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Hudson brothers will race in cross-country cycling competition

Bean Team Racing members Aubrey Aldy, Justin Ruzicka, Jake Burbach and Luke Burbach will compete in the Race Across America in June. Each rider will cover about 800 miles in the cross-country continuous bicycle race. (Submitted photo)

It’s a 3,000-mile cross-country stretch through deserts, over mountains and between tree-covered lands to get from Oceanside, Calif., to Annapolis, Md. But two Hudson brothers, along with a crew of more than a dozen behind them, will straddle their bicycles next month and  pedal it in an ultra-endurance race to raise funds and awareness for a veterans organization.

Jake and Luke Burbach, sons of Brian Burbach, a North Hudson Elementary fifth grade teacher, and Sarah Bruch, owner of the Purple Tree in downtown Hudson, are two members of a four-person relay team determined to complete the Race Across America (RAAM) -- a 12-state, high-speed competition 30 percent longer than the Tour de France. Unlike the multi-stage race dancing across the backyards of our crepe-munching European friends who only work about 35 hours a week, RAAM is a single stage, a continuous grueling race completed in about half the time -- with no rest days.

RAAM is a true test of speed, endurance, strength and camaraderie, race organizers say.

For the Burbach brothers, it’s much more.

“Racing for us is a hobby as well as a passion. We began as total beginners a few years ago, and have became totally obsessed,” Jake Burbach said.

The Burbach brothers have since jumped all-in: Starting their own nonprofit, Bean Team Racing, which partners with veteran assistance- and family-focused Operation Homefront, the brothers recognized the opportunity to use the race as a platform for a good cause. They also dedicate 25 to 30 hours per week to riding 400 to 500 miles for race preparation.

Now they will pit their hours of training against the Southwest United States’ deserts, the mountains of Colorado, the Great Plains of the Midwest and Appalachia’s forests -- and everything in between. Oh, and they’re competing against racers from at least 20 countries, both amateurs and professionals, in the shape of 40 or so teams -- and they have nine days to do it. They’re aiming for six.

They won’t do it alone. Each rider on their team will traverse about 800 miles -- and they have a crew of about 15 that includes drivers, mechanics, cooks, doctors, navigators and crew chiefs.

The Burbach boys began endurance sports as triathletes, Jake Burbach explains.

“[We] have done half Ironmans, marathons, as well as many cycling races. For the past three years [we] have averaged around eight triathlons, and dozens of road races per year. As far as anything similar to RAAM there is not much that compares; triathlons are tough but will pale in comparison,” he said.

Currently a student at Florida Gulf Coast University, Jake Burbach, 22, said workouts vary from interval training to hill and mountain training. During training, the riders are eating around 7,000 calories per day mainly consisting of high complex carbs. “This means the riders eat lots of pasta, rice, and beans,” he said.

Luke Burbach, 23, is a graduate of Florida Gulf Coast.

The brothers are raising money and awareness for services for veterans and their families.

“We are so incredible grateful to the men and women who have served this country,” Jake Burbach said in an email. “(B)y doing this race we hope to demonstrate our gratitude as well as raise funds/awareness for Operation Homefront.”

Back home, Jake and Luke Burbach are two of four brothers who ride their favorite 12-mile loop, which includes Glover Road, together.

“Hudson is an absolutely amazing place to ride,” Jake Burbach said. “The roads and scenery are great, you can literally ride straight from your door and be on awesome roads instantly.”

For now, however, the brothers are focused on the task at hand. It’s too early to tell if they’ll compete in the RAAM again, but there’s little doubt they’ll still cycle in other competitions and remain “avid” cyclists. From sea to shining sea.