Pillinger daughter to take on RAAM

Shusanah Pillinger, the daughter of famed planetary scientist Colin, will attempt to be the first British woman to complete the

Race Across America.

The 3,000-mile race starts on Tuesday and riders have 12 days to get from west-coast USA to the east coast.

“My efforts are being driven by the chance to be the first British woman to officially complete RAAM in its 33-year history,” Pillinger told BBC Sport.

“I’m driven and blessed with genes that tell me there’s no such word as can’t.”

Pillinger, 38, has remained committed to the competition, despite

the death last month of her father,

famed planetary scientist Colin Pillinger, best known for his

2003 attempt to land a spacecraft on Mars.

Raised in Cambridge and living in St Albans, Pillinger has self-funded her attempt to cycle from Oceanside, California to Annapolis, Maryland.

Competitors can race in relay teams of up to eight, but Pillinger intends to cover the distance herself, alongside a support team.

Unlike races such as the Tour de France, which are ridden in stages, RAAM athletes can cover the distance however they wish, but must complete the 3,000 miles within 12 days.

Only 273 people have ever completed the race solo since its inception in 1982, 35 of whom were women and none were British females.

Pillinger qualified by winning a 400-mile race in India, and has finished London-Edinburgh-London and London to Paris.

“If anyone thinks RAAM is just a cycle race, they are very wrong,” she said.

“There’s a huge amount of work that goes into this. Cycling is only a little bit of the big picture.

“Everything, from getting together a crew of nine, flying them to the US, renting two cars and one RV to transport them across a continent, has to be considered.

“I work full-time and fit in training around my job, mainly by commuting between St Albans and London by bike.

“More women have been into space than have finished the race. It’s daunting and has a high failure rate but it’s an opportunity I couldn’t miss after I qualified to race in 2012.”

Follow race results at

the RAAM website 

and follow updates from Shusanah’s team at her

Facebook page 

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cycling/27779724

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