What a surprise it was to find Michael Shermer as the guest on a recent Joe Rogan Experience, it reminded us of an interview we conducted with the co-founder of RAAM (Race Across America.) Shermer is a science writer, Editor in Chief of Skeptic magazine and founder of The Skeptics Society. Shermer wrote “Giving the Devil his Due” which was recently released.
As the group of us pedaled along someone mentioned the Michael Shermer was actually local to the area and could often be found putting in miles in the roller coaster foothills that surround the stadium.
Shermer was a name I remembered reading about in Winning Magazine back in the 80s when I first took an interest in drop bar riding. Michael was one of four brave souls who competed in the famous Race Across America (RAAM). A race across America, the very notion of expending that kind of effort was anathema to me!
THE PEOPLE WE MEET
“Michael.” He replied before adding. “Michael Shermer.”
I almost fell off my bike. “You mean the RAAM guy Michael Shermer?!” I asked in a most amazed state of disbelief. Turns out it was the Michael Shermer that I’d read about decades earlier. I immediately patted him on the back as we kept pedaling and simply said, “It is a real honor to meet you.”
Michael Shermer is the real deal. A pioneer whose cycling adventures are undoubtedly the stuff of legend. Here’s what he had to say about some of them.
THE FOUR AMIGOS
RBA: What was the first year you competed in RAAM? How many times did you participate?
RBA: What got the event started?
RBA: Who in their right mind would attempt such a challenge…. how would you describe the character traits of the four amigos?
RBA: Was any one state harder to get through than the others?
RBA: Can you tell us something about the bike you rode?
“I read about some guy who went 11 days without sleep in a UCLA sleep lab so I figured I could do it. Big mistake. About 1800 miles into the race I started hallucinating that I was being abducted by aliens.”
RBA: Jumping forward, what has been the biggest notable leap in bike technology for you?
RBA: Describe how the “Shermer Neck” condition came about & how it was dealt with.
RBA: What was your diet like and did it evolve over time for the events?
RBA: Most memorable RAAM moment?
RBA: In the last few decades it’s probably within reason that you’ve ridden hundreds of thousands of miles. What is it about the bicycle that is such a draw for you?
- Race Across America: DNF 2,600 miles. From what is now called “Shermer’s Neck”: collapse of my neck muscles I couldn’t hold my head up.
- Seattle-to-San Diego: 3 days, 23 hours, 1,250 miles.
- Race Across America: 10 days, 16 hours, 3,084 miles – 4th place.