Sunday, June 15, 2008

Just outside Grafton

We in Pruntytown, three miles from Grafton, WV. Kevin is taking the first four-hour session of the evening, and Jeff is asleep in the back of the RAAMinator.

For those that don't know, this is what supporting two-man RAAM is really like. You drive behind your rider for whatever period has been determined - with us it's usually a two- or four-hour rotation - passing him full bottles, taking the empties, telling him when to turn, keeping him in your headlights when it's dark, shielding him from semis, playing music over the PA, and watching to make sure his spirits and energy stay high. With Jeff and Kevin, this is pretty easy since they are so strong.

When they come in from a rotation, you get them fed and watered and cleaned and changed, then try to get them to rest. Meanwhile, you zip down the road 40-70 miles to where they must next start riding. You also try to get fuel for the van and crew and any supplies you may need for when you go back on. If you can, you squeeze in a bathroom break.

When you get to the spot, you wait and try to sleep yourself. Sometimes there's a store, but that can be dangerous because stores have humans and humans are loud, and remember that you're hoping for sleep for you, the crew, and the rider. During this period you communicate with the other crew figuring out when your rider must be ready, when and where your relief crew will come, and what's going on with the other teams. Sometimes you blog.

So, it's periods of tense tedium punctuated by phases of frantic action and intervals of pure panic. And we only have 310 more miles of it.

Robert Hendry
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

2 comments:

Fixed Gear Steve said...

Here's a story that I found on the WTAP.com website. It's TV station in Parkersburg. The story was posted at 8:49PM EDT and features a picture of Kevin.

Here's a link to the story: http://www.wtap.com/news/headlines/19961649.html

RAAM Racers in Parkersburg!

WTAP News
Posted: 8:49 PM Jun 15, 2008
Last Updated: 8:52 PM Jun 15, 2008
Reporter: Leslie Cebula
Email Address: leslie.cebula@wtap.com

More than 250 bicycle racers from around the world are in Race Across America. The first racers left last Sunday and the first two came through Parkersburg this Sunday!

In front of "Knot Just Stitches" at 1420 Staunton Avenue is a time station along the more than 3,000 mile route from Oceanside, California to Annapolis, Maryland.

There are different classes of riders including solo, two-member, four-member, and eight-member teams.

Some local riders rode behind this two man team, Gran Fondo Fixies, for part of the stretch from Belpre into Parkersburg.

"We do four hour shifts, four hours on and four hours off and the race goes continuously from the beginning of the race until we finish in Annapolis, Maryland," said Jeff Bauer, one of the riders of the Gran Fondo Fixies team.

He came into Parkersburg and handed off to his team mate Kevin Kaiser who took off from here towards Clarksburg for the next four hours.

"(The crew is) ten people total. Three are in the van at any one time with the rider, one is to drive, one is to navigate, and one is to service the rider," Bauer said.

If they finish, this team will be the first to finish it riding fixed gear bikes.

Fixed Gear Steve said...

OOps forgot to ask - whether or not there is any chance you guys plan on doing what you did at the HOS 500 and do RAAM all over again in the other direction?