A St Albans cyclist is aiming to raise £5,000 for her local Air Ambulance charity by taking part in Race Across America (RAAM) this summer.

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

The event is considered to be the longest solo endurance cycling event in the world and is known as the "World’s Toughest Bicycle Race".

Ms Pillinger will set off on June 10 from California, Oceanside, and finish in Maryland, Annapolis. Ms Pillinger will raise money for Herts Air Ambulance.

She said: "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 Cycling Club 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."

The race involves pedalling 3000 miles across 12 states and climbing 170,000 feet. Solo racers have a maximum of just over 12 days to complete the race, so she will be riding between 250 to 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 Ms Pillinger is no stranger to a challenge - she is the current National Ladies Ultra-triathlon Champion, contested over a double Ironman distance, which includes a 4.8 mile swim, 232 mile bike, topped off with a double marathon.

While she warms up for the race Ms Pillinger is planning various fundraisers for Herts Air Ambulance including activities with her cycling club, Veralum Cycling Club, and a 190 mile training ride around the Hertfordshire county border.

Dawn Easby, Herts Air Ambulance fundraising manager added: "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, Ms Pillinger is searching for sponsorship from local businesses, community groups and individuals.

To sponsor her visit: http://www.justgiving.com/ShuRAAM or contact her on 07715 771 365 or shupillinger@gmail.com.