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Vernon cyclist becomes 1st woman to win gruelling 4,800 km ‘Race Across America’

Click to play video: 'Vernon athlete wins Race Across America' Vernon athlete wins Race Across America
A Vernon cyclist has made history by winning the Race Across America. Sydney Morton reports – Jul 4, 2021

Vernon cyclist Leah Goldstein is making history as the first woman to win one of the hardest races in the world, the “Race Across America.”

“It’s indescribable, there’s no words really to describe it because it was so unexpected. I knew I had a pretty good chance only about 3/4 into the race, that I was like ‘oh I can win this damn thing,'” said Leah Goldstein, “Race Across America” winner.

The race challenges cyclists to cover 4,800 kilometres in 12 days and Goldstein finished in 11 days, three hours and three minutes. But when it came to the last few kilometres, something happened.

“Everything just collapsed. I was like having a stroke or something, my heart rate was at 190, so I collapsed and I laid on the grass and I tried to get up and I couldn’t. So we decided to walk my bike — one of my crewmembers took my cycling shoes off and put her running shoes [on me] and I started walking, falling off my bike for that last kilometre. It took me an hour to get to the finish,” said Goldstein.
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Goldstein and her competitors cycled from Oceanside, California, to Annapolis, Maryland, in the hardest conditions she’s ever faced.

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“At one point it was 50 C reading on my speedometer … so you can imagine riding in that temperature for three solid days, but it also carried on and it cooled down to 40 C. It was so hot that I burnt right through my jersey,” said Goldstein.

Goldstein credits her crew for getting her through.

“They are everything to me because they have to take care of you, they have to feed you, there to keep you hydrated, they have to do the navigation,” said Goldstein.

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“It’s a whole city that comes with you and you are reliant on them for everything to get you from Oceanside all cross Annapolis and they got me there and they got me there in first place.”

Now she is starting the triumphant trip back to Canada, by car.

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