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RAAM pictures

Please check our album page for Rex’s RAAM photostream. They are awesome!

Kim, CO

At 1:25PM EDT, Rick checked into Time Station 21 at Kim, CO.  The RAAM website is showing an average speed of 7.17 MPH for this leg, which of course, has dragged down his overall average speed to 10.3 MPH — slightly below the 10.6 MPH he needs to stay in the game.  But this off-pace result includes his last sleep stop.  In my estimation from the Spot Tracker, he actually covered the 71 miles in 5.5 hours, not including the time off the bike before he set out this morning.  That gives him an on-the-bike average speed of 12.9 MPH, which is a very good result, considering the rolling terrain that is more akin to what we have out here in eastern Pennsylvania.  That’s a positive sign that Rick is making a good recovery from the tough day he had yesterday.

As of 2PM, Rick is still at Kim, for 30 minutes off the bike and counting — the clock on RAAM never stops, and every minute is precious.  I know the crew are doing their best to try to find the optimal mix of rest and ride time, in order to keep Rick on track.  Earlier today, crewman George Metzler sent me the following:  “…We are resting at a hotel in Trinidad, CO.  Rick is taking a 4 hour sleep break plus downtime on each side of the sleep break.  We expect to wake him at 8:00 a.m. EDT and get him on the road ASAP after that.  We tried less sleep the day before at 2.5 hours and we think that was not a good idea.  So today we sleep more…”  I can certainly feel the pain of the crew, as they try to do what’s best keep Rick rolling along.

After his break in Kim, Rick will soon be headed out on a 68-mile stage to Walsh, CO:

Kim, CO to Walsh, CO

While this stage does trend downhill, let me quickly dispel any notion you might have that Rick can just coast along.  Having ridden in this area on the Last Chance 1200k, I can tell you that it hardly feels like you’re riding downhill.  In fact, with the long, expansive views to the horizon, the sensation is more like you’re riding uphill, if anything at all.  A much bigger factor than gravity, is the wind.  And unfortunately, the winds are currently blowing out of the east at 12-15 MPH.

This morning, I heard from team member, Juan Salazar, who will be helping out with the photos taken by the crew these past couple of days. Juan will be updating the “ALBUM” tab on this website — be sure to check back later on today.  Also, some of the earlier posts on this blog have been updated with pictures, so you might want to look back over the older posts for anything you might have missed.  While doing so, be sure to check out some of the nice comments, followers are leaving — on behalf of Rick and his entire crew, THANK YOU very much for all those kind remarks and well-wishes! … and do keep them coming — we truly appreciate all the support, and it really helps us keep going!

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA

On the way to Kim, CO

Despite struggling through a rough patch on the way to La Veta, Rick pushed on through after a brief stop there, and made it into Trinidad, CO at  3:29 AM EDT.  Although it wasn’t a day for banking some time, Rick at least ended up on track there, with an average speed of 10.6 MPH.  He needs to maintain that average speed across the plains to the Mississippi, and up and over the east coast mountains to the finish.  In order to do that, it means covering at least 254 miles in each 24-hour period.  Randonneurs following along will know that’s a 400k brevet each day (one of the longer events on the calender) — and the task before Rick is to string 12 of those 400k’s together, back-to-back!

Shortly after 8AM EDT, Rick was back on the road again and headed to Kim, CO.  This stage looks like it could be from one of my Eastern Pennsylvania brevets with lots of sharp rollers:

Trinidad, CO to Kim, CO

I’m sure Rick will feel he’s right at home here.  After this stage, which Rick would describe as “lumpy”, he can look forward to some kinder and gentler terrain that will trend down into the western plains.  With favorable weather conditions, this could be a good area for Rick to bank some time.

Current weather conditions in Trinidad look favorable as far as temperature: 51F and overcast skies, with a high of 71F predicted — those are almost ideal, as long as the 30% chance of thunderstorms don’t materialize.  The wind is currently adverse, blowing from the east at 7 MPH.  But the forecast is calling for the wind to shift to the northwest at 5-10 MPH which would be a nice boost.

The lead riders who came through Tinidad earlier seemed to have had much worse weather, so it appears that a bit of good fortune has headed Rick’s way.  Let’s hope that holds out through the plains — an adverse wind in the plains can be as tough, is not tougher, than a big climb through the mountains.

Today, I’ll be looking for Rick to make a good recovery and keeping on track for the 10.6 MPH pace he needs to keep.  I also received some photos from crew members George and Katie — I’ll be posting these later today.

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA

Recent favorite Photos from RAAM

A few of my favorite photos from the last several days that didn’t make it into a blog post.

Along cyclists get this one...

Awesome!

“This is RAAM”

This is RAAM,

Rick just endured his toughest day of RAAM.  He started at 3:45 a.m. at Time Station #16 in Pagosa Springs, CO. As we reported earlier he successfully reached the continental divide just after daybreak on Sunday.  The entire crew turned out to cheer him up the mountian. 

The climb was challenging but the descent was much harder on Rick than the climb. Imagine the temps in the 30s and 40s with a wind chill of 40 miles per hour. So while Rick rode the climb up the mountain without stopping, on the descent we had to stop multiple times to try to warm him up. After the main descent was finished and we cleared the time station we looked forward to a 50 mile gentle downhill run to Alomosa, CO.

Gentle HA!!! Nothing in RAAM is gentle. Rick endured several hours of trying to wake up his body.  He was riding in a fog.   We stopped constantly to make equipement adjustments. It was painful. Basically Rick’s body wants a break and he won’t give in, but he can’t really get moving either. So he battled.

Then inspiration came in the form of a German rider Gregor Komescher, he and Rick are in the same 50-59 year old solo division. Rick was riding in 2nd place and Gregor started to overtake him. We notified Rick that he was about to be passed and all of sudden we were racing again. Even though the road turned and he now had ferocious cross winds, Rick pulled out all the stops for the last 20 miles into Alamosa, CO to preserve his 2nd place standing for the time station.

Rick smiled at the Time Station and told me. “This is RAAM” For a segment of time he had found a reason to race. I suspect the rest of the race will be like this. Long periods of struggle and short times of exuberance.

Neck support device 1.0

Climbing Wolf Creek Pass

Cold descent down Wolf Creek

Heading into La Veta, CO

At 9:00PM EDT, Rick was nearly at Time Station 19 (La Veta, CO).  The official arrival time has not been posted yet, but it looks like his average speed on this leg was just around 9 MPH.  This is a bit off pace, but there are plenty of stages remaining to recover and make up some time.

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA

Alamosa, CO

Rick checked into Time Station 18 (Alamosa, CO) at 2:53 PM EDT.  It was a very good segment for Rick — he averaged 13.6 MPH over the past 44 miles, despite taking a 30 minute break at the previous time station in South Fork.  That increased his overall average to 10.7 MPH.  Just before reaching Alamosa, Rick reached the 1000 mile mark.  George Metzler captured this milestone with the photos below:

999.9 Miles ...

1000 Miles in the can

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA

Samim Rizvi

As you may recall from an earlier post, Rick met up with Samim Rizvi the first participant ever from India. Samim was one of the riders right on the edge of the time limit at Durango, but he made it  just under the wire.

The high associated with that great accomplishment was described by his crew chief on his website: “…Sam made it to Durango, CO after riding nearly 1600 km in 3.5 days with 3 hrs sleep! Said he was thinking of his boys when it got tough. Lots and lots of challenges to overcome yet with RAAM, but getting to Durango in time means we can continue to the Mississippi River. Samim’s effort today is the most incredible athletic performance I have ever witnessed. Beyond inspiring.Truly amazing…”

But surprisingly, Samim’s status was listed as “DNF’ (Did not Finish) shortly afterwards.  The explanation posted on his website was: “…Samim is out of RAAM with influenza pneumonia. Will be fine but cannot continue. Devastated but proved he can ride with best in the world.  Samim’s DNF at RAAM is not the end but just the beginning. He is already thinking about how he will come back next year 10 times stronger. Thank you to everyone who supported Samim for RAAM! All of India can be very proud. Only 16 men in the world made it to Durango this year…”

Yet another testament to the extreme highs and lows that is RAAM.

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA

On the way to Alamosa, CO

Rick checked into South Fork, CO at 9:50AM EDT.  For those of you following along with Spot Tracker, Rick appeared to have backtracked a couple of miles after reaching Time Station 17 in town.  This had me a bit puzzled at first, but upon checking out some local maps, there’s a hotel on the edge of town where Rick’s crew probably have a room, allowing Rick to take advantage of that.  The rules allow Rick to get picked up by his crew and get shuttled around, so I can assure you that Rick did not expend one extra pedal stroke than he had to!

The stop in South Fork was relatively short — after about 30 minutes there, he was back on the road and headed to Alamosa, CO:

South Fork, CO to Alamosa, CO

This stage should be a welcome relief for Rick, since it trends downward away from the continental divide towards the western plains.  Weather conditions at Alamosa are a pleasant 60F and will only reach the lower 70F’s today.  Winds are currently south at 9MPH, but the forecast is calling for SW winds 10-20MPH with gusts to 30.  That would generally be a somewhat disruptive cross wind on this stage — hopefully, those stronger winds will hold off a while.

At this point, Rick  is nearly at the 1,000 mile point – 1/3 of the way home!  But his average speed over that distance is 10.6 MPH which is right at the minimum he needs to keep in order to make the next cut-off at the Mississippi River.  The good news is, he and his crew have plenty of time before they have to worry too much about that cut-off.  Today,  I’ll be looking for Rick to keep a steady pace with an average speed better than 10.6 MPH between time stations.  If he can get some fast stages in today, Rick can start building his time cushion back up.

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA

Wolf Creek Pass, CO

Rick checked into TS 16 (Pagosa Springs, CO) at 1:22 EDT, and then had some scheduled down time for rest and recovery.  After a 4-hour break, Rick was back on the road at 5:30AM EDT and headed to South Fork, CO.  But in his path is the dreaded climb up and over Wolf Creek Pass which brings him atop the continental divide:

Wolf Creek Pass, on the way to South Fork, CO

At 9AM EDT, Rick was on the climb, making steady progress to the summit.  The lead riders who came through earlier a day ago, had miserable weather conditions: cold,  windy and rainy.  At the bottom of the pass in South Fork, CO, the current conditions are 48F with a slight breeze out of the south at 7 MPH.  Extrapolating that to the top of the mountain peak, Rick is probably seeing temperatures in the low 40F’s or high 30F’s.  That 15-mile descent on the back side will be quite chilly!

Crew member George Metzler just sent me these photos:

WolfCreek01

WolfCreek02

WolfCreek03

WolfCreek04

WolfCreek05

WolfCreek06

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA