My name is Penny Barker. My experiences in my personal and professional life have taught me that to be truly happy, we need to be true to ourselves and follow our dreams. These dreams cannot be restricted by age, background, experience or physical capability – the only limitation is ourselves. My self awareness journey has taken me full circle through a career as a veterinary surgeon, programme manager and management consultant. I am now a performance and resilience coach, living my own dream and my own story.
I believe that the human body and mind are capable of amazing things, far greater than we ask of them. I believe it is our duty to ourselves to realise that potential and to use and celebrate the wonderful tools we have been given, as well as to experience the beautiful world in which we live.
In this spirit I’m taking on the world’s toughest bicycle race, Race Across America (RAAM), to explore the limits of my own physical and mental capability and to raise money for two charities that I’m passionate about, the British Heart Foundation and Hounds for Heroes.
My mission is simply to inspire others to do the things that inspire them and to become the fastest British female finisher of RAAM in 2017.
RAAM 2017 – The Journey
To compete in RAAM, solo racers must complete one of the official qualifying races. Qualification is valid for 2 years. Race Around Ireland is the longest and arguably most challenging of the qualification events due to the terrain and the weather. Only one woman has completed the Race Around Ireland which is now in its 7th year.
My mission is to be the fastest woman to complete Race Around Ireland.
- Distance: 1,350 miles
- Climb: 75,500ft
- Time for completion: 132 hours
The Race Across the West (RAW) is one of the world’s top RAAM Qualifying events. Riding from Oceanside, California to Durango, Colorado, participants cross the Coast Range, Imperial Dunes, Monument Valley and finish in the San Juan Range of SW Colorado.
RAW is held alongside RAAM, following the RAAM route to Durango. Crucially, it crosses the “death zone” – the hostile terrain of the Mojave Desert, where temperatures are well in excess of 100 degrees Fahrenheit. This is one of the most feared parts of RAAM and therefore makes RAW the ideal RAAM preparation event for both the racer and crew.
- Distance: 860 miles
- Climb: Over 40,000ft
- Time for completion: 81 hours
Race Across America (RAAM) is one of the most respected and longest running endurance sports events in the world. It is seen as a pinnacle of athletic achievement not only in cycling circles but the greater sporting community as well.
Austrian adventurer Wolfgang Fasching has won solo RAAM three times and climbed Mt. Everest. In his opinion, Everest is more dangerous, but RAAM is much harder.
My challenge would not be possible without the support of my team; my family, crew, sponsors and supporters. In order to be successful, this team is built around a set of core values and a culture of Energy, Excellence and Education.
- Distance: 3,000 miles
- Climb: 170,000ft
- Time for completion: 12 days
FACTS: Race Across America (RAAM)
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No citizen has a right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training…what a disgrace it is for a man to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.Socrates 469 BC – 399 BC