June 29, 2005 – Here are today’s latest standings of the RAAM:
Anna Catharina Berge put the mountains of West Virginia behind her today at 12:30 when she passed through Time Station #49 at Gormania, WV. At 353.3 miles from the finish, Berge’s estimated arrival time here to Boardwalk Hall is June 30 at approximately 8:30 p.m. Go Cat!
Today under a carwash of rain, second-place Chris MacDonald coasted across the finish line at 12:04 having completed his rookie RAAM in 10 days, 2 hours, 1 minute. THIS JUST IN – Fabio Biasolo arrived just now in RAAM’s sweet spot, when the crowd is the largest and likely the most exuberant: right at the beginning of RAAM’s closing banquet. Biasolo reached the finish at 18:17 with a time of 10 days, 8 hours, 14 minutes. Next to arrive in the Men’s Solo Category, David Haase is on deck to roll in today at approximately 23:15.
Two-person Mixed Division
Within the last 48 hours, Team Endorphins has put more than 100 miles into runner-up Grupo Guapo. Team Endorphins reached through Time Station #51 in Hancock, Md. at 15:45. Endorphins have only 263.1 miles left to go until the finish line. Endorphins and Grupo Guapo have given fans a true virtual spectator event as they have each tried to outpedal the other across the country. At last check, Grupo Guapo last called in from TS #49 in Gormania, WV-14:15. Having ridden already 2698.4 miles, Grupo Guapo has 353.3 miles to go.
Two-person Men’s Division
Team Lower Austria-Krems finished easily in second place at 18:33 on June 28 with a time of 7 days, 1 hours, 17 minutes. A somewhat disappointed Team Crazy Gones accepted second place when they crossed the finish line this morning at 4:59 with a time of 7 days, 11 hours, 43 minutes. (story below) Due in at 6:50 on June 30, Team 60+ will arrive in third place once they cross the finish line. The team of Daniel Crain and Fred Boethling of Team 60+ passed through Time Station #52 in Rouzerville, Pa. at 16:25. They have 214.5 more miles to ride until they finish RAAM.
Four-person Mixed Division
Landis Team Phoenix arrived in second place at 16:38 on June 28 with a time of 6 days, 23 hours, 27 minutes.
Four-person Women’s Division
The Roaring Fork Volvo B2B Divas executed an efficient transcontinental crossing in this year’s RAAM. With three team members returning from last year’s Divas team, The Divas rode a clean race and arrived at the finish line at 17:53 June 28, having crossed the country in 7 days, 42 minutes.
Four-person Men’s Division
The final team in the four-person men’s division, Team Give Life, finished a purposed race with the intention of increasing awareness of the chronic shortage of the U.S. blood supply and encourage the donation of blood, blood products, organs and tissues. Content with achieving their goal, the team crossed the finish line today 7:50 with a time of 7 days, 14 hours, 39 minutes. (story below)
The team without a crew, Team Vern’s Inc. rode in this morning at 3:26 with a time of 7 days, 10 hours, 5 minutes. (story below) At the more respectable hour of 8:33, the final team in the corporate category, Team Dry Heat, finished RAAM in 7 days, 15 hours, 12 minutes.
For up-to-the-moment race progress, visit the “Timestation Info” section on the homepage of www.raceacrossamerica.org
All race times are in EST; stay tuned to www.raceacrossamerica.org for results, race reports and photos.
Giving Back – Team Give Lives Tells You How
By Wendy Booher
Like a police lineup for do-gooders, Team Give Life filed onto the awards stage this morning after crossing the finish line at 7:50. Lurking among this team, Lou Lamoureux, revealed to the audience nothing that gave away his identity as a kidney-transplant patient.
Lamoureux, a gold medallist in the 2002 World Transplant Games, received a kidney from his mother in 2000. Lamoureux and his four-man Team Give Life endured RAAM to finish with a greater purpose of increasing awareness of the chronic shortage of the U.S. blood supply and encourage the donation of blood, blood products, organs and tissues. The race, according to comments from Lamoureux, was secondary to their stated. mission
“I think for 6-7 days we knew we were going up against tough competition,” said Lamoureux, “the important thing was to spread the word about blood, organ and tissue donation.”
Lamoureux pointed out that during a crisis, such as 9/11, Americans came out in droves to give blood but the day-to-day need for blood donation sometimes falls on the shoulders of charitable members of the medical community.
Team Give Life completed RAAM with a time of 7 days, 14 hours, 39 minutes.
By Paul Skilbeck
Crossing the finish line, disappointment was written all over the faces of the first French riders ever to enter the Insight Race Across America. Dominique Briand and Pascal Pechallat rolled into Atlantic City, New Jersey, at 5 a.m., 7 days, 11 hours and 43 minutes after leaving San Diego 3,052 miles ago.
The crack French duo had been favorite to win the Two-Person division, but as is often the case with RAAM rookies, so many things went wrong in their first attempt at this race.
“We had problems with logistics, our team, and our equipment,” explained Pascal Pechellat on Atlantic City’s famous Boardwalk. Pointing to his bicycle seat, which was covered with duct tape and to his rear end, Pechellat added that he had been troubled by saddle sores.
“We are fighters, but it was not enough. This is a very, very big race,” Pechellat went on. He was gracious about the Lower Austria – Krems team, which for much of the race had looked like challenging the average speed record that Pechellat and Briand had come to RAAM hoping to break. “The Austrians were incredible. In Colorado we were separated by only 30 minutes. We tried to catch them, but… it is too difficult to explain in English all the things that happened.”
Searching for perspective, Pechellat commented that their time was respectable, but he added that his goal was to have finished in under seven days. In the tough conditions of the 2005 RAAM, not even the experienced Krems team managed that.
The Briand-Pechallat duo, racing solo or together had distinguished themseleves as front-runners in European competitions such as Paris-Bordeaux, Paris-Brest-Paris, and Race Across The Alps. Yet when it came to RAAM, they agreed that lack of experience in this toughest of the tough races was their undoing. “For the Krems team, it was a lot easier. They have already competed – and won – here in the 4-person competition,” said Pechallat.
The two Frenchmen were also agreed that they do not plan to return to RAAM. “It was too hard finding money, being away from my family and work,” said Pechallat, adding that “We wanted to do well here at our first attempt.” Briand nodded his agreement.
That said, they will keep many positive memories of their experience here. “It is a great race with great participants,” said Pechallat. “The team of Patrick Autissier, which spoke French, helped me a lot with my saddle sores. And I enjoyed riding and talking with Chris MacDonald and Jim Trout. There was a great sense of cameraderie.”
The Vern’s Inc.
By Paul Skilbeck
Rolling across the finish line amid a flurry of wisecracks and giggles, the happiest team in the race, Vern’s Inc., made RAAM history by becoming the first team to make the coast-to-coast crossing without a crew. Well, that’s not quite true: they did have a driver.
Prior to the race, RAAM management had discussed whether or not to permit the team to enter, given that they refused to take on a support crew. It was considered potentially unsafe. In the end a compromise was reached when the team took on the driver.
According to April Guinchard, the team captain, the team was not actually racing at all. Rather, the group of mountain bikers and adventure racers came to RAAM looking for a new challenge. The 3052 miles took the team a respectable 7 days, 10 hours and 5 minutes.
“It was unbelievably easy,” said April Guinchard of the lack of a support crew. “If we had to do it all over again, we’d do it without the driver. Fewer people in the RV would have been better.”
“They were definitely one of the friendliest teams in the race,” commented Colleen Shannon, one of the headquarters staff who spoke with them by telephone at many of the 57 time stations along the route.
High points of the team’s experience, according to Guinchard, were: “The cameraderie. Laughing and sharing stories.” Almost uncharacteristic for a trans-national road trip, there were practically no cross words exchanged along the route. “There were a few minor things, trying to stay on the route, but more fun snipes than anything else. We’ve all been friends for too long to jeopardize that,” Guinchard explained.
Early in the race, team member Mike Pallisco got ill with dehydration and at one point required a hospital visit. For two full days the team rode with only seven riders.
As for the team’s corporate status, it relies on a very loose definition of the term and according to team members, the name is a tribute to the character of a certain Ernest “Hey Vern” Worrell who grabbed viewers’ attention with the catchphrase: “KnowwhutImean?”
In a brief lapse into seriousness, team member Tom Cassidy said of the RAAM crossing: “It was awesome, the experience of a lifetime.”
Soloist Chris MacDonald
By Chris Milliman
It seems an odd thing to dawn on you during a bike race, but with two days left to go in the 2005 Insight Race Across America Chris MacDonald realized he had to race his bike if he wanted to hold onto second place. Suffering from the oppressive Midwest heat wave, MacDonald opted for a strategy of sleeping during the hottest parts of the day, and he ended up sleeping more than his next nearest rival, Italy’s Fabio Biasiolo. Biasiolo used the opportunity to catch and pass MacDonald, putting the 32-year-old American under pressure to race hard.
In a race in which riders are often separated by time zones, two riders passing each other back and forth creates an unusual, and sometimes volatile, situation. MacDonald was forced out of midday break when his crew reported Biasiolo had just sped past, his strategy out the window.
“We had a unique thing going on,” said MacDonald. “We were racing each other and right until the last day we could even see each other. He’s a good bike racer and you could feel that. I expected he was down for the count several times.”
MacDonald finally broke Biasiolo during the penultimate day, putting two hour into the Italian. The margin bulged to over six hours by the time MacDonald crossed the finish in 10 days, 2 hours, 1 minute. MacDonald’s second-place marks a tremendous accomplishment for the first-time RAAM rider, and while he hedged about his intentions to return, he admitted that the lessons learned about the event’s unique style of racing could be key to moving up one spot on the finishing podium.