Call it gutsy. Call it risky. Call it a natural progression.
“I’ve been planning to do this race for 10 years,” Annapolis resident Michael Glass said.
Glass will start in the longest time trial race in the world Tuesday — the Race Across America. The continuous race spans 3,100 miles and covers 12 states — starting in Oceanside, California and ending in Annapolis at City Dock.
Glass, who will turn 55 during the race, has competed in three marathons, the four-mile Great Chesapeake Bay Swim, an Ironman triathlon and an 800-mile cyclothon in Iceland.
Gee, is that all?
Well, no. As a solo rider, Glass will have just 12 days to cover the 3,100 miles. To stay on track to complete the race, he must cover more than 260 miles a day — in ever-changing terrain.
“Some consider it not only one of the toughest bicycle events in the world but one of the toughest endurance events in the world,” said Jon Korin, president of the Bicycle Advocates for Annapolis and Anne Arundel County.
Glass said he spent a year training for this race. He had multiple training sessions a week, ranging from short intensity rides to slightly longer rides. As the race grew closer, Glass began riding 16 to 24 hours at a clip.
“In a lot of ways, I think I am in the best shape of my life.” said Glass.
Given the nature of the Race Across America, Glass said that he plans to maintain a steady pace to conserve energy and strength. Throughout the race, Glass said he will consume, “lots and lots and lots of carbohydrates.”
To get food and water to him while he’s riding, members of Glass’ 10 man crew will hand it to him either alongside the road or out of the car window.
Glass will wear a cooling vest filled with chunks of ice during stretches through the Mojave and Sonoran deserts.
“In a race like this, it’s really crucial to have a game plan and to stick to that game plan,” he said.
While acknowledging the personal challenge ahead, he is also competing for more than just himself. He’s raising money for The Fisher House and the Green Beret Foundation. The Fisher House provides free housing to military and veteran families while a loved one is in the hospital. The Green Beret Foundation provides financial assistance and support to former Green Berets and their families.
“The older I’ve gotten, I feel a sense of gratitude for the people that have served our country,” said Glass, whose team has already raised $32,000 with hopes of raising more before the end of the race.
There was a team of eight from the Anne Arundel County area that competed in the Race Across America in 2017. Unfortunately, they did not complete the race due to health-related issues.
As Tuesday nears, Glass is preparing both physically and mentally for the race of his life. He is proud to be one of the few soloists competing in the Race Across America and is torn on what he’ll do if he finishing, which would be victory in itself.
“The end is never what you imagine,” he said. “I don't know if I'll be jubilant. I don't know if I'm going to cry.”
Teams from the Race Across America will begin crossing the finish line at City Dock from June 22-25.
Race Across America has multiple resources for following race results on its website, raceacrossamerica.org.