Local cyclist taking part in RAAM

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Not surprisingly, there is a lot to get done before one goes on a cross-country tour. Going cross-country on a bicycle makes things even more complicated.
Lisa Marie Dougherty is learning that first-hand in preparation for her race across the country.
Dougherty, a true Renaissance woman and Los Alamos resident, will take part in the 2013 Race Across America (RAAM) tour, which gets going in mid-June. She’s spent the past several months preparing for her long road trip on bicycle.
“There’s a lot of ramping up,” Dougherty said. “You start ramping up after January. Every week I do a big ride and every month I do two rides back-to-back…I’m pretty comfortable. I’m still creeping up doing 100 and 200 miles. Three hundred miles is pushing it. That’s a lot.”
Even with her preparation, she said getting physically prepared is just part of the challenge and, as she learned more about the logistics of the race, she said preparing physically might even be one of the easier parts. Assembling her support crew and taking care of logistical challenges have proven tough.
The Race Across America dates back to 1982 when four cyclists raced from the Santa Monica, Calif., pier to the Empire State Building in New York City.
The RAAM has grown since. In 1992, team competition was added and has been the segment of choice for most racers.
The RAAM will start June 11 in Oceanside, Calif., and continues to Annapolis, Md.
Solo racers have a maximum of 12 days to complete the 3,000-mile race. Fast finishers can complete the course in around eight days.
“The thing about RAAM, you set up tiers of accomplishment,” Dougherty said. “The first is to make the cutoff. Only 50 percent of those who start, finish. I’d like to finish in under 11 days. The best women finish in 10 days.”
Along with cycling, something she’s been doing since 1996, Dougherty has a doctorate in materials science and engineering. Dougherty has also written a two-novel series, “The Concertmaster,” and a collection of short stories.
Dougherty has first-hand knowledge of writing about musical performers because she also holds a bachelor’s degree in classical guitar performance and was even a guitarist in a rock band while she attended Ball State.
In the RAAM, Dougherty will be riding a Velaforma modified climbing bike. Her husband, Eugene, is her lead bike mechanic.
To complete the race in her goal of 11 days, Dougherty will have to average nearly 275 miles per day. She said she will race through the night when she can and should be able to clear 400 miles on those long days.
“I’m really excited,” Dougherty said. “I would love for this race to be tomorrow…I’m very motivated every day that I’m on a bike.”
Along with a test of her endurance, Dougherty is also racing to support Los Alamos Public Schools’ PTO program. A fundraising account has been set up at Los Alamos National Bank and Dougherty is hoping her ride will raise awareness and money for the organization.
Dougherty said she’s also welcoming “pledge per mile” donations for those interested in helping motivate her along the way, or a pledge based on Dougherty’s finishing.
More information on Dougherty’s fundraising efforts are available at her website, lmdougherty.com.