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Female Solo Recumbent Cyclist Makes Huge come-back in race across USA despite serious car wreck
A driver who was texting behind the wheel damages race crew support vehicle. Team is delayed but continues on.
By: 3000 Miles to a Cure
Rob Redfearn, one of the senior crew says, “We all went back to a hotel and were deciding how to get home, when Maria announced she was going to finish the course, regardless of the fact that she was too far behind and would have to accept a DNF”. Little did she know that the race officials would allow her back into the race by forgiving her lateness to a key check point.
Despite taking 23 hours off the race, in the last 2 days Parker has sped into second place in her division and is now just 177 miles the leader (6 time winner Seana Hogan). Last night she was 230 miles behind the leader, this morning she was 50 miles closer and still has 1600 miles left to go to close the gap. A very doable feat at this point.
In Ultra Marathon cycling, this is a real Cinderella story. Parker is down to one bike, no extra clothing, few spare parts and a very tired skeleton crew, many of whom are rookies. They are also now using rented cars instead of the specially equipped van they had prepared for the purpose.
Parker is racing to raise money for Brain Cancer research. “I am not going to quit”, Parker says. “People with cancer don’t quit, the researchers looking for a cure don’t quit. What kind of message would I be sending if I were to stop just because of a some adversity? Real adversity is cancer. A car wreck is just an inconvenience”
The night of the accident, Parker was riding in front of the follow-vehicle, which absorbed the impact and kept her safe from harm. The crew inside the van suffered cuts and bruises, but the wreck destroyed 2 of the 3 bikes Parker was using to complete the race and the van itself was totaled. The bike rack and the bikes themselves were crushed, absorbing much of the impact and likely saved the occupants from greater harm. The crew was whittled down to a skeleton staff, before they knew they would be allowed back in.
Social media and on-line coverage has spread the word. Bike owners and bike shops from around the country have been offering to loan her equipment and parts to cover for the ones destroyed. “The outpouring of offers has been overwhelming”
The race, known to bike racers as RAAM is reputed to be one of the toughest endurance races in the world, started Tuesday June 12 in Oceanside, California and will conclude in Annapolis, Maryland. Parker had hoped to complete the race in as little as 10 days riding an average of 300 miles per day on less than 4 hours of sleep a night. The race, which has been in existence for 32 years has about 50 solo riders entered and as many teams.
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The charity is 3000milestoacure.com and people can donate there or by texting RACE to 20222 to donate $10.