Monday, June 11, 2012

India's First RAAM Rider

Samim Rizvi is India's first rider in the RAAM.

My sister, Divya, is in California, acting as support crew for him. This is information and some background that the team has sent. (By the way, Team Red, comprised exclusively of riders with diabetes, was first in 2010!)

Samim Rizvi is the first and only Indian to cycle the Race Across AMerica or RAAM, 5000 km in 12 days. He is in the solo category, I believe less than 200 people have completed this within the time frame. This is his 3rd attempt, first time he got sick on the 4th day and had to abort. Last year, his second attempt, he completed just in time but team, traffic etc penalties put him 40 mins out of time. The last time his attempt was bogged down by lack of sufficient funds and much of his time was wasted on the road. It is the same situation this time around, but we don't want his endeavour to suffer for it and an RV has been hired so he can have a place to sleep on the road and hot food etc as required.

During his previous two attempts Samim was often sleeping on the side of the road, since the availibility of convenient motels along the route did not mesh with his cycling schedule, tiredness or sleepiness. His nutrition depended on the team's being able to find adequate restaurants along the route, or sandwiches, as opposed to the healthier, hot food they plan to prepare for him this year in the RV.

The race is effectively a massive time trial – once the clock starts it is never shut down or paused until you finish – the rider sleeps or eats on his or her own time.

All the crew are volunteers, and his manager, Kavitha Kanaparthy and her parents are spending their personal money to make this happen. But that leaves little room for sufficient spares etc.

Cycling, like a lot of sports that need expensive equipment is in a nascent stage in India, and pioneering efforts such as Samim's come at huge personal costs. They will hopefully pave the way for more recognition for the sports in coming years.
If you know people who would like to pitch in with donations of funds however small it would be most appreciated. Do ask them to forward to others too. The links to the donations page, his website and the RAAM website to follow his progress are below.
We welcome and appreciate people's good wishes and words of support, and look forward to receiving yours.

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