A week after they started pedaling east from Oceanside, California, the Kalyra Women’s Cycling Team of Santa Barbara rode together across the finish line of the 2010 Race Across America (RAAM) in Annapolis, Maryland.
The four women — Jill Gass, Lisa Tonello, Sonia Ross and Avalon Jenkins-Balker — reached the end of the 3,005-mile road at 3:48 a.m. Sunday, June 20. Their official time was 7 days, 10 hours and 35 minutes. They missed the women’s team record by almost a day, but they did beat the best previous time for the 50-59 age group by 10 hours. The foursome’s average age is just over 50.
Gass said the route was harder this year than it was in 2007, when the Kalyra Team averaged 17.49 miles per hour. This time, they came in at 16.83 mph. They kept up a good pace through the Continental Divide in Colorado, but in Kansas they ran into difficult weather.
“There was wind shear with tornado conditions,” said crew member Rae Lynn Miley. “We took our rider off the road for a few minutes to keep her safe. That night, they had to ride in torrential rains.”
Except for the weather delay, Team Kalyra never stopped moving, taking turns on their bikes in relay fashion. “They were consummate professionals,” Miley said. “They hardly had any sleep for a week, but they still maintained calm and composure.”
Dubbed the “Pink Hurricane,” the team raised money for Girls Inc. of greater Santa Barbara. Miley said that when they arrived in Bloomington, Indiana, the local chapter of Girls Inc. had parked a bus on the road that was covered with messages of encouragement.