RAAM

Follow all the US Conti teams, Races they contest in the US and abroad and all the US Cycling chatter you can handle!

Moderators: chaoscycling, Moderators

Re: RAAM

Postby Kaiser » Thu May 17, 2012 5:40 am

close a time or 2, but no cigar
Image

"impossible" is a lie

Kaiser
User avatar
Kaiser
 
Posts: 3200
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2007 10:03 am
Location: on the rivet

Re: RAAM

Postby SDCali » Thu May 17, 2012 10:17 am

I've met Mrs Timo.
User avatar
SDCali
 
Posts: 390
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 3:23 pm
Location: Disneyheim, CA

Re: RAAM

Postby mashjaja » Thu May 17, 2012 5:14 pm

Someday we all ought to fix this!!!
"Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride." --John F. Kennedy
User avatar
mashjaja
Incessant Saxophile
 
Posts: 12605
Joined: Mon Jan 15, 2007 9:19 am
Location: Stalking Leopards.....

Re: RAAM

Postby golevigo » Fri May 18, 2012 5:21 pm

Let me know when and where!! I'm in south-western Ohio and would love to have some info on a possible meet up!
User avatar
golevigo
 
Posts: 2560
Joined: Mon Jun 23, 2008 4:02 pm
Location: East of Dvora

Re: RAAM

Postby Agent 86 » Sun May 20, 2012 5:31 pm

So how'd it go? Or going? or still on? :D
Team Cinzano, Home of The Evil Empire and Champions of the 2008 TdC !

And First to say '09 will be like '86 Hinault vs Lemond
User avatar
Agent 86
Nit Picky Fiddy
 
Posts: 11477
Joined: Fri Dec 29, 2006 3:16 pm
Location: Managing The Cinzano Evil Empire!

Re: RAAM

Postby Fat Lip » Sun May 20, 2012 7:30 pm

Hey Mashie, congratulations. They couldn't have selected a better candidate.

First RAAM, next TdF.
User avatar
Fat Lip
 
Posts: 281
Joined: Mon Sep 01, 2008 5:00 pm
Location: Face plant on pavement

Re: RAAM

Postby dvora » Tue May 22, 2012 1:19 pm

I see some good spots east of Bloomington for a meet-up with GLG. Greensburg, obviously... right along I-74. Brookville has a nice park as part of the state fishing area. And on, and on, and on...

"What do you call a cyclist who doesn't wear a helmet? An organ donor."
David Perry, video game developer
User avatar
dvora
Translator/Traitor Extraordinaire
 
Posts: 3331
Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2008 1:48 pm
Location: West of Golevigo

Re: RAAM

Postby mashjaja » Tue May 22, 2012 2:27 pm

Agent 86 wrote:So how'd it go? Or going? or still on? :D


It's not until June 20th (for me), but when it's going on you know you'll be getting updates!

Fat Lip wrote:Hey Mashie, congratulations. They couldn't have selected a better candidate.

First RAAM, next TdF.


Thanks!!! :)
"Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride." --John F. Kennedy
User avatar
mashjaja
Incessant Saxophile
 
Posts: 12605
Joined: Mon Jan 15, 2007 9:19 am
Location: Stalking Leopards.....

Re: RAAM

Postby mashjaja » Sun Jun 24, 2012 6:09 pm

So I left Monday and got home at 1 this am...and had the BEST week of my life!! I'm going to write up a better account later, but here's the link to my pics:

http://cycling-news.posterous.com/raam- ... cials-lens
"Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride." --John F. Kennedy
User avatar
mashjaja
Incessant Saxophile
 
Posts: 12605
Joined: Mon Jan 15, 2007 9:19 am
Location: Stalking Leopards.....

Re: RAAM

Postby mashjaja » Mon Jun 25, 2012 5:57 pm

A long, winding country road in small town USA. Dusk. No cars, few houses, and fields of animals dot the horizon. Suddenly, over a hill, a lone figure comes into view. It’s a bike rider, pedaling hard against all odds with miles and miles to go. Behind him, an RV keeps the rider motivated and safe.

This is Race Across America.

For the past 30 years, male and female riders of all ages, soloists or teams of 2, 4, or 8, annually line up for this ultimate cycling endurance test. Since 2006, the riders have left Oceanside, California. Since 2008, the finish has been in Annapolis, Maryland. Along the route, over 50 time stations mark check points for the riders who usually have their own support caravans consisting of anything from a simple mini-van to RVs, multiple cars and conversion vans, and, occasionally, their own media crew.

This year, the route was 2993.24 miles through high heat, heavy winds, storms, and, occasionally, beautiful weather. Here, you can see a full list of starters in this year’s event: http://www.raceacrossamerica.org/raam/r ... _Race_ID=1 .

So how does RAAM work? Highly simplified, women and male soloists 60+ left Oceanside on June 12th. All other male soloists left the next day, and the teams left on Saturday, June 16th. The course officially closed on Monday, June 25th. So, riders basically work their way from California to Maryland at their own pace with this deadline in mind. When they arrive at a time station, they call headquarters to let them know, and this is how the riders are tracked and monitored. Also on the course are officials. Usually, teams of officials patrol the course and riders all the way across country. This year, however, regional officials were added who patrolled just one section of the race. This is where I come in….

My first experience with RAAM came in 2007. I had just gone through a divorce, and I was looking for ways to become active in cycling again. Never being much of a rider, media and assisting with races has always been my preference. So, after hearing about RAAM on Bicycle Radio, I decided to contact Headquarters and see how I could help. Sadly, RAAM goes no where near Toledo, Ohio where I live. However, it does go through Chillicothe, Ohio, about four hours away. So, I volunteered to manage that time station. The following years, my involvement varied from freelance media to volunteering for a few hours here and there at other Ohio time stations. This year, I wanted to be a bit more active, so I was excited at the opportunity to be a regional official.

Originally, I was asked to officiate Bloomington, Indiana-Oxford, Ohio. So, Monday, June 18th, I left for Bloomington, allowing myself time to stop by Bill Armstrong Stadium at the Indiana University, home of the Little 500. If you don’t know what that is? Well, if you’re reading this, I’m sure you do know! But, if not, just watch Breaking Away! Anyway, after that trip, I holed up, waiting for riders to make their way to me. Of course, I was way early, so I had quite some time to wait. So, the next day, I called Headquarters and asked for directions.
Now, allow me to pause for a moment for a note about Headquarters. This is the nerve center for the race, and considering the extensive size of the caravan, the multitude of languages the racers and crew speak, and the fact that all the time zones in the continental US were involved, the ladies and gentlemen at Headquarters are absolutely amazing. They are so kind and polite, patient and understanding, even at the highest stress moments. I was continually impressed with their professionalism!

Anyway, the next day, it was discovered that I was actually needed to span Oxford, Ohio-Chillicothe, Ohio. This included time stations 41-43, each separated by between 50-60 miles. So, my job for the next few days was basically to drive back and forth between these stations, hold for a bit, then do the same trek. Along the way, I was to watch for rule infractions (generally safety concerns, though by this point in the race, most riders knew the rules and were very very well-behaved. More on that to come…). Additionally, I kept a log of which racers I passed where so that when I called into Headquarters every few hours, they could have a bit more detail as to where exactly these riders were and how well they were making progress.

All in all, though it may not sound it, this was so much fun! I got to see every rider (except for when I was sleeping). When I was holding at a time station, I got to know the support staffs of the racers as well as the time station crews. I also met several more officials. Every single person I met was completely pleasant. Some of these riders had been riding for 5-6 days…they were tired, sore, and probably hungry. And yet, despite this, almost everyone still had a smile on their face. Even those too tired to smile were genuinely friendly. I had the honor of being the “Broomwagon” in Ohio, driving from Chillicothe back to Oxford to find the last riders on course. I then leap-frogged them all the way back to Chillicothe. This means that I drove ahead of them about 20 miles, waited for them to pass, then drove ahead again, and so forth. At time station 42 in Blanchester, I was able to talk to the crews and the riders of the last two teams, and they were having a blast!! A rider from one of the teams started playing with his crew chief’s megaphone and thought it would be fun to try to attach it to his bike. They were joking and laughing and having fun. When I passed them about an hour later, the megaphone was gone, the rider was focused intently on the road, but the smile still hadn’t left his race.

Then again, this didn’t feel like a race….it felt like a giant mobile family. And honestly, that’s how this race has always felt to me, regardless of my role. Everyone involved is made to feel important and valued by everyone else.

Ultimately, RAAM is really hard for me to describe. Each rider has a story and a motivation. Many ride for charities. Some spend thousands out of their own pocket for the chance at bragging rights that they completed what many consider to be the “World’s Toughest Bicycle Race.” The stories within the larger race story are often heart-warming and humbling. True, I wish there were people lining the route, screaming and chanting for their favorite riders, though the nature of the race does hinder that. Regardless, I will always be cheering for RAAM and all those involved—in every position. And, my goal is to always be involved with the race in some capacity. Hmmm….what should I shoot for next year? Better start thinking as this year’s riders recover!

Results for the race are available at: http://www.raceacrossamerica.org/raam/r ... _Race_ID=1
My images from my experience are available at: http://cycling-news.posterous.com/raam- ... cials-lens
"Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride." --John F. Kennedy
User avatar
mashjaja
Incessant Saxophile
 
Posts: 12605
Joined: Mon Jan 15, 2007 9:19 am
Location: Stalking Leopards.....

Re: RAAM

Postby Fat Lip » Tue Jun 26, 2012 5:52 pm

Great report Mash. I wish the race passed through PA so I could report on it. I'll bet there's dozens of wonderful stories to tell. So few people know about it. And I didn't until you!

I did report on Odyssey 2000 which was a bike tour, not race, that started at the Rose Bowl Parade and made its way east with a local rider. But this adds that competitive dimension.

I hardly know you, but I'm Proud of You.
User avatar
Fat Lip
 
Posts: 281
Joined: Mon Sep 01, 2008 5:00 pm
Location: Face plant on pavement

Re: RAAM

Postby dvora » Tue Jun 26, 2012 6:34 pm

I'm in total agreement with Fat Lip... what a great account of a great experience! Everything that I've read up until now about RAAM pales in comparison to your description as a race official. Fantastic stories!

"What do you call a cyclist who doesn't wear a helmet? An organ donor."
David Perry, video game developer
User avatar
dvora
Translator/Traitor Extraordinaire
 
Posts: 3331
Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2008 1:48 pm
Location: West of Golevigo

Re: RAAM

Postby mashjaja » Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:07 pm

awww!!! Thanks you guys!!!
"Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride." --John F. Kennedy
User avatar
mashjaja
Incessant Saxophile
 
Posts: 12605
Joined: Mon Jan 15, 2007 9:19 am
Location: Stalking Leopards.....

Re: RAAM

Postby SDCali » Wed Jun 27, 2012 8:41 pm

Here's a race report from someone who rode RAAM. (it's from one of the triathlon forums I frequent).
RAAM Report
User avatar
SDCali
 
Posts: 390
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 3:23 pm
Location: Disneyheim, CA

Re: RAAM

Postby mashjaja » Thu Jun 28, 2012 7:04 am

Thanks!! That was a great read!

It's funny because that was one team in particular I was told to keep an eye on b/c their changes were a little iffy....but they were fine when I saw them :)
"Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride." --John F. Kennedy
User avatar
mashjaja
Incessant Saxophile
 
Posts: 12605
Joined: Mon Jan 15, 2007 9:19 am
Location: Stalking Leopards.....

Re: RAAM

Postby mashjaja » Fri Jun 07, 2013 10:12 am

Almost RAAM time again!!
So pumped!!

http://www.raceacrossamerica.org/raam/r ... ebcat_id=1

Once again, I will be an official for Indiana and Ohio, so I'll be posting when I can!

And, this year, I'm also the official for the Ohio qualifier in September (http://ohio.raamchallenge.com/rs/index. ... cat_id=286), so I'll try to post stuff after that, too.
"Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride." --John F. Kennedy
User avatar
mashjaja
Incessant Saxophile
 
Posts: 12605
Joined: Mon Jan 15, 2007 9:19 am
Location: Stalking Leopards.....

Re: RAAM

Postby mashjaja » Mon Jun 24, 2013 5:55 pm

So here's where you can find my summaries (they're the same on BWN and USCR, so just pick one) and my gallery of photos (my hands have gotten a little more steady, 86!)

It was a ton of fun. I even got to meet one of Kaiser's friends!!!!

Find my report on Bike World News at: http://www.bikeworldnews.com/2013/06/24 ... e-america/

US Cycling Report at: http://uscyclingreport.com/content/inde ... 1&Itemid=1

And my gallery of photos at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/27006449@N ... 314260804/
"Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride." --John F. Kennedy
User avatar
mashjaja
Incessant Saxophile
 
Posts: 12605
Joined: Mon Jan 15, 2007 9:19 am
Location: Stalking Leopards.....

Re: RAAM

Postby mashjaja » Mon Sep 30, 2013 3:41 pm

Worked the Ohio cycling challenge qualifier this weekend as an official. Here's my report:

For most people, the prospect of riding a bicycle hundreds of miles in a weekend seems ludicrous. However, to some endurance athletes, this is viewed as an exciting challenge. And, for ultra cyclists, there is possibly no greater event than Race Across America (RAAM) to test their fortitude.
Every summer, RAAM draws hundreds of riders, crew members, officials, volunteers, and media to be a part ofa 3000 mile trek across the country.
In an effort to draw new people into the sport, as well as to keep RAMM-aficionados active until the next summer, RAAM also features a series of weekend challenges in Texas, California, Florida, Oregon, Minnesota, and Ohio.


This weekend, I was honored to be an official for the Ohio Cycling Challenge. Having previously served two years as a regional official in Ohio during RAAM in the summer, I had a general idea of what to expect. Nonetheless, as is typical with RAAM—and cycling in general—surprises are around every corner!
My weekend started Friday afternoon in Dublin, Ohio, where I met race organizers and Jim Harms, RAAM Director of Officials. We set up the start/finish area, the registration table, and aid station gear. Shortly before 4, riders began to check in. Myself, Jim, and the three other officials for the race, began to inspect the riders’ bikes and, if used, support vehicles for safety. That’s right… “if used.” 7 riders, including 1 female (Laura McElwee) and a man named Terry Duffy riding a recumbent, tackled the 200 mile course unsupported. No crew, no backup car full of supplies…just their pluck, their bikes, and their will.
5 men and an additional female, Patricia George, rode the same 200 miles with a support vehicle.
Simultaneously, seven men decided to try their legs on a 400 mile course (all with the assistance of a support vehicle).
Following inspection, all involved had an informational meeting to clarify the rules. Then, everyone was freed to get rest.
The next morning, the riders all gathered at the start line at 4:45AM. The supported, 200 mile riders individually began at thirty-second increments, followed by the unsupported riders (to give them riders to try to spot for navigation). After the 400-mile riders started, the officials were released on the course, each heading to a specific location on the course.
John Foote and myself were assigned to the 400-mile course, but since the first 105 miles were the same for both 200 and 400 mile riders, we helped cover this initial portion. Loudonville and Nashville, Ohio, were of primary interest, largely due to construction, detours, and potential course difficulties. So, thus began the leap-frog monitoring of the bulk of the weekend.
When I leap-frog, I usually follow a rider (and if present, their support vehicle) for a half mile or so to make sure they are safe and to see if they need any assistance. I log where and when I encountered them in order to track progress. Then, when it is safe, I’ll pass them and drive ahead to the next rider. After anywhere from 20-50 miles, I’ll pull off the road (sometimes on course, sometimes hidden) and wait for a group of riders to pass me, once again logging their time and location. After giving them a few minutes, I’ll begin the process again.
My job is thus four-fold: 1)keep the riders safe, 2)keep the riders following the rules, 3)monitor the riders’ progress and location, and 4)do whatever necessary to help the riders on this journey.
I usually make a point of stopping at a time station for a few minutes just to more-easily communicate with riders if they need anything. In the summer, time stations can be anywhere from parking lots, to gas stations, to fast food restaurants. On this course, each time station was a gas station which is convenient when, as an official, you are driving several hundred miles!
Along the way, there are often quite a few adventures. First, I was able to see cities and towns including New Berlin, Millersburg, Bakersville, Plainfield, New Berlin, Steubenville, McConnelsville, Bishopsville, Glouster, Athens, Allensville, Greenfield, Washington Court House, Newport, London, Plumwood, and Plain City. One of the most memorable moments for me was in Amish Country, watching a horse and buggy pull through a McDonald’s drive thru! There was also a pretty disgusting road-kill incident that impacted John a lot more than me, but let’s just say our vehicles were not the most pleasant smelling upon our return to Dublin on Sunday!
While RAAM does a great job of creating maps, GPS files, and cue sheets for the course, nighttime, weariness, and the often undulating, narrow twisty roads with next-to-invisible street signs does occasionally mean a loss of way. In most instances, it’s easy to get back on course with 1-2 turns. Athens, however, was an entirely different story. I reached the home of Ohio University around 11:00 Saturday night. Turns out, in a college town, this is a fairly popular hour to be…”visiting friends.” There were probably hundreds of students roaming the streets. So adding to the hard-to-find signs, random one-ways and dead ends, was a moving throng that ultimately led me to deviate from the course for a few miles to get up to Time Station 4.
With only seven riders directly responsible, John and I split up the 400-mile field where he covered the front few riders and I covered those in the rear. Edward Walker was moving so quickly, it was often difficult for John to keep pace! Meanwhile, I was focusing a lot of time with John Greten and Christian Echavarria. By the end of Saturday night, I had started monitoring Ben Miller and Michael Hunter as well, while John was now largely focusing on Michael McClintock and Nicholas Perhala. Greten was a fairly solid 45 minutes ahead of McClintock and Perhala. They had a fairly sizeable gap back to Hunter. Miller was a ways behind Michael. Then Greten was about an hour back, with Echavarria serving as lantern rouge, about 45 minutes behind Greten. So, John and I would rendez-vous at the time stations, then he would drive ahead while I sat and waited. Then we would stop along our routes, texting along the way updates. I wound up staying at Time Station 5 in Chillicothe the longest. It was around 1 in the morning by the time I reached it, and while I don’t think any rider slept, they were certainly beginning to feel the fatigue, so their pace decreased. I didn’t mind the wait, however, as Chillicothe is a sentimental location for me. It was here in 2008 that I first started working for RAAM, managing a time station. And, for the past two years a summer regional official, it is the end of my route. So, I reminisced while waiting for the riders to trickle in.
By the time Echavarria arrived around 6:27 in the morning, I could tell he was tired. He had been slowing down throughout the middle of the course, losing ground on Greten. Christain pulled over to my car and thanked me for waiting for him. It seemed like he felt badly for making me wait…but I was glad to do it! It was important to me to make sure he—and all riders—were safe. So telling him this, and encouraging him that he had only about 100 miles to go, he seemed to take spirit a bit. When I next encountered him 40 miles up the road, he was singing and smiling, shouting and waving hello at me. Just to see him so happy, despite being so tired, warmed my heart. And that’s the special thing about RAAM. These riders are out there long hours, often alone, staring at an unyielding road. Do they occasionally lose their tempers? Sure. Are they sometimes grumpy? Yeah. But who wouldn’t be? By the end, they are so thankful and so appreciative…to everyone who played any part in what they often forget is truly their achievement. Just watching a tearful Christian cross the finish line filled me with pride…and excitement for my next RAAM adventure. Click http://ohio.raamchallenge.com/rs/index.php?N_webcat_id=429for full results. Click http://www.flickr.com/photos/27006449@N06/sets/72157636065121054/for my full photo gallery from this weekend.
"Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride." --John F. Kennedy
User avatar
mashjaja
Incessant Saxophile
 
Posts: 12605
Joined: Mon Jan 15, 2007 9:19 am
Location: Stalking Leopards.....

Previous

Return to US Continental Cycling Scene: Races & Rants

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron