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This post is summary of the Race Across America race (2017) from my perspective. A couple of weeks have passed since the finish line, and looking back at my notes, I think my stunted lines do a good job of capturing the minutiae of the week that was, right down to the tiniest moments that I hope I remember for years to come. It probably also captures how irrelevant the concept of days became, and how sleep deprivation got to me! So, in bullet point, here they are from the beginning to the end of the race…

  • Non race zone. Pesky team behind trying to overtake where they are not allowed to
  • My first hour – hilly, HOT
  • My second hour – improved, but dry heat
  • Within a mile of RC taking over he had the Glass Elevator to Borrego Springs
  • RV was HOT. No food prepped. For unknown reason they drove off before we could eat. Finally had Burger King.
  • Got some sleep. Dehydrated.
  • Finally cooled. Messy handover from the other sub team
  • My first hour good. In Navajo reservation
  • Second hour good, entered Arizona.
  • Third hour Ok. Had to cycle longer than planned
  • Time Station 6. Shower. Toilet. Ice bath twice. Rubber ducky.
  • Lying in RV with damp clothes on the bed to stay cool
  • White bronco sighted
  • Denny’s
  • RC’s tyre melted
  • Recovered after very slow hot afternoon, pulled a cracker one hour section
  • Mexican hat rock in Arizona/Utah
  • Stomach problems
  • RV was parked at top of mountain, we weren’t impressed
  • Against the odds, RC and I made the top of the 3000m peak – Wolf Pass, crossing the Continental Divide
  • Ooh, sparks flying tonight as tempers fray. Some interesting decisions cost the team time. Everyone exhausted
  • Crazy start to Tuesday with RV chasing the racer (CN) and minivan
  • CN suffering with chest infection
  • CF possibly (accidentally) running over not one but two chipmunks in the minivan whilst frantically trying to find RC who’d cycled much further than we’d thought
  • Kansas: lightning, big hail stones, flash flood in town, gale force winds.
  • Have left the Rockies behind. Feeling fresh after a full two hours sleep for the night. In South West Kansas this evening, getting buffeted bygale force winds, gobstopper sized hail and lightning starting fires. Flash floods too. My kind of cycling 😁
  • Wed morning
  • Me: I’m excited about a motel shower. Crew member (NF): we get excited about washing our feet in cooler water
  • Tortoise crossing the freeway amused me no end
  • Nodding donkey pumps in Kansas (not sure if they’re pumping oil or water)
  • Apparently in Kansas there are lines of tarantulas crossing roads, and rattlesnakes
  • Did my laundry, dried bib shorts on the RV bonnet, Missouri
  • Dead racoon in Missouri
  • Buffalo chicken wrap in Missouri
  • Fireflies at dusk in Missouri
  • Flattened armadillo, I thought was a squashed alligator (sleep deprivation?!)
  • Topless man at ten at night cheering me on
  • Messy BIG highway
  • Thursday morning, woke to hear of minivan puncture and road works
  • Missouri high humidity to start, hills that roll like waves
  • Overcast late morning, flatter but still gentle ups and downs, through a town then suburban
  • Mother and two kids waved, very nice
  • Energy down to zero by the end of the morning Illinois stint
  • Showers in Illinois at a school football locker room
  • Laughing with crew (NF and LM) about coming in to the RV after last shift. Was so hungry, didn’t want to answer questions. Had a muscle milk, cold fried chicken, chocolate chip cookie, 2 cans fanta, one fish and crab cake
  • Thurs evening shift: really enjoyed riding first again, and really enjoyed catching most lights then turning left with a good tail wind
  • Went past Hershey factory
  • Racer RC took us over the Wabash river into Indiana (new time zone)
  • Red truck with guys with loudspeaker cheering me on, then a couple of hours later same truck but with group of girls with glowsticks in the back cheering
  • On The Road Again was the first song playing as the crew (NF) turned on radio driving for perhaps his twelfth hour
  • Double puncture for racer RC. I rode us in
  • No food or drink offered as we arrived. Bought ourselves pot noodley things
  • Slept ok
  • Lacking energy completely this morning (Friday). (Like yesterday).
  • Had microsleep and Reese’s peanut butter cups and coffee. Second hour I perked up and blasted it East from Cincinnati
  • Used HRM properly for first time all race – kept cadence high and rate around 137 +/- 2, changing a gear or increasing cadence from 80 for rises/falls
  • Third hour rode well. Overtook a soloist, good climb and descent
  • Gutter shower by a church
  • McDonald’s for lunch (also had one for brekkie)
  • Saturday chaos on the morning… As usual
  • Hilly in Maryland and back into Pennsylvania but racer (RC) and I shared duties
  • Mistaking crew’s (PF’s) camera flash for lightning at night (more sleep deprivation evidence)
  • I am da man! According to the two marshals who did the route change and were pleased that the ‘replacement’ hill was even steeper than the original. They shook my hand
  • The hills were long but manageable. Not too hot. Cooling on the descents.
  • Final fifteen miles- RC and I had final McDonald’s then waited in Odenton car parking lot for hours then four of us rode in
  • Last five miles we had an escort vehicle
  • Interview at the finish line, live broadcast around the world

 

I’m proud of what our team (both racers and crew) achieved, as well as what I achieved personally. I’m also about to post a more detailed post including more thoughts about preparation and logistics, for anyone contemplating the team relay. However, I now run the risk of getting caught up in the past, so it’s time to move forward to future endeavours… Stay tuned!

 

Keep pushing yourself

GeekintheHills

DSC_0017

RAAM: it’s a long way, with some exceptional roads… (Photo by PF, taken in Monument Valley)

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