In 2007 my husband and I did a self-guided bike tour of the Veneto, the region around Venice, through a company called Bike Riders. The guy who brought us the bikes and served as our sometime mechanic, driver and guide was Fabio Biasiolo, a local, who told us about doing the Race Across America (RAAM). I've never met such an energetic wiry personality. He spoke 3 dialects and had been a triathlete and a guide of the caves beneath Orvieto. Yesterday on my twitter feed, @bikecrave talked about a film called Bicycle Dreams, which is a documentary about the RAAM, and includes interviews and footage of Fabio doing his thing. These guys start on the West Coast and ride with one hour to 90 minutes of sleep a night, over 8-12 days, until they hit the finish line on the East Coast. Check out the link to the race, and buy the video if you are interested. It's not on Netflix.
Bicycle Dreams: http://bicycledreamsmovie.com/