Insight trumps luck in the Race Across America


Ultracyclist David Haase has always relied on gut feelings when making critical decisions during races. However, for his 2015 attempt to become the first American to win the extremely competitive Race Across America, Dave turned to IBM Analytics to help him make crucial decisions in real time. By combining his own intuition with insights from high-speed, high-performance analytics, Dave was able to adapt to evolving race variables and perform at a more advanced level than ever before.

Learn more about how IBM is helping ultacyclist Dave Haase win RAAM 2015: 3000 mile race across the United States.


David Haase: Race Across America is the hardest, most challenging of all of the races. This race, you hit the wall every day a couple of times. And so, you are going through the battles mentally, physically all the time. Sleep for about two hours and then ride about 22 hours a day. You are really racing yourself and the elements that are out there. Just all of the Mother Nature aspects of the event, the heat, fatigue. It is just the ultimate challenge of trying to survive the race. Keelyn Kelley: There’s some really forefront technology that’s happening with IBM that they wanted to work with Dave on. Being able to monitor his physiology and those changes that happen, but it also includes some environmental things - including wind, using temperature predictions, and things like that. Susara Van Den Heever: What I heard about Dave, he is a machine. He goes for 40 hours. And so, just as you would schedule downtime for an actual machine what we want to do is how to pace, plan and schedule Dave’s downtime using optimization. Doug Barton: Our IBM Research Team has contributed their thoughts about how we model weather and incorporate that external information into the decision-making models. We really do have a dream team that each are best in their profession and we’re going to stack those talents and mix them into one good outcome here. Doug Barton: Applying analytics to Dave’s challenges. We’re going to… give him a lot more power in the moment to race his perfect race. Keelyn Kelley: The goal of the entire thing is to allow Dave to perform optimally. Susara Van Den Heever: And so what this means, where in the past you really needed experts to work with analytics. Maybe it was very expensive to buy software licenses, to invest in onsite hardware, software. That is all changing; you just pay for what you need. You don’t have to have huge investments anymore. Jen Salazar: This forty-seven year old American is no stranger to this course. This is Haase’s fifth Race Across America. And even though it's been seven years since his last one, Haase says that he is faster and healthier now than ever before. He also has cutting edge technology on his side. David Haase: I didn’t feel burdened like other races where I was really struggling to ride my bike… and I think that was because we were able to monitor those things, heart rate, core body temperature and keep my body cool and perform better. John Colthart: When you look at, when you look at all the internal information we can gleam from Dave as he goes across this journey—I mean, we have been tracking it now with all of his training leading up to it and if you relate that to the business world, it’s, it’s really very much the same. Jen Salazar: Dave Haase completed his fifth Race Across America today… Haase crossed the finish line in eight days, twenty hours, and six minutes, with an average speed of 14.16 miles per hour. This is two miles an hour faster than his pace seven years ago, in which he finished closer to ten days. Yep, Haase’s 2015 RAAM year was stronger and faster than ever. David Haase: I think I raced as perfect a race as I could race. I think the analytics definitely made it easier, and judgments better. Dave Marmer: So the same thing that we’re doing for Dave in his personal journey here, we can do for anybody who’s in an organization who’s looking to improve how they personally, uh, work within a business process or the process itself. Whether a process is dormant, broken, or non-existent, we can make recommendations about how things can come together and makes companies succeed at the levels that they…that they want to with the goals that they personally set that they can over exceed. Doug Barton: This planet…humanity…needs answers to some of its most pressing challenges and it is really thrilling to work with a company that has access to such technology.