Thursday, June 22, 2006


"Getting RAAMed"

OKAY. I admit it. I'm totally eaten up with this RAAM thing. Reading the stories, looking at the pictures, trying (but failing) to understand the amount of perseveance, endurance, and just plain GUTS it takes to even try to do the thing. Not that there aren't other events that test, expose, and exploit the human condition just as much. Maybe, as a fledgling neophyte ultracycling wannabe, I just feel closer to this one than the others.

A quick summary of the "race" as I've see it. Mostly from the perspective of the Enduro class, as those riders are many that I've met or ridden with.

Transplant Athlete Lou had a crash into a ditch that ended his quest early on.

UltraRob was forced to pull the plug over 2/3s of the way through because of IT band problems. In 4th place at the time, he was forced to stop for over a day and seek medical treatment. He got BACK on his bike and tried to ride it out but the time deadline forced his WD.

Just now noticed that Mitchell Lesack pulled out with just over 350 miles left to go. Mitchell is in my age group and was at Sebring the last 2 years. I really wanted to see him finish. No word on the details yet.

Bryce is soldiering on, and will hopefully finish before dark tonight. From his team blog :

"Imagine being one thousand times more exhausted than you've ever been in your life. Your body started making outright demands for real sleep over 6 days and 2000 miles ago. Finally, when your legs absolutely refuse to pedal one mile further without a break, you are told that you are allowed to rest for 3 hours. Then you are expected to get up, feel rejuvenateded, and race well once again."

............ then go out and climb 7600 feet in 125 miles.

Shanna "banana" Armstrong is persevering toward the finish to be the only solo woman finisher this year. Like many she battled weak neck muscles. She is experienced in the ultra field of sports with wins in the Ultraman (thats TWO Ironmans together), and a win in the 2 person co-ed team RAAM last year. RAAM is, as RAAM does, taking her AND her crew to and beyond the limits of their endurance. From her race blog :

Yesterday morning:

"Shanna and crew are trying to tie down the emotions and focus purely on finishing in time. It ain't easy. Most of the crew are reaching or have surpassed their own personal endurance limits and crave a successful completion to this race. Shanna has found her legs and we continue to read your emails to her when it is safe to do so. Personally, I cannot imagine her not finishing, but never count out the unexpected. "

7 hours later, last night:

"Shanna made it in here but she is in less than optimal sleep. She is getting "RAAMed". Slightly disoriented and definitely afraid that everything she worked so hard for might be slipping away, we put her to bed. We wake her in 90 minutes and give it another go. Dramatic and dangerous times. Send her your strength.

52 yo Jonathan "Jock" Boyer won the Enduro class. This is his second RAAM win. He fought Shermer's neck with different assorted contraptions.

Marko Baloh finished the Enduro class in a close second place. This is his 3rd attempt, and first finish. We know his buddy Jure' is as happy about this as anybody.

Tinker came in third, with more official time logged off the bike than anyone. Bet you didn't know that he never raced with a chamois in his bike shorts. He'd cut them out with a knife saying he didn't like feeling as if he was wearing a diaper. He also never used chamois cream. That was BEFORE RAAM. Tinker now understands the value of diapers and cream . WTG.

Kenny Souza battled a bad case of pneumonia early in the race and should finish within the next few hours in 4th place.

Amazing tales of human dedication and endurance. Best heartfelt wishes and deepest respect to all involved.



Once again I'm unable to post photos......................

Tinker never races with a chamois...even during his mtb enduros. He also has no pads in his helmet. His "dreds" do the trick.
Amazing also that Tinker rode almost the whole RAAM on his big ring, with no aero bars. His hands gotta be numb.

Nat Ross was on this years winning four man RAAM team............maybe he's the next MTB enduro freak to cross over?
i love this race. endurance times 1000.
thanks for the RAAM re-cap.

You know when your on the bike too long when you need a chin rest so your neck muscles can take a break!
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