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On the way to Pagosa Springs

I just spoke with crew member George Metzler, and judging from the background sounds I heard, the entire crew is completely stoked from Rick making a good comeback and riding strongly into Durango, after such an uneven start to the day.

After an ~80 minute break at Durango, Rick is back on the road and headed to Pagosa Springs:

Durango, CO to Pagosa Springs, CO

There’s plenty of climbing in this segment.  And after that, the next segment features the big 3,500 foot climb up to Wolf Creek Pass and the continental divide.

Weather conditions in Durango are a pleasant 58F, with a stiff NW wind 15-20MPH.  Those winds will at least be favorable for part of this leg.  As Rick moves up to the higher elevations (Wolf Creek Pass el. 10,800 ft.), the temperatures will most likely be dropping into the 30F’s — and factoring in the wind chill on the back side, that’s going to be quite a swing in temperature from the 100F’s in the desert just the other day!

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA

Rick’s Best Day at RAAM 2010

Today started with a challenge. Rick started ridiing though Monument Valley on Saturday morning in the rain. And as much as I try to put a happy face on things, his riding was stinking up the joint. Lot’s of stopping and starting, equipement and clothing changes. As a crew person, just not a whole lot of fun. But Rick was a cool cucumber today. He didn’t let the slow progress eat at him and after daylight began he gradually picked up the pace. Then after we stopped to pick up coffee he kept riding and opened a gap on his crew that we stuggled to close within the 30 minute window we are allowed to be seperated from our rider during daylight hours. We caught him at 28 minutes after chasing back up the road to him as we closed in on Montezuma creek.

Rick’s mood really brightened when he saw the Colorado Rockies from Utah. He went totally nuts and turned in one of his stronger efforts of the entire race.  He just arrived at Time Station #15 in Durango Colorado, beating the time cut by 5:45 .

Unfortunately, one rider not making the time cut today was Michael Dunlap.  His comments that he posted on his website shows how challenging it is to make it this far: “My race ended today – Muscle fatigue in my quads from getting dehydrated on day 2 and then climbing mountains on day 3.  On day 4 my quads locked up to the point that I could not get up the climbs in the last 100 miles today. I rode a total of 743 miles in the last 4 days. I’m disappointed to have to stop but I needed to be in Durango, CO by 12:34am EST tonight and since I could not get up the climbs after Mexican Hat, AZ we had to call it. Do I have any regrets about this whole endeavor? No way! This was a great challenge for me and I’m very satisfied with my effort. I gave it 100%.  … My crew did a great job and kept me going as long as I did.  ….” -Michael Dunlap

Well said Michael, and best of luck to you.

Rick's Cup of Java in the morning

Rick see's the Colorado Rockies and just goes nuts

Cortez, CO

Rick checked into TS 14 (Cortez, CO) at 3:20 PM EDT (the RAAM website incorrectly has 4:20).  814 miles completed with 2,191 more to go.  And for any Randonneurs following along, Rick today has completed his first of four consecutive back-to-back 1200k’s he’s essentially riding.  As amazing as that is, the immediate goal for Rick is to get to Durango 44 miles away within the next 9 hours in order to meet the first of 3 time limits.  The crew is certainly aware of the need to get Rick into this critical Time Station before the cut-off, and they’ve done a great job of getting Rick back on the road after a short 20 minute stop in Cortez.

Go Rick … Keep those cranks turning!

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA

On the way to Cortez, CO

Rick checked into TS 14 (Montezuma Creek, UT) at 10:38 AM EDT and was immediately back on the road and headed to Cortez, CO:

Montezuma Creek, UT to Cortez, CO

This leg features a steady climb into the Colorado Rockies, with an elevation gain of 1,700 feet over 50 miles.  At 12:30 PM, Rick is riding on a nice quiet back road, Creek 21, just over the Colorado border:

Riding on Creek 21 in Colorado to Cortez, CO

Current weather conditions in Cortez  are 52F, light rain, and unfortunately, the wind is now blowing out of the east at 5 MPH. It looks like Rick is on track to get into Cortez around mid-afternoon.

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA

20 miles from montezuma creek

Rick is doing well after riding in the rain for several hours. Today we set a goal of 100 miles from 8:45am through 3:30 pm edt.

Here he is flying along while his “loyal” crew sneaks away for a Rare Cappuccino in the desert.

Colorado here we come.

On the way to Montezuma Creek, UT

Rick got back on the road today, at 3AM EDT, after a rather long  5-hour stop in Kayenta for rest and recovery.  Since then, he has been riding steady and cleared Time Station 12 (Mexican Hat, UT) at 7AM this morning.  The RAAM website is showing Rick at Time Station 13 (Montezuma Creek) already, but that must be a database error, since as of 9:30AM, Spot Tracker has him located short of the halfway point on this leg:

Mexican Hat, UT to Montezuma Creek, UT

This leg has one impressive looking climb, but the scale is somewhat desceptive — it’s actually a rather modest 900 foot climb over 10 miles.  So this stage is a comparatively flat one.  Current weather conditions are showing some rain showers in the area, but some favorate SW winds 16-21 MPH to push Rick along.  Temperature is currently 51F, and will probably stay in the 70F’s today as Rick heads into the higher elevations of the Rockies.  Looking ahead to some of the later stages today, Rick has some big climbs to get through today, as he tackles Wolf Pass through the Colorado Rockies.

Spot Tracker is showing Rick riding a good steady pace since the long stop in Kayenta, so it appears that he is well rested and riding strong.  He rode through the last Time Station in Mexican Hat, taking a very short break, which is a good sign that he’s still fresh from his rest last night.

Today, I’ll be looking for Rick to continue riding steady with short rest stops.  I’ll also be looking at his total elapsed time when he passes through Time Station 15 in Durango, CO.  The time limit to reach Durango is 81 hours, so it’ll be interesting to see how much time Rick will have in the bank when he gets there.

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA

Rain and RAAM

It’s 4:43 am and Rick is back on the bike after a luxurious 3-1/2 hour sleep brake. We have entered Utah and we are enjoying our 1st thunderstorm of RAAM 2010.

Thunderstorms in 55 degree weather mean lots of clothing accessories need to be dug out of storage. Rick puts the clothes on and then takes them off as conditions change.

Rain also means flat tires, oh crap! I see Rick waving at me and I need to go change the tire.

Rick is in good spirits and is fully alert and awake after his nap.

I hit the big time!

I’m having fun crewing for Rick. First of all, he has the heart of a lion and second of all he has some pretty darn smart friends that are now my fellow crew members. It is earnest and (fun) group that is working very hard to help him succeed. I’m helping to drive one of the cars and participating in a group blog effort. Everybody had been great. Some of the perks include front row tickets to worlds toughest cycling event, free transportation and free lodging. Speaking of free lodging…check out tonight’s digs. I have to admit It does have a lovely view of the course but, cmon the included office suite falls a little short of my expectations. On the plus side-the toilet and shower are located close by, just a short walk through the parking lot and around the RV’s long ago lost the mobile part of the equation.

Monument Valley

Words and photos are poor substitutes for being here. It is awesome.

Kayenta, AZ

Rick rolled into TS 11 (Kayenta, AZ) at 9:45PM, in a virtual tie for 2nd place. It was another good segment for Rick, covering the 72 miles at 14.4 MPH. He’s been there for about an hour, so it appears like some down time has been scheduled for rest and recovery.

Rick has to reach TS 15 (Durango, CO) by midnight tomorrow (EDT), in order to meet the first time cut-off. At this point, he’s in pretty good shape to meet that goal: he’s got over 26 hours to cover just 178 miles.

In general, solo male riders (under 60) need to maintain an average speed of 10.7 MPH to meet the cut-off at Durango. Rick has a good enough margin of 12.5 MPH. However, a couple of other riders are on the very edge, and will have to work hard tomorrow, to avoid disqualification.

-Tom Rosenbauer
Eastern PA RBA