Vernon’s Leah Goldstein wheels through the night in Pratt, Kansas, leading the 2021 Race Across America (RAAM) cycling event which runs from Oceanside, Cal. to Annapolis, Maryland. (RAAM Facebook photo)

Vernon’s Leah Goldstein wheels through the night in Pratt, Kansas, leading the 2021 Race Across America (RAAM) cycling event which runs from Oceanside, Cal. to Annapolis, Maryland. (RAAM Facebook photo)

Vernon rider leading world’s toughest bicycle race

Leah Goldstein is the top cyclist approaching the 28th out of 52 checkpoints in the Race Across America

El Dorado, Kansas is the largest city in the state’s Butler County, situated along the Walnut River in the south-central part of Kansas.

Not that Vernon cyclist Leah Goldstein will take in any tourist attractions save for maybe a dip in El Dorado Lake.

Goldstein will wheel through the Kansas city on her way to Annapolis, Maryland as she competes in what’s billed as the World’s Toughest Bicycle Race, the Race Across America (RAAM) 2021.

El Dorado is the 28th checkpoint in the race out of 52 total.

As of Monday, June 21, just before 11 a.m. Pacific time, Goldstein – one of two solo female riders – was leading the race.

On the event’s Facebook page at 8 a.m. Pacific, June 21, organizers wrote: “Leah Goldstein (Canada) is still maintaining the overall lead as she passes through Time Station #26, Pratt, Kansas. Second place overall is the lead male cyclist, Mark Pattinson, who is a mere 11 minutes behind Leah. Goldstein is slowly growing this gap and this being her third RAAM race, she’s sure to know that the race is far from over.

READ MORE: Vernon cyclist ‘Race Across America’

“Her simulated four-day race back around Banff in late August 2020 achieved much higher mileage than her first four days of RAAM 2019. And as Leah said, ‘Of course, you can’t compare a four-day training to four days in RAAM, but still, the numbers are encouraging—we improved quite a bit.’”

There are 12 solo riders competing in RAAM.

The race began June 15 in Oceanside, Cal., home of one of the longest piers in the state. RAAM spans more than 3,000 miles, climbs 175,000 feet, crosses 12 states, and finishes at City Dock in Annapolis, Maryland, the east coast sailing mecca.

The route travels west to east, traversing three major mountain ranges (Sierra, Rocky and Appalachian), crosses four of America’s longest rivers (Colorado, Mississippi, Missouri and Ohio) and the Great Plains. It also goes through such iconic American landmarks as the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts, Monument Valley, Great Plains and Gettysburg.

Open to amateur and professional racers, in solo, two-, four- and eight-person relay teams, there is no other race in the world comparable to RAAM. The rRace has become a global icon, having had more than 35 countries represented. Racers have raised over $2 million per year for the charities of their choice over the past five years.

Goldstein competed in 2019, raising money for Vernon’s Venture Training.

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