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Dan Schindler, left, and Justin Martin line up at the start of RAAM. Teams are not allowed support for the first 24 miles of RAAM due to traffic and safety concerns. Team 4Mil sent two riders out at the start so that if one encountered a problem, the other could continue and finish that portion of the course without delay.
Dan Schindler, left, and Justin Martin line up at the start of RAAM. Teams are not allowed support for the first 24 miles of RAAM due to traffic and safety concerns. Team 4Mil sent two riders out at the start so that if one encountered a problem, the other could continue and finish that portion of the course without delay. (Bruce Buckley/Special to Stars and Stripes)
Dan Schindler, left, and Justin Martin line up at the start of RAAM. Teams are not allowed support for the first 24 miles of RAAM due to traffic and safety concerns. Team 4Mil sent two riders out at the start so that if one encountered a problem, the other could continue and finish that portion of the course without delay.
Dan Schindler, left, and Justin Martin line up at the start of RAAM. Teams are not allowed support for the first 24 miles of RAAM due to traffic and safety concerns. Team 4Mil sent two riders out at the start so that if one encountered a problem, the other could continue and finish that portion of the course without delay. (Bruce Buckley/Special to Stars and Stripes)
Ernie Holly, a filmmaker working on a documentary about the 30th anniversary of RAAM, interviews Justin Martin along the route in Arizona.
Ernie Holly, a filmmaker working on a documentary about the 30th anniversary of RAAM, interviews Justin Martin along the route in Arizona. (Bruce Buckley/Special to Stars and Stripes)
Justin Martin at a transition point in the Arizona desert.
Justin Martin at a transition point in the Arizona desert. (Bruce Buckley/Special to Stars and Stripes)
Starting line for RAAM teams at Oceanside, Calif., June 18. Teams spent between five and ten days making the 3,000-mile trans-American crossing. Solo racers, who left on June 14 and 15, spent between eight and 12 days on the road.
Starting line for RAAM teams at Oceanside, Calif., June 18. Teams spent between five and ten days making the 3,000-mile trans-American crossing. Solo racers, who left on June 14 and 15, spent between eight and 12 days on the road. (Bruce Buckley/Special to Stars and Stripes)
Crew member Mandy Arnone cheers on the riders as they pass through eastern Colorado.
Crew member Mandy Arnone cheers on the riders as they pass through eastern Colorado. (Bruce Buckley/Special to Stars and Stripes)
Sam Curlee darts through the cornfields of Indiana.
Sam Curlee darts through the cornfields of Indiana. (Bruce Buckley/Special to Stars and Stripes)
Team 4Mil crosses the finish line in Annapolis, Md., winning the RAAM 2011 Armed Forces Cup and finishing second overall in the eight-person division. Rider Captain Jim Weinstein led the team across the finish, despite being pulled out of the race temporarily in Kansas due to a medical issue.The team finished in 5 days, 12 hours and 5 minutes; the sixth fastest time ever on the Oceanside to Annapolis route.
Team 4Mil crosses the finish line in Annapolis, Md., winning the RAAM 2011 Armed Forces Cup and finishing second overall in the eight-person division. Rider Captain Jim Weinstein led the team across the finish, despite being pulled out of the race temporarily in Kansas due to a medical issue.The team finished in 5 days, 12 hours and 5 minutes; the sixth fastest time ever on the Oceanside to Annapolis route. (Bruce Buckley/Special to Stars and Stripes)
Sam Curlee [left] and Joe Arnone high five during one of the last transitions on the route.
Sam Curlee [left] and Joe Arnone high five during one of the last transitions on the route. (Bruce Buckley/Special to Stars and Stripes)
After the finish, racers celebrated by jumping into the Chesapeake Bay. Pictured in air is Joe Arnone.
After the finish, racers celebrated by jumping into the Chesapeake Bay. Pictured in air is Joe Arnone. (Bruce Buckley/Special to Stars and Stripes)
Sam Curlee checks in at Mount Airy Bike Shop in Mount Airy, Md. The shop serves as a "penalty box" where riders must sit out for penalties incurred on the route. Race officials trail teams throughout the race to make sure they don't violate rules. Most infractions result in a 15-minute penalty. Team 4Mil received no penalties during the race.
Sam Curlee checks in at Mount Airy Bike Shop in Mount Airy, Md. The shop serves as a "penalty box" where riders must sit out for penalties incurred on the route. Race officials trail teams throughout the race to make sure they don't violate rules. Most infractions result in a 15-minute penalty. Team 4Mil received no penalties during the race. (Bruce Buckley/Special to Stars and Stripes)
Team 4Mil is an 8-person squad of military service members, competing in the 2011 Race Across America. Within the team and its 21-person crew, all of the military services are represented. The group raises donations and awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project, which provides programs to aid injured services members. In the days prior to RAAM, the team and its crew convened at Camp Pendleton, near the race start in Oceanside, Calif. The team, which includes members based around the country, took the opportunity for some rare group riding, race-specific practice and team bonding. Pictured left to right: Capt Kyle Pitman, U.S. Marine Corps; Maj Justin Martin, U.S. Air Force; Lt Roy Collins, U.S. Coast Guard Reserve; Maj Jim Weinstein, U.S. Air Force; CPO Wayne Dowd, U.S. Navy (SEAL). Not pictured: Maj Joe Arnone, U.S. Air Force; Capt. Dan Schindler, U.S. Navy Reserve; ENS Sam Curlee, U.S. Navy.
Team 4Mil is an 8-person squad of military service members, competing in the 2011 Race Across America. Within the team and its 21-person crew, all of the military services are represented. The group raises donations and awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project, which provides programs to aid injured services members. In the days prior to RAAM, the team and its crew convened at Camp Pendleton, near the race start in Oceanside, Calif. The team, which includes members based around the country, took the opportunity for some rare group riding, race-specific practice and team bonding. Pictured left to right: Capt Kyle Pitman, U.S. Marine Corps; Maj Justin Martin, U.S. Air Force; Lt Roy Collins, U.S. Coast Guard Reserve; Maj Jim Weinstein, U.S. Air Force; CPO Wayne Dowd, U.S. Navy (SEAL). Not pictured: Maj Joe Arnone, U.S. Air Force; Capt. Dan Schindler, U.S. Navy Reserve; ENS Sam Curlee, U.S. Navy. (Bruce Buckley/Special to Stars and Stripes)
Major Joe Arnone, US Air Force [Ret.], talks tactics during a pre-race team meeting. Arnone is one of the team's most accomplished cyclists. He competed in the Olympic Trials in 1992 and 1996 for both road and track cycling and was a 6-time member of the U.S. Military World Championships team.
Major Joe Arnone, US Air Force [Ret.], talks tactics during a pre-race team meeting. Arnone is one of the team's most accomplished cyclists. He competed in the Olympic Trials in 1992 and 1996 for both road and track cycling and was a 6-time member of the U.S. Military World Championships team. (Bruce Buckley/Special to Stars and Stripes)
Roy Collins in a reflective moment at a team exchange area. The day before the race start, Collins learned that his father, LeRoy Williams Collins, Sr., had fallen gravely ill. Collins continued on with the race, later learning at the finish that his father had passed away during the race. Collins Sr. was a B-26 pilot in the Army Air Force during World War II. "I know he was honored by what we were doing to support wounded warriors," he later recalled.
Roy Collins in a reflective moment at a team exchange area. The day before the race start, Collins learned that his father, LeRoy Williams Collins, Sr., had fallen gravely ill. Collins continued on with the race, later learning at the finish that his father had passed away during the race. Collins Sr. was a B-26 pilot in the Army Air Force during World War II. "I know he was honored by what we were doing to support wounded warriors," he later recalled. (Bruce Buckley/Special to Stars and Stripes)
Justin Martin waits at a transition point in Arizona.
Justin Martin waits at a transition point in Arizona. (Bruce Buckley/Special to Stars and Stripes)
Kyle Pitman checks his race radio before starting a climb in the Arizona desert.
Kyle Pitman checks his race radio before starting a climb in the Arizona desert. (Bruce Buckley/Special to Stars and Stripes)
Moonrise over the first team exchange point about 200 miles from the start near a border patrol inspection station between Glamis, Calif., and Palo Verde, Calif. The race started in the afternoon, so darkness fell by the time the first team reached the exchange point.
Moonrise over the first team exchange point about 200 miles from the start near a border patrol inspection station between Glamis, Calif., and Palo Verde, Calif. The race started in the afternoon, so darkness fell by the time the first team reached the exchange point. (Bruce Buckley/Special to Stars and Stripes)
Jim Weinstein rides into a Colorado sunrise.
Jim Weinstein rides into a Colorado sunrise. (Bruce Buckley/Special to Stars and Stripes)
Every team must pass a thorough inspection prior to the race to make sure that all equipment and safety requirements are met. Here, shoes lined up for inspection. Each shoe must have reflective tape on the heel for safety.
Every team must pass a thorough inspection prior to the race to make sure that all equipment and safety requirements are met. Here, shoes lined up for inspection. Each shoe must have reflective tape on the heel for safety. (Bruce Buckley/Special to Stars and Stripes)
Crew member Phil Houck leads a pre-race safety meeting. Team 4Mil competed in the 2010 edition of RAAM, but its race was cut short after its RV flipped over while driving through Colorado. No one was killed in the accident, but several were injured. Houck showed a video of the wreckage to drive home the importance of safety during a race that offers limited opportunities for crew members and racers to sleep.
Crew member Phil Houck leads a pre-race safety meeting. Team 4Mil competed in the 2010 edition of RAAM, but its race was cut short after its RV flipped over while driving through Colorado. No one was killed in the accident, but several were injured. Houck showed a video of the wreckage to drive home the importance of safety during a race that offers limited opportunities for crew members and racers to sleep. (Bruce Buckley/Special to Stars and Stripes)
As riders headed north through Arizona, the strong tailwind shifted to a cross wind, creating dangerous conditions for racers. Pictured is driver and navigator Shane Keating.
As riders headed north through Arizona, the strong tailwind shifted to a cross wind, creating dangerous conditions for racers. Pictured is driver and navigator Shane Keating. (Bruce Buckley/Special to Stars and Stripes)
Phil Houck grabs a quick nap with a blindfold on. Most crew members were lucky to get more than four hours of sleep per day.
Phil Houck grabs a quick nap with a blindfold on. Most crew members were lucky to get more than four hours of sleep per day. (Bruce Buckley/Special to Stars and Stripes)
Sam Curlee rides through a flooded area in Illinois.
Sam Curlee rides through a flooded area in Illinois. (Bruce Buckley/Special to Stars and Stripes)
As the racers hit the eastern U.S., the humidity began to rise.
As the racers hit the eastern U.S., the humidity began to rise. (Bruce Buckley/Special to Stars and Stripes)
Wayne Dowd leaves the Rockies behind and heads toward the flat lands of eastern Colorado.
Wayne Dowd leaves the Rockies behind and heads toward the flat lands of eastern Colorado. (Bruce Buckley/Special to Stars and Stripes)
Dan Schindler waits to make a transition with Kyle Pitman in eastern Ohio.
Dan Schindler waits to make a transition with Kyle Pitman in eastern Ohio. (Bruce Buckley/Special to Stars and Stripes)

Team 4Mil, an eight-man cycling team composed of servicemembers and veterans, won the Armed Forces Cup at the 2011 Race Across America on June 24.

Racers and their 21-person crew, which included members from all of the military services, crossed the finish line in five days, 12 hours and five minutes. It was the sixth-fastest time recorded since the nearly 3,000-mile route from Oceanside, Calif., to Annapolis, Md., was adopted in 2008.The victory provided some redemption for the team, which had to pull out of the 2010 race after its RV flipped over near Pagosa Springs, Colo.

Organizers bill the event as “The World’s Toughest Endurance Bicycle Race.” On the route, the team passed through 12 states, 88 counties and 350 communities, tackling more than 170,000 vertical feet of climbs and descents along the way. The route covers more ground than the Tour de France.

Team 4Mil is not directly sponsored by any military service, racing independently to raise donations and awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project. In two years, the team has raised nearly $200,000 for the charity. In addition to racing, the team sponsors adaptive cycling clinics to help wounded veterans get cycling into their lives.

The 2011 crew included two wounded warriors, Marty Gonzales and Mason Poe. In future Race Across America editions, Team 4Mil plans to field wounded warriors on the race squad.

The team includes a mix of active-duty, retired and separated servicesmembers, which qualified it to compete for the Armed Forces Cup. The eight racers were Air Force Maj. Jim Weinstein, Navy Reserve Capt. Dan S. Schindler, Ensign Sam L. Curlee, retired Chief Petty Officer Wayne K. Dowd, Marine Capt. Kyle Pittman, Air Force Maj. Justin Martin, former Air Force Maj. Joe Arnone and Coast Guard Reserve Lt. Roy Collins.

The team finished second in the eight-person relay category behind Strategic Lions, a U.K-based team that also races to raise money for wounded veterans.

For more of Bruce Buckley’s photos and coverage of Team 4Mil, go here.

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