The big crew swap out was accomplished pretty quickly about 15 miles east of Durango. Brad, Al, Shagg, and Andy had to depart … leaving only Pete and Oum to help. But Zac, Bill, and Wilson arrived just in time, got 45 minutes of on the fly (ride?) training, and viola!! New crew.
Of course, the training really occurred over the next 12 hours as they powered over Wolf Creek Pass and pushed hard to leave those pesky climbs behind.
If you noticed the leader board, that new crew must have some good juju since Ray is now running fifth in his category, and really left behind the crowd of riders that he played leap frog with yesterday. Good job guys!!!!!
Ride Ray Ride!!!!
Those who marveled at Ray’s diet last year — diet what diet! — may be wondering again about that. Fewer gummy worms, gummy bears, gummy fish, gum, potato chips, and monster drink. Lots of coke, Gatorade, water, and … Wendy’s junior cheeseburgers. Actually only three of them, but all at once and right after the worst riding he did — that stretch with heat exhaustion.
So, apparently the Wendy’s junior cheeseburger (times 3) is the magic option to power Ray for 12 hours and over 150 miles.
Pizza is still good. So is Redbull. But those burgers did what nothing else could.
And so he did. Ride that is. Not stop. Starting at 2pm on Thursday after MANY hours of brutal miles and only a 2 hour nap, Ray decided that riding is faster than stopping. The previous 24 hours were tough mostly due to heat exhaustion, which meant no ability to eat and constant puking urges.
But at 2pm, the animal awoke. And he rode HARD for the next 180 miles without stopping. Those big tailwinds made a difference, but so did the mental toughness to do it, or die trying. So we plowed thru Flagstaff, Tuba City, Kayenta, Monument National Park (in the dark no less!), and Mexican Hat. we stopped at about 3:30am for 2 hours, and then hit it again until 4:45pm when we rolled into Durango!!! I say DURANGO!!! That nemesis of last year.
We know that some watching the leader board thought “oh no, he’s dropping fast!” But did you look lately? The only dropping was the jaws of the riders who saw him blow by them on the downhills, the uphills, and the no hills.
The only ones who could keep up were those in our follow vehicle!
Yes. Riding is faster than stopping.
We asked for tailwinds, cool temps, and downhills … And YOU delivered!!! And BIG TIME! It’s hard to know how hard the wind really was, but let’s just say that Ray was averaging about 40 for much of the mileage out of Flagstaff. And it was cooler, and really downhill. And that, friends, makes for a bunch of very happy RAAM troupers. 🙂
The hammer is down. Ray is on the SHIV and laying waste to the road.
Git er dun!!!
So you might be asking, “where are you guys? The GPS says ready, unknown, blah, blah, blah?” Blah, blah, blah is right. Stinkin GPS!! We don’t need no stinkin GPS!
We have no idea why it wasn’t tracking us, but we were moving nearly that whole time. It seems to be ok now.
But Ray is suffering from the effects of yesterday’s heat. So, we’re spending more time trying to keep him cool, and that’s costing us important time. Making the Durango cutoff by Friday at midnight is no small feat.
Please pray for tailwinds, cool temps, and lots of downhills!!!
One of Ray’s favorite words … EPIC … Always in all caps since that’s how he’d put it. The ride from Prescott to Cottonwood was EPIC for sure. In the middle of the night with a very long climb that took several hours followed by a cheek flapping descent that took only 30 minutes at speeds usually near 40 mph. Yes, one the descent in the dark!
The descent was full of hairpin turns and void of any lights, except those on the car and Ray’s bike. The full moon wasn’t even much help since it was blocked by the tall trees. But Shagg was the master at driving the car 10 ft behind Ray at 40 mph down that mountain. That’s the only way to see the road — using the car headlights.
Ray passed 2 other riders on the downhill, just like on the TDF — blasting past them in a tuck. Fun! Scary!!
We rolled into Cottonwood at about 4:30am, slept for about an hour, and that back on the road toward Flagstaff.
While you slept, Ray was a busy boy. Climbing over 5000 ft toward Prescott, AZ, after a full day of 100 degree temps in the desert, well that is pretty darn gutsy. It’s 10pm here, and the only folks on this road to Prescott are the riders. And they ALL look tired. But better to climb when the temps are down, than to do that in the heat of the day.
At the last timing station they had a portable pool that riders were allowed to “soak” themselves in. Fully clothed in biking gear, we saw several riders just sitting in the pool to cool off. Hmmm. We shoulda done that!!!
Ride Ray Ride!!!
The Glass Elevator is a stretch of road in CA that is about a 10 mile descent like those you see on the Tour de France. Steep declines, hairpin turns, massive drop offs. Scary! And we were in the car!
One of the German riders wiped out on it. Nasty. But he’s one tough dude, since he’s still in the race and doing well. Just beat up.
Ray was flying down that descent. But the wind gusts were HUGE! And we saw his back wheels wobble several times as they blew him sideways.
And then came the desert. With MASSIVE tail winds, Ray was doing 40 mph for much of that, in a tuck riding the SHIV. The SHIV? Yep. His new time trial bike he wanted just for such an occasion. And man was he moving!
From there to here … near Congress AZ, it’s been nothing but flat desert and brutal heat.
For those who know the story of day one last year, you’ll be glad to know that the car battery did not die at the start, there was no stomach bug to fight, no heat cramps, no 25 mile stretch of unpaved road, and NO EXCUSES!!!!
This year is a new year. And Ray put his mark on the ride by pushing a 16 mph average for 22 hours NONSTOP from Oceanside, CA, to Solome, AZ. That’s 350 miles with no sleep, through the mountains and the desert.
If you are tracking the riders, remember that the positions move around a lot in the first few days based of when the riders stop to sleep. Since Ray just napped for 3 hours, we figure to be riding now for another MANY hours and climb back into 3rd position as the others have to stop and get their sleep soon.
Ray is looking very strong. It’s 3pm here now in the desert and 100 degrees. So what! Time to ride!