June 22, 2005 – Team RAAM began yesterday, with the ceremonial start in San Diego at 1 p.m. The strongly fancied team Vail went into an early lead of six minutes at Time Station 1, Pine Gap, Ca. and at TS2, El Centro, Ca, their lead had grown to 11 minutes, with the legendary Kern Wheelmen occupying second place
The Solo category has now had three days of racing, and going into the third night, the specter of sleep deprivation has joined dehydration and general fatigue as the triple threat to all competitors in the 2005 Insight Race Across America. While JurÃ© Robic maintained his lead, growing it to over an hour by checkpoint 15 in Durango, Colorado, the defending champion temporarily ceded his leader”šs position to countryman Marko Beloh the night before at checkpoint 13. After three days of racing, and going into the third night of racing, the specter of sleep deprivation has joined dehydration and general fatigue as the triple threat to all competitors in the 2004 Insight Race Across America. While JurÃ© Robic maintained his lead, growing it to over an hour by checkpoint 15 in Durango, Colorado, the defending champion temporarily ceded his leader’s position to countryman Marko Beloh the night before at checkpoint 13.
With the scorching triple digit temperatures of the Southwest behind them, riders took their first trips into sleep on night two, temporarily reshuffling rider positions. It was the first sleep for Robic and last year’s runner up, Mike Trevino, but Beloh chose not to sleep and took the lead while Robic absorbed some much needed shut-eye. And while dawn broke at just after 6 A.M., revealing the majesty of Monument Valley, the turn into the Four Corners region of Utah brought and unwelcome surprise to the leaders: fearsome shifting winds out of the southeast. The wind, combined with 9,000 feet of climbing in the next 200 miles, played havoc with riders looking for any relief from the blast furnace heat of the opening two days.
Trevino moved steadily forward, shadowed by rookie Chris MacDonald, who admitted he was still trying to get used to the singular rigors of RAAM. Trevino suffered through stomach ailments much of day two, ailments that forced him off the bike while his system equalized itself. But some rest and rehydration brought the former football player back into the frame in Colorado.
Fabio Biasiolo, Pius Achermann, and Valentin Zeller positions five through seven during the third day, with exact placings varying by the due to sleep stops. With the time margins between riders now topping the 24 hour mark, the race is spread across a vast expanse of three states. Worth noting is the ride by Wisconsin’s Dave Haase, who, after a rough bout with dehydration on day one, has moved from 22nd place into 8th.
Cat Berge continues her extraordinary debut at RAAM, remaining near the top-10 through all of day three. Berge stayed thick in a group of six racers within an hour of each other, an incredible feat considering the spaces between riders have been growing over the past 24 hours.
The two-man battle for the 50+ might not seem close, with Bob Breedlove enjoying a five-hour lead over 20-time RAAM finisher Rob Kish. But Kish has forgotten more about finishing RAAM than anyone else will ever know and his measured pace has lulled more than a few fellow racers into a false sense of security.
– MacDonald is taking no chances with his bikes in RAAM. The Seattle native brought four nearly identical Colnago C-50 bikes outfitted with Campagnolo carbon components. Two of the bikes sports full aero-bar set ups for flatter faster sections, while the two others use road bars with clip-ons for climbs.
– What do the racers do for inspiration? Most teams have speakers mounted on their trail vehicles and the music coming out of the spans the spectrum. Pius Achermann’s team blasted vintage rock as dawn broke in Monument Valley, treating the Swiss rider to a full-blast version of Queen’s “žAnother One Bites the Dust”°.
– Durango Cyclists Pay Tribute to RAAM Racers
50 Durango cyclists, including 2004 Olympic mountain bike team member Todd Wells, and 1990 UCI mountain bike world championships organizer Ed Zink, braved a rainstorm to turn out at time station 15, Durango, on June 21 to wish the RAAM riders well and participate in a RAAM-Time Tour.
– RAAM-Time Tours are recreational rides that follow a section of the RAAM course, although in the opposite direction of the race. The idea is for local riders to get on their bikes to support the RAAM competitors and make a ride of it, instead of just standing by the roadside.
– Uttering a few words that said much, longtime Durango resident Ed Zink remarked: “We like RAAM here.”
– Upcoming RAAM-Time Tour locations are: Jefferson City, Mo; Marthasville, Mo; Troy, Oh; Parkersburg, WV; Hanover, Pa. Check this link for detailed information:
2005 A Tough Year
Nobody is complaining, but a lot of the riders are telling us how tough the first couple of days have been. Temperatures well into the hundreds and strong headwinds have extracted a heavy energy toll on many riders. The only one who really seems unaffected is Jure Robic, who at TS 18, Alamosa, Co, was still 0.31 mph faster than at a similar point in last year’s race. At this stage, however, it looks like he is slightly behind record pace.
Zeller Hangs Tough
Day two of hot headwinds left Austria’s Valentin Zeller dehydrated and tired out, according to journalists traveling with him, but we are told he did not let these details color his otherwise rosy view of the race. The friend of three-time RAAM winner Wolfgang Fasching stopped at time station 14, Cortez, Co, for a rest and an intravenous saline solution. According to our informant, these treatments helped immensely and the Austrian soon regained his good humor and fighting spirit, requesting that the forthcoming mountains be brought on now. Seriously, though, Zeller is looking forward to the mountains, which he sees as a welcome change to the monotonous flat of the plains.