Well to say the least the RAAM training weekend was a great success! All four riders finished the mileage, no one was injured and fitness is at the level we were expecting for each rider or slightly above where it was expected. Leading into this weekend, to make things a little more interesting, we put a little wager on Friday and Saturday’s ride. The two man winning team from the weekend has the privilege of receiving a bike cleaning from the 2 losing riders. So with something on the line we were off for 3 days of riding.
Friday night consisted of a 20k TT. We fell into line randomly and left in one minute intervals. With a little bit of peer pressure(mostly from Halsey, persuasive bastard! :)) I ended up on a TT bike that I had never ridden and only had about 10 minutes to setup. In the end it was not that big of a deal and I still ended up with the second fastest time of the four of us. Jamey put down a blistering second half of his TT and made it evident that he was the strong man for the weekend. Austin and Halsey both had very strong rides and were not to far off the pace. With the TT over we calculated up that Jamey and Austin would have a minute head start on Saturday and then we went to hang out talk logistics and eat some great dinner with our crew and families. Calling it a short night we headed home and began to prepare for the next day.
Saturday morning came earlier than I had hoped for. The sky was still pitch black as I loaded up the truck and headed to our starting point for the morning. This day was set up to mimic what RAAM will be like. Each two man team had a follow vehicle and each rider did 30 minute rotations. I chose to stay on the road bike all day long, since I had not put in miles on it before, and Halsey decided to take his aerobars off of his bike. I think in the end that was the downfall to our day. As we approached the gulf towards the end of the day there was a constant wind funneling through the trees and battering us and I believe that being in a more aerodynamic position. Either way… at the end of the day Halsey and I lost a great deal of ground and ended up the losers on the day. So, that means that the guys will be receiving bike cleanings very shortly. With Fatigued legs we all headed to Jamey’s house, where Heidi (his wife) made us an amazing meal! After an hour of story telling and trying to stay awake we departed too get some rest and spend some time with family. Driving home I was struggling to keep my eyes open after a long day of riding but I came home to a quiet house, since Janelle and Katelyn were out, and had my second dinner of the evening and rested and relaxed until it was time to go too sleep.
Sunday morning was tough getting out of bed at 5am but I was amazed at how fresh the legs still felt. Our ride Sunday consisted of a group effort over 100miles under gray cloudy skies and damp chilly conditions. Steve B. joined us on the bike that day after graciously sitting in the follow vehicle all day on Saturday and none of us were complaining to have an extra rider to do some work. It took me 15-20minutes to get the legs loosened up but once they were warmed up I felt like I was firing on all cylinders. The group hung tough through the 80mile mark and then riders began to come apart at the seams. Jamey went to the front with a monster pull and the groans in the group were audible to say the least. Steve’s fresh legs continued the high tempo effort on the climbs and we finished off a great day and an awesome weekend of riding!
This weekend would not have been possible without our wonderful crew of drivers and I thank you all: Jeff Johnson, Lance Hart & Steve Barraco. You guys were Rock Stars and we appreciate you not running us over more than anything!