Monday, December 25, 2017

2017  was an interesting year for me and the team.  In mid-February, I flew to San Antonio and helped my friend Tim Barrow, a teammate from RAAM as well as Furnace Creek 508 and SoCall  Challenge in 2014.  Time was driving his "souped-up" van to mid-Florida for the Sebring 12/24 Championships. This would be my 3rd Sebring in a row and a great way to start the new season. Unfortunately, the weather in Northern California had been terrible and I wasn't able to get the proper amount of training in. I arrived in San Antonio a few days early and Tim and I redied the van and worked on putting my bike together after the flight.

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The Van
The drive out was for the most part, without any drama although Tim did freak me out when we stopped at a rest stop in Louisana and pulled a pistol out from under the seat. He walked into the facilities carrying it in his pocket. Didn't realize that that part of Louisana was that "sketchy"! We did manage to arrive at Sebring safely.
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Mother Ship (motorhome)

The race itself went well enough. I had signed up for the 24 hours and Tim and Dan Rocco were doing the 12. After they finished their stint they became my support crew. After 15 hours I decided I had enough (again not having been able to train as much as I would have liked)! I wound up with 174 miles, plus an additional ten or so due to missing a turn and getting lost. I did take 1st place though in the Men's 70+ Standard bike non-drafting category.

Tim and I drove home after the race, uneventful as the trip out. I flew home from San Antonio.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Ruminations about my "meetup" with a Semi in Arizona

I hate to beat on a dead horse but a FB "friend" of mine is thinking abt giving up on ultra distance cycling due to his recent injury. In light of that I'm going to post some photos from my accident in 2011 where I was hit by a semi along highway 160 out of Tuba City AZ during the Race Across America!!

 I'm not trying to shock anyone here but offer some evidence that even after a terrible, near death accident one can successfully return to cycling and have fun, Never give up on your dreams!

Recent Newspaper Article here in Amador County

slideshow/RAAM 2015


Cyclonauts crew 2014-2015

Adventures" was given the credit they are due. Without their sacrifice we would not have done any of the events shown here on theses pages. Thanks one and all!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Race Across America 2015

  In June my self and Steve Sussmann, Brian Martin & Tim Skipper rode in the famed Race Across America.  The race starts in Oceanside CA., and finishes in Annapolis, Maryland, a cross country trip of over 3000 miles.

Me on one of my 30 minute "pulls" wearing my Valley Spokesman Race Team Jersey!


Just Crossing the Finish Line

 Awards Ceremony/Team Cyclonauts 1st Place 60+ Men Category
!st Place Trophy and Finishers Medal

Finish Line

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Race Across America Challenge 400, Oceanside Ca. on May 1 - 2

Race Across America Challenge 400, Oceanside Ca. on May 1 - 2

Course Profile with about 24,000 feet of climbing!

In preparation for the "main event", Race Across America, on 20 June 2015 our team decided to ride the RAAM Challenge 400 as practice for the crew & 1st time that some of us had ridden together. I arrived in Oceanside on the Thursday before the race with my teammate Don Williams (we are on the Valley Spokesman Race Team), Lowell "SKip" Morgan, (my teammate from RAAM in 2006 and several Furnace Creek 508 races) and a new member to our team, Ray Porto who lives near me in Jackson Ca.

Ray Driving Tim Skippers Van. He called his buddy Rod, otherwise known as "hotrod" to join him in helping out as support crew.   

After driving into the hotel parking lot on Thur. night we the smell of gasoline was very strong. We looked all over but couldn't find any sign of fuel on the ground.  Next morning upon inspection we saw a wet spot on the bottom of the fuel tank. I didn't feel as though we should go ahead and leave it that way so I drove around Oceanside until I found a shop that could take a look, a Midas Muffle shop. The inspection indicated that somehow the fuel pump and associated hose were leaking...not good, but the shop was able to find the parts and repair the leak. $670 later we were on the road and barely made it to the required vehicle & bike inspections for the race.

Our Crew Chief, Tim Barrow enjoying his rest time. Time did a great job, especially in light of the fact that we were so shorthanded having only 3 crew. Tim drove my van along with myself & Don Williams. Since we were short Don & I helped out driving. I think Tim managed 1 hour of rest in almost 30 hours.
Unfortunately the team wasn't able to do much but rest & maybe watch a little TV. Most of the van preparation had been done beforehand so we passed the inspections easily that to our RAAM official friends.

I was up at 0230 on Sat. morning to get the van & myself ready. Having hit the bed @ 10 mad for a short night of sleep but I felt good. Don was up not long after me, then the rest. We loaded up the vans & headed to a Denny's close by for coffee, some ate breakfast but I stuck to my normal routine of Ensure.

We arrived @ the start around 0430, in the dark & I park the follow vehicle in the line while Tim Skipper got ready to go. Our rider order was Tim, Don, Lowell then me. At 0500 we started and headed on what is mostly the RAAM route until we get to the base of Mt. Palomar. I've always ridden by it on RAAM so this was my and everyone's chance to do it. We had lots of company as there were quite a few local riders out there as well.

We made it to the 1st time station in good time, a little over 5 hrs, which considering all the climbing wasn't to bad. As we had 2 "rookie" crew we were training them as well......getting lost a few times as the instruction sheets were not as good as those on RAAM.

After Henshaw we were off to Borrego & down the glass elevator, always a thrilling ride & Tim had the honors although Lowell decided he was going as well @ the same time).....go figure!
The view into the Valley is really spectacular                 

 Time station 2 was in Borrego Spring/Palm Canyon and we made it there quickly, just a few hours after riding  through the Montezuma Valley towards Palm Canyon, 90.1 miles in. Did I say it was HOT....temps hovered near 100!

After Borrego Spring we traveled along the Borrego Salton Seaway.....fancy name for a old, rough highway and arrived @ Time Statio 3, which was located at the Northern End of the lake. Traffic along California State Hiway 86 wasn't great but the shoulder was wide.

Don riding along the Salton Sea. Unfortunately we had what appeared head & side winds most of the time when we should have had some good tail winds and fast times. Did I say it was HOT!
The "Old Man" cruising on the Cervelo P3C on East side of the Salton Sea.

After some long "pulls" in the heat we arrived at Time Station 4, a mini-mart in Niland, a lonley looking small "town" near the bottom of the lake. 184.5 miles in, almost halfway. Refilled all the water jugs & crew grabbed some snacks.

On the way to Time Station we wandered thru the desert area at the South end of the lake on State hiway 111 & 78, not much out there but it was cooling off a bit as it was about 4 PM when we rolled into or near the Glamis Beach Store (not by any beach that I could see). We were about 16 hours into the race and still feeling good. We had still be changing riders every 30 minutes but the heat was taking it's toll!

Did I mentioned the San Storm? Before we reached the Beach Store we we stopped by local RAAM Officials & high winds from the side, very high winds. I had the honor of taking that section of the route on my Cervelo TT bike with it's deep dish Bontrager stuff. For some reason I was unable to find my clear glasses so I was struggling with sand in my eyes (ears, nose mouth....everywhere)! Once I unclipped a foot as I thought I was going to fall as I rode thru some deep sand. There was also a "snow" removal truck on the road (my side) trying to remove the sand, but I managed to miss it (I have a real "thing" about trucks as some of you may know!

My "meet up" @ RAAM in 2011. Note the broken fender, missing head lite ring & dent in the air cleaner
It was dark now and we were approaching Time Station 6 @ mile 264.4 and Tim Skipper decided it was time to feed the riders & Crew real food so a bunch of pizzas were ordered from a local Dominoe's in Brawley. Tim rode ahead with his van and we in my van tried to find not only the time station but Dominoe's. Took a while and we messed up our mileage setup but did find the food. We later hooked up and spread the pizza. Beer would have been nice but not yet!  After heading out o Brawley we passed a US Border Patrol check point but they just waved us through. Then it was time to head back to Lake Henshaw via Highway 78 which would take is to Time Station 7 and into more climbing ultimately reaching 4207 foot pass into Santa Ysabel. The climbs were tiring at this point!

We arrived back at Lake Henshaw in the dark or was it early morning, I don't remember. We were 26 Hours & 351.2 miles in and time was getting short if we were to have an official finish. We still had a lot of climbing to do, short rollers mostly but steep so right before Cole Grade I decided we should shorten our "pulls" to 15 minutes. As we got closer I "volunteered Tim Skipper & Don Williams (the young guns on the team & riding bikes with good climbing gears)to ride very short "pulls"....1/2 mile to attack the climbs. I drove the van with the side door open and Tim Barrow would jump out and make the bike/rider changes. Tim & Don were awesome....I knew they were tired but they came through like "champs" and we were able to make it to the finish with 1 1/2 hr to spare.

All in all it was a good training ride/team practice....wished we had had more crew but we are planning another short training session probably in Solvan in 3 weeks or so. Here our my guys......
Ray & Rod in Tim's Ford Van

Tim Skipper on one of his last "pulls"

Tim Barrow was our venerable crew chief for the race. He didn't ride & this photo is from a Furnace Creek 508 where he learned all about climbing California hills!

Skip Morgan. This photo is from the Silver State 508 where we were teammates in a 4X team last October.

Don Williams, climbing up Mt. Palomar

Final time 30:23:04 With more crew we would have been much faster but we DID win the old man division! HA!