St Albans cyclist bidding to complete epic cross-America charity challenge

L-R: Ben Myer (Deputy Clinical Manager), Nick Clarkson (HEMS Pilot), Adam Carr (HEMS Paramedic), Shu

L-R: Ben Myer (Deputy Clinical Manager), Nick Clarkson (HEMS Pilot), Adam Carr (HEMS Paramedic), Shusanah Pillinger, Dr Ben Clarke (HEMS Doctor) and Amy Gribble (HEMS Observer) - Credit: Archant

A gruelling cycling race across America beckons this summer for a superfit St Albans woman who is aiming to raise £5,000 for the Herts Air Ambulance.

Shusanah Pillinger, 37, is taking part in Race Across America (RAAM), an event considered to be the longest solo endurance cycling event in the world.

She is one of just six women taking part and if successful will become the first British woman to officially complete the gruelling challenge in the race’s 30-year history.

The non-stop challenge, known as the World’s Toughest Bicycle Race, starts on June 10 in California (Oceanside) and finishes in Maryland (Annapolis) and involves participants pedaling 3,000 miles across 12 states and climbing 170,000 ft.

Solo racers have a maximum of just over 12 days to complete the race, so she will be riding between 250 – 350 miles each day, exposed to the extreme climate of the Mojave Desert, the altitude of the Rockies and Appalachian Mountains and the potential threat of tornadoes across the central plains.

But Shusanah is no stranger to a challenge - she is the current National Ladies Ultra-triathlon Champion, contested over a double Ironman distance (4.8 mile swim, 232 mile bike and topped off with a double marathon).

She is planning various fundraisers for Herts Air Ambulance as she warms up for the race, including activities with her cycling club, Verulam CC, and a 190 mile training ride around the Herts county border.

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Shusanah explained why she chose Herts Air Ambulance: “I’ve been building up to racing in RAAM for a number of years and have raised money for a different charity each year, during increasingly challenging events. When I announced my intention to fundraise again in 2014, a fellow cyclist in Verulam CC suggested the Herts Air Ambulance. I was immediately interested and soon discovered all the good work they do in my local area.

“I train for many hours on country lanes, whatever the weather or season, and am aware of accidents where a driver, cyclist, pedestrian or horse rider needed emergency attention. We are lucky to have such a response unit as the Herts Air Ambulance and I’m very happy to support them however I can.”

Dawn Easby, fundraising manager for Herts Air Ambulance, said: “We’re thrilled that Shusanah has decided to raise money for our charity whilst taking on this challenge: as if cycling 3000 miles wasn’t enough! We’ll be cheering her on from Hertfordshire as we follow her progress across the states and we’re actually hoping that one of our HEMS Paramedics might be able to take some annual leave in June to become part of Shusanah’s crew.

“Her aim to become the first British woman to officially complete this challenge is truly inspiring and I hope the local community will encourage her attempt by throwing some sponsorship her way!”

In order to reach her target, Shusanah is searching for sponsorship from local businesses, community groups and individuals via or by contacting her on 07715 771 365 or