leave for you to see for yourself and find out. Here's a 30-second trailer that gives you a taste to sample this great production:

Intrigued? Want to see the entire film? Then you're in luck. It plays tonight, May 22nd (and only tonight, so don't miss it!) at 7:00 p.m. local time across the country. Click on the link below to find a theater near you that will be showing it, and to buy tickets.


Go watch it, you won't regret it!

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