by Senior Meteorologist James West
In June, Earth Networks provided in-kind support to cyclist Len Forkas and his support crew during the Race Across America (RAAM), a 3,000 mile bike race from San Diego, California to Annapolis, Maryland. Known as the “world’s toughest bicycle race” the RAAM is one third longer than the Tour de France and must be completed in half the time.
But the story goes beyond one cyclist’s journey: Hopecam founder Len Forkas – a first-time RAAM racer – committed to the grueling endurance challenge to raise awareness and financial support for the non-profit he founded called Hopecam. Hopecam connects homebound children with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses to their friends at school by providing free laptops, web cameras and high speed internet access.
From the heat of the southwest to the winds across the plains to the potential pop-up thunderstorms in the eastern states, Len’s team received email weather updates and knew they could call on the Earth Networks Meteorology Team around-the-clock while Len rode his bike up to an almost unbelievable 20 hours each day.
Len’s nine-person support team also relied on Earth Networks’ web-based StreamerRT weather visualization and alerting tool to monitor conditions and track the weather, and WeatherBug mobile apps alerted them to changing weather and provided severe weather alerts.
On Sunday June 24 at 8:33 p.m., Len successfully completed his journey across the U.S, winning the male 50-59 age group and completing the 3,000-mile race in 11 days, 4 hours, and 47 minutes. Congratulations, Len and team Hopecam!