John Tarlton completes Race Across America

Nearly 12 days on a bike, racing for 3,020 miles

Menlo Park businessman John Tarlton left Oceanside, California, on June 10 around noon, his bicycle headed in an easterly direction. Eleven days, 21 hours and 17 minutes later, on Sunday, June 22, he arrived in Annapolis, Maryland, having ridden 3,020 miles in completing the 2014 Race Across America.

His was a solo race, meaning he was not part of a racing team, but Mr. Tarlton did have company. A nine-person crew made the trip as well, in a motor coach and a van to provide mechanical help, food, spare bicycles, sleeping quarters, and support and guidance on where to turn next and the distance to the next time station.

The race was a time trial in that cyclists raced against the clock rather than each other. The clock kept running while the racers slept. Mr. Tarlton clocked in at 55 time stations in 12 states.

His average speed was 10.59 mph, with a high of 18.66 mph in the flat lands south of the Salton Sea, and lows of less than 5 mph in Arizona and Kansas, according to statistics at the Race Across America website.

The 3,020 mile route confronted the cyclists with 170,000 vertical feet, including a 10,000-foot point in a lengthy trek over the Rocky Mountains. The Appalachian Mountains represented another vertical challenge, but only to about 3,000 feet.

Had Mr. Tarlton's race extended into a twelfth day, he would have been categorized as "did not finish," crew chief David Johnson told the Almanac in an email after arriving back home in California. "It was a grueling ride overall, but the last two days took it all out if us to get him to the line as a rookie finisher. Quite an achievement," Mr. Johnson said.

Dave Boyce


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Posted by Andrew Murray
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 23, 2014 at 12:56 pm

Congrats, John! That is a huge accomplishment! I was thinking of trying to ride across the US in 28 days, but now that you've done it in under 12 days, what's the point??!! Many Many Kudos!

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Posted by Jim Turner
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jun 23, 2014 at 7:30 pm

As a competitive cyclist myself I'm in awe of anyone who completes a solo RAAM, especially of a RAAM rookie. Good going John!

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Posted by Don Fabiano
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jun 23, 2014 at 8:14 pm

Awesome accomplishment, John. I was a crew member on the concurrent Race Across the West and then followed your progress on Tractalis. The effort and energy put into this event by both rider and crew have been rewarded by success!

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Posted by Stu Soffer
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jun 24, 2014 at 1:23 pm

Stu Soffer is a registered user.

Congratulations, John. An incredible feat.

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Posted by Kelly Fergusson
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jun 24, 2014 at 11:57 pm

John, this is terrific -- way to go!!
In 1972, I biked with my family from SF to Vancouver, Canada in 14 days. What you did is in another galaxy all together. I'm in complete awe of your accomplishment.

Like this comment
Posted by Nate McKitterick
a resident of Portola Valley: Woodside Highlands
on Jun 25, 2014 at 7:18 pm

It must have taken extraordinary force of will to continue on when exhausted and, say, pedaling into a headwind across Kansas with the sun beating down. Congratulations to you, John, and your support crew!

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