The Insight Race Across America bicycle race started at San Diego, Calif., for solo bike riders on Sunday. The two-, four- and eight-person teams began on Monday. The cycling marathon, 2,958 miles, which will take an average of six to 10 days to complete, will end at Atlantic City, N.J.
The RAAM bike riders are expected to go through Brazil on U.S. 40 sometime Friday and/or Saturday. The cyclists have Time Stations at Putnamville and Indianapolis.
Of the 99 intended starters, 21 were to be solo riders. However, RAAM officials were surprised Sunday when two solo top contenders withdrew from the race.
Allen Larsen, last year's RAAM Champion and the 2002 Rookie of the Year, dropped out. According to the Website raceacrossamerica.org, Larsen, of Washington, said, "In recent weeks I have come to the realization that my commitment to RAAM has superceeded my devotion to Jesus Christ, as well as my family. It's for this reason that I can no longer continue to compete in RAAM at the level I have as my heart belongs to them."
Additionally, RAAM Rookie Slovenian Valter Bonca, a 1988 and 1992 Olympian, withdrew from the race before it started. Bonca was forced out of competition due to injuries suffered in the Tour of Austria.