Greytown’s Roger Foote takes on desert cycling. PHOTOS/SUPPLIED


Despite 12 months of preparation, and a few weeks of serious desert training in California, Greytown’s Roger Foote was still blown away by the harshness of the desert legs in the 1500-kilometre Race to the West endurance cycle event in the United States.

He had acclimatised by riding for hours in desert temperatures from 38-40 degrees Celsius and thought he had it nailed.

However, his training did not prepare him for the uncharacteristically high 45C desert temperatures during the race.

“It was like cycling in a hot furnace blast,” he said.

Having been prepared to encounter everything from bears to skunks, wildlife was limited to a few deer and a small white mouse that ran across the road while Foote was in the desert – “I think I ran
over his tail.”

In the desert, he wore his ice vest and had a continuous supply of trusty wet linen tea towels on hand to help minimise the effects of the heat.

Roger Foote with his medal for finishing the Race to the West endurance cycle race.

His support team sprayed water on him as he biked, and blasted music with a heavy beat from a loudspeaker on the roof of the car, including Queen’s ‘I want to ride my bicycle’.

Foote finished the race in three days, 15 hours and 37 minutes – a race time of 87 hours.

Many people dropped out. In Foote’s 50-59 age group, eight started and six finished.

He was pleased he didn’t have any lasting injuries after the event, merely finishing with tight quads which were easily massaged back to normal.

The race experience was invaluable and next week he starts training for the 7700km 2020 Race Across America.