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
 
 
    

2 comments:

TommyBFromSC said...

Kevin,

Having ridden with you in the Gainesville brevets last year, and seeing your determination and talent at PBP, I never doubted your ability to pull this off in great style. That does not diminish at all the awe that I have for you and Jeff (and the whole crew). I don't intend to dust my fixie off until late fall, but when I do, I will proudly sport my new Grand Fondo Fixies jersey, and tell everyone I meet that I know a RAAM legend.

Congrats,
Tom Bardauskas
Florence, SC

John Spurgeon said...

Well done!