Friday, June 27, 2008

Brenda's pictures from RAAM


I finally got around to getting my favorite photos posted to Shutterfly.

They can be viewed at:


You do not need to sign in. Just click on View Pictures then click on View Slideshow.





Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Getting Home

     The RAAM-a-lam-a-ding-dong (a.k.a. Dodge Caravan) transporting Kevin, Doyce, and Alan is safely back home in Augusta.  What an amazing journey!  I'm quite tired today, so I expect it will take some time to get current with all the excitement that's happened over the last 10 days or so.  Perhaps, however, I'll summon up enough energy to make a group ride tonight.
     The race was extremely exciting for me and definately a dream come true.  I expect most people from afar wished us well but secretly didn't think we had much of a chance to make it to the finish.  That's understandable, because RAAM truly is truly a tough and epic race.  However, we had a flawless training plan and a perfect crew that increased our chances of success immeasurably. 
     There's a million people to thank, and hopefully I won't forget anyone as I try to catch up with all that's happened since the race began.  I do want to thank Jeff Bauer here for being on this great team with me.  It was his ground breaking fixed gear exploits from 2004 that inspired this race.  Jeff vowed never to ride more than 200k on a fixed gear bike after 2004, but fortunately I was able to con him into a team RAAM.  Anyone who knows Jeff also knows that he is the perfect teammate.  He was methodical and well prepared, and he trained very hard for this race.  He was rock solid on the bike and never seemed to let the rain, headwinds, or long hills bring him down.  In fact, I had to ask him to at least act like he was suffering at the rider exchanges so I wouldn't feel so all alone.
     We also had a perfect crew of 10 people who were kind enough to donate two weeks of their lives to our race.  Proof of their great perfmances include ZERO team penalties, as little as two bonus miles over the course of a 3,000 mile race, and almost non-existant down time for the 8 day race.  GREAT JOB!  Don Mayne had the thankless job of being crew chief and he was outstanding at it.  Every other member of our crew had distinct personalities that benefited us, and each of them brought something good and unique to the table.  Everyone should be proud of how they managed to get these two cyclists through all the challenges of RAAM. 
     I was extremely inspired by all the people who made it out to cheer for us along the race route.  My only regret is that there were many, many people who waited for us at time stations and we had to blow on through in pursuit of a finish.  It seemed to start in Fort Scott, Kansas with a few people holding up a sign with "Go, Fixies, Go" on it.  How amazing was this, as I didn't realize that I knew anyone from Fort Scott.  I also got a great kick out of seeing Jeff's Mom, brother, and friends bringing out good cheer (and cookies) around Bloomington.  Rodney Caswell came out in St. Louis and Tim Carroll met up with us in Ohio.   Then there was Bill Beck and a roadside angel (Maile Neel) taking pictures of our assault on the finish line.  It was fun to see a few fixies jerseys on the road, and it was obvious that people were following our race.  I'm hoping that anyone who showed up will send an e-mail to me so I can properly thank them. 
     I hope everyone enjoyed following this race as much as I enjoyed racing in it.  I gave it all I had, and I know Jeff did, too.  Thanks for helping make my dream come true!
Kevin Kaiser

Fw: More Photos

Here are more photos from the finish.

Mary Crawley

----- Original Message -----
From: Maile Neel <>
To: Crawley, Mary (USAPAE)
Sent: Tue Jun 17 18:34:29 2008
Subject: More Photos

Mary -

Share with everyone:

My photos from the finish today:

AND Bill Beck's completely AWESOME photos from Mt. Airy. From the email Bill sent to DCRand:

I know that I said that I wouldn't send more notices, but I can't resist because the pictures include "The Man," Jure Robic, as well as Team Viasat.

And boy was I lucky! While I was waiting by the side of MD27 for Jure to ride by, he and his van suddenly stopped right at the driveway where I had parked. Jure tossed his bike to the ground and walked up to a shaded grassy area where a crew member laid down a mat and blanket. Jure took a 10-miute power nap, sat up, and after being helped to his feet by a crew member, got back on his bike and started riding again. At time station 52 at Mt Airy Bicycles, Jure sat out his 15-minute time penalty in his large motor home, and then a crew member actually carrier him out of the van and placed him on his bike. Check out the pictures!

Jure Robic:

Team Viasat:

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Snaps to DC Randonneurs Bill, Maile, Clint, Kelly and Chris!

The Gran Fondo Fixies were welcomed to Mt. Airy and Annapolis by DC Randonneurs Bill Beck, Maile Neel, Kelly Smith, Clint Provenza and Chris Mento. Bill and Maile came out in the pouring rain to Mt. Airy to take excellent photos of the fixieboys. Clint Provenza, Kelly Smith and Maile greeted the team at the Annapolis Mall, and Clint even brought a cooler full of cold drinks. We saw Chris Mento at the docks; Chris will be providing part of the official RAAM escort for the final 4 mile ride to the docks this afternoon. Maile and Kelly then joined the team for dinner last night down on the docks.

What a wonderful showing of support from the DC Randonneurs! Kevin and Jeff, and the crew, appreciate it very much.

Mary Crawley

We "Won"

Jeff and Kevin won RAAM ... or at least the two-man fixed gear division. How about instead saying, "Jeff and Kevin were the first riders across the 'finish line' at 2008 RAAM." Of course, they haven't yet gone over the finish line, so is that really right? Hmmm ... OK, how about I just recap and you can figure it out from there.
When last we blogged our intrepid explorers, they were in Mt. Airy at the bike shop. Jeff came in and Kevin headed out. Jeff was immediately mobbed by loyal supporters who had come in (including the now infamous really a person Maille Neel), RAAM fans, and the folks at the bike shop (bike shop people love a great bike like the Salsa Casserrol, particularly when it has been kept simple like a fixie, and they loved Jeff and Kevin's basic approach to cycling in general). It was like being with Julia on the red carpet on Oscar night. I was holding an umbrella over Jeff's head to keep the rain off, trying to let him get cleaned up from his ride and ready to go back out, while fending off people with cameras (ah, those paparazzi!) and everyone trying to shake his hand or just touch the sleeve of his raimant (keep your hands off the raimant -- it's got to go back to the shop!).
Eventually, we got him changed and back in the van and Mary and I headed down the road with Jeff to the next rider swap at mile 30. At this point we're on a busy interchange between Baltimore and Annapolis, hanging out at a gas station, with Jeff ready to roll and street people chatting him up about why he has two bicycles. It could have been the exhaustion setting in, but things now seemed a trifle surreal. Kevin comes in and Jeff is about to go out when we find out that RAAM only wants one rider on the road at a time here. We decide to let Kevin finish it up, then, and let Jeff stay dry (the rain had stopped by the roads were nasty). So, load up the bike and rider and back into the van.
We're then heading to the mall where the "finish" line is. Now, let me explain: Yes, it's not quite at the coast, but this is where riders are supposed to "finish" the ride. RAAM then calls ahead and gets a big shebang set up so that, when the rider rolls up to the pier in Annapolis the band can be struck up and officials can present the rider this laurel and hardy handshake and yadda-yada. That's the finish line everybody sees in the movies.
The real finish line is the mall parking lot outside of Pottery Barn. Which makes sense, in a way, as Pottery Barn is heaven in a number of lesser known pantheons. Buy me a couple of glasses of single-malt scotch one day and I'll explain how it works.
En route to this heaven/finish line, Jeff and Mary and I get another call: Come back -- RAAM says you two can both ride in together. U-Turn, drive back, get Jeff out and bike off, and then Kevin shows up with the other van (did I mention we named it the RAAM-a-lam-a-ding-dong somewhere during this trip?) and Doyce and Allen and Don and off they go. Mary and I then jump back in the van and zip down to heaven/finish line.
Don, Brenda, Gary, Chris, and David are there with the pursuit van, as well as Terry Zmrhal and other RAAM officials and many of the fans from Mt. Airy and still other fans and friends who had driven over. We get ready and Jeff and Kevin come rolling in while we cheer and film and shoot pictures. Then it's lots of congratulations and back-slapping and about the level of euphoria that you would expect after an eight-day long roller coaster of frantic activity like this. Okay, so you may have to use LOTS of imagination.
From there we head to a nearby hotel where we dump stuff and kind of change, then back into the van to drive down to the pier where they have a bunch of people who have been waiting to see Kevin and Jeff come in. More cheering, back-slapping, people touching raimants (okay, touch away for all I care -- but if you break it you've bought it!). Then we went to a local pub for dinner and a little champagne. There would have been lots of champagne, as well as a few other imbibements, but I knew I had to somehow navigate back to the hotel later, and we were all so exhausted we just did not yet trust ourselves to partake of anything that would lessen our abilities to function. Perhaps some other day ...
Instead, we all got to enjoy something precious that few people really appreciate any more: EIGHT HOURS OF UNINTERRUPTED SLEEP. That is bliss. If they would let you go into Pottery Barn and lay on one of their beds for eight hours ... well, now you know why it's one version of heaven.
It's now almost 9:15 and we soon expect Jure Robic -- the Slovenian soldier that left with us from Oceanside, CA, a week ago Saturday and who looks to be the one who will "win" the solo RAAM division -- to come in. After that, Jeff and Kevin can jump on their bikes and partake in the parade finish down to the pier in Annapolis for the formal end of the race, complete with the speeches and the officials with the laurel and hardy handshake (you can't use that joke too much). I will blog again after that. Jeff and I then plan to throw everything into the back of the RAAMinator and start driving back to Nashville.
Meanwhile, attached are pictures from the finish line (sorry I didn't get heaven in the picture) and the banner at the other finish line at the pier. They were just putting the finishing touches on this, because Jeff and Kevin rode so fast that things were quite ready.
Robert Hendry
The opinions expressed in this missive are my own and in no way reflect the views of Gran Fondo, RAAM, or any of my compatriots. If you have been offended by my less-than-reverent verbiage, I would apologize if I cared about your feelings. Get over it.

Fw: photos

Links to photos from Mt. Airy and Annapolis, taken by Maile Neel and Bill Beck. Thanks again!


----- Original Message -----
From: Maile Neel <>
To: Crawley, Mary (USAPAE)
Sent: Tue Jun 17 02:01:04 2008
Subject: photos

Mary -

Share these links with the boys and the crew:



See you later today!


Monday, June 16, 2008


We got to the mall about 8:30. Much rejoicing. I'll send a more detailed blog tomorrow morning.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry