Friday, July 2, 2010

A nice tribute to the crew

There's always a ton of great stories on RAAM. One of the best this year was the fantastic 3rd place RAW finish by Terry Lansdell. To finish on the podium was a pretty great accomplishment, but Terry managed to do this without the benefit of a derailleur. In other words, he did it on a fixed gear bike. I don't know who keeps track of records like this, but it should go down as the fastest 860 mile time trial ever on a fixed gear bike. After all, there's only a few of us guys crazy enough to try something like this (especially on what I consider the toughest 3rd of RAAM).

To add drama to the story, Terry's bikes were destroyed on the way to Oceanside. Surfing the net I found a couple really cool videos that tell just how difficult this actually was.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BmDe_cxntU&feature=player_embedded

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=isK8xIbm_Cw&feature=player_embedded#!

Congrats to Terry on a great finish, and also to his crew (only 3 people for 860 miles) for an outstanding performance. By the way, I've often contemplated doing RAAM (or RAW) on a fixed gear bike. I think I'd have a good chance of finishing, but I don't believe that I could match Terry's speed. I did 750 miles fixed at PBP in just under 64 hours, but RAW has more challenges. It still might be fun to try (one day).

One final note: Terry could have got replacements bikes pretty easily (they were everywhere), but it was much more of a challenge for them to find fixed gear bikes (in his size). His whole purpose for doing this race was to set a fixed gear record, and I doubt he would have got nearly as much satisfaction from a geared RAW finish. Also, it must have been quite an adventure to race that far on bikes that he'd never ridden before.


Kevin Kaiser

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Hail to the Crew

So you think you're a pretty tough ultra endurance bicycle racer and you want to try your hand at the Race Across America? Perhaps you've got your budget in line and can afford all the expenses? Well, now you've got to find 7-9 other people who believe in you enough to drop their lives and family for 2 weeks to follow you across the country. Even if you wanted to drive 14mph behind a bicycle for 3,000 miles, how many bosses/wives would let you get away for that long?

Every crew (and racer) that finds a way to persevere through RAAM deserves a lot of credit. I've been lucky to have some great friends crew for me each of the last 3 years on RAAM. It's never been easy to assemble a complete crew, but I've been blessed to always come up with exceptional people. Anyhow, on this year's RAAM my crew has been awarded the highest honor a crew can achieve. It's the Lee "Fuzzy" Mitchell award for the best crew on RAAM 2010.

I want to congratulate all of them for this great honor, and then list a few reason why I believe that they deserve this recognition:

1. For three years running we have had zero penalties on RAAM. We run clean, safe races and don't cut corners. The precedent was set in RAAM 2008 with zero penalties, and the newer crews work hard to make sure that they don't break the trend.

2. We may have played a large role in saving Terry Lansdell's 3rd place fixed gear RAW finish. Phil Cohen on our crew is not only a fun guy, but he knows a thing or two about the bicycle business. Terry's bikes were destroyed on route to Oceanside and Phil helped him get replacements in time for the race.

3. It ultimately did not help, but my crew chief tried to help Mark Pattinson get through Shermer's neck by lending him our neck brace. Mark is probably the most gifted American ultra cyclist of this decade, but he lost control of his neck muscles half way through RAAM. Gator Cochran had fashioned a neck brace for me similar to the one that Allen Larsen used in his 2003 RAAM victory. It was easily adjustable, but not field tested, and in the end Mark didn't feel safe continuing.

4. The biggest accomplishment of my crew was getting me to the finish line successfully and in a very respectable time. I'm a very average rider with average speed, so how can I finish 6th at RAAM amongst all these guys that would kill me on a 24 hour race? It's all about efficiency, and that's all about the crew.

5. My crew was very resourceful when I ran into difficulty in Ohio. I encountered muscle issues I'd never been through before. When the answers weren't apparent, they consulted my coach, cycling friends, and medical doctors to get us back on track.

6. Before ever entering, I followed RAAM for many years by computer and always longed for greater coverage. I had a vision this year of a running blog that actually kept people informed of what was going on behind the time splits. Bejan Abtahi, along with other crew members, kept the best blog in my opinion of any crew on RAAM 2010. There was no sugar coating, and if I was suffering the people following us knew it.

7. This is not uncommon, but my crew was always supportive of the other racers and their teams. I love the camaraderie at RAAM.

I want to thank my fantastic crew for all their hard effort, and also thank the members of my previous crews. I think back, in particular, to a time on RAAM 2009 when I wanted to quit and Chuck convinced me to "just ride a few more miles." If not for that speech I doubt I would have ever finished my first solo RAAM.

Here are the much deserved recipients of the Lee "Fuzzy" Mitchell best crew award: Gator Cochran (crew chief), David Bundrick, Bejan Abtahi, Roger Swanson, Danny Comer, John Weekley, Troy Willard, Phil Cohen, and Erin Cohen. Thank you!

Kevin

Monday, June 28, 2010

Reflections on RAAM 2010

First and foremost, I consider myself very lucky to have had the opportunity to compete in the Race Across America. If it were easy there would certainly be a lot more than 30 solo riders each year. There are several very imposing obstacles, not the least of which is financial. The $15-$20,000 price tag is a huge burden. I would like to thank my parents for leaving me financially stable enough to pursue my dreams, and my wife for letting me tap into those family resources. Over the last few years I've often asked her to curb her spending so I can enter RAAM, and though it seems to be a selfish request, I've met very little resistance.

Another obstacle is obtaining crew support. I ride my bike a lot and love it, but often times long distance cycling is a solitary sport. Also, I'm somewhat reclusive outside of work, so I don't have a million friends. Even if I did have a ton of friends, how many of them would be able to donate 2 weeks of their time to see me across the country? I've been lucky in this regard and have now completed 3 RAAM's with great crew support. A small testament to the quality of my teams is that we've been penalty free 3 years running. I'll look at statistics later, but I think it's safe to say that this is very unusual.

A final obstacle to doing well at RAAM is being in good shape, and I've been very lucky in this regard as well. I can't think of a single injury I've had over the last 10 years that has been significant enough to keep me off the bike. It's possible to train all year for a big race like RAAM and then end up with a cold or flu just before the start, but (knock on wood) I've been lucky.

Solo RAAM in 2010 went very well for me - 6th place overall and top American. It was only a few years ago that I would have been ecstatic to have been the last placed RAAM finisher. To me, everything else is gravy because there is no greater accomplishment (in my mind) than finishing RAAM. For an average guy like myself, it's beyond comprehension that I've been able to finish in the top 20% of the RAAM field over the last two years.

One of my goals for 2010 was to break the 10 day barrier. I trained very hard for this and hoped that experience would make the difference. For 8+ days on RAAM I raced above 300 mile/day pace and had an excellent shot at it, but I did hit a wall in Ohio that ultimately put me behind schedule. Whether it was lack of sleep, lack of protein in my diet, or a caffeine meltdown, my muscles pretty much crashed and told me "no more." With the help of my solid crew, I was able to persevere despite my "muscle mutiny."

1,830 miles into RAAM I was in 3rd place. I was feeling good and even started thinking a little about Gulewicz ahead of me (who was within 90 miles). It was unfamiliar territory for me and somewhat scary to think that I was doing so well this far into the biggest race in the world. I'm certainly not disappointed that I lost a few places after Ohio, but rather excited that I was challenging these guys at all. I understand that this wasn't a race to Camdenton MO, but by the same token I don't believe that you can accidentally appear in 3rd place after 1,800 miles of any race. I think my coaching through John Hughes has paid plenty of dividends through the years, and this is a prime example.

After recovering slightly from my difficulty in Ohio, I decided that a good alternate goal would be to try and beat my time from RAAM 2009. I raced with all that I had left for the finish line, though I didn't cut any corners with sleep. In the end I finished 35 minutes slower than I did the previous year. Perhaps I should be disappointed that I finished slightly slower despite a year of training, but I feel like the 2010 course was a little more difficult. There were 700 miles of different route this year, not the least of which included Wolf Creek Pass, La Veta Pass, and Cuchara Pass. The best way I know to compare is to match same rider results from the previous year:

Jure Robic - about 8d 6h from 2009 and 9d 1h from 2010
Gerhard Gulewicz - 8d 23h from 2009 and 9d 13h from 2010

Another small goal for 2009 might have been to improve on a 5th place finish from 2009. This would have been nice (in particular for Phil Cohen of Chain Reaction, who was supplying me with the absolute best biking technology of our time). However, the high talent level of the other 29 solo entrants makes this extremely difficult. After reading the resumes of these great riders, it's really hard to imagine that I could have finished within the top 20%. I feel fortunate that I had another great finish, and even more fortunate that I probably had some of these top riders looking over their shoulder for awhile.

One of the things I love about RAAM is being mixed in with some of the greatest long distance cyclists of my generation. About 20 miles into RAAM I was passed on a long hill by Jure Robic, and then about 30 seconds later by Mark Pattinson, and then another 30 seconds later by Gerhard Gulewicz. It was pretty cool to see these three guys marking each other on a 3,000 mile race that I was a part of. While these guys would qualify as the best ultra riders in the world, I was also surrounded by those that I would consider the "toughest." This would include riders like Mark Metcalfe and Dex Tooke (both from Texas). These guys dealt with plenty of adversity on their RAAM's but would never give up, at least not until the clock officially ruled them out. For each, this translated to about 2,800 miles. It's interesting, but there's a ton of athletes who DNF long before they reach the minimum cutoff speed. Not these guys.

Another observation I have about RAAM concerns those that man the time stations along the route. Riders get spread out as much as 700 miles throughout the U.S., so having someone available to greet us on our journey can be quite difficult. Many time stations might have a person waiting on a rider for 3-4 hours only to have that rider continue on without stopping. I know because I quite often rode 2-4 time stations without stopping. Anyhow, the reception we get at these time stations is still very well appreciated and is always a highlight after travelling 50-60 miles without seeing anyone. Thanks!

What does the future hold for me? I think I'm due for a 1 year break from RAAM. I would love to race again next year, but financially I need a little downtime to recover from the past couple races. Also, I'm sure my wife might enjoy a little break from racing. As it stands right now, I hope to complete a 3rd Paris-Brest-Paris in 2011, and then if all works well I'll be back at RAAM in 2012.

Kevin

Sunday, June 20, 2010

RAAM Day 10 Photos (click on photo)

10days 17hours 52minutes! First America Finisher!!! Congratulations Kevin!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Taking a nap at Gettysburg.
Attention hikers: Just crossed the AT!!!

RAAM Day 9

RAAM Day 9 Photo Album (click on photo)

Just met a wonderful lady at time station 50 supporting the team from Charlie's Champion Foundation. Very cool, check it out!

IMG00254.jpg

There was a beautiful reddish brown horse that was running alongside Kevin with his nose flaring, mane flowing and of course I was not able to get the shot, so just use your imagination.
Gator
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Distant windmills IMG00255.jpg

I hope you can make out the field of large white windmills in the background.
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IMG00253.jpg

Maryland!
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IMG00252.jpg

Rolling along the Cheat River, a pretty, shallow river with rocks peeking thru the water. Beautiful in the early morning.
Gator
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IMG00248.jpg

Kevin just crested "Friendly Gap" a 5 mile 6% climb with the early morning sun greeting him. Now he begins a 9% descent with hairpin turns. Then he's off to cross Wolf Creek and begin a 3 mile 8% climb to the top of Cheat Mtn. Elev. 2746'.
After that a tease through Maryland, our destination state, before entering the PA. Allegheny Mtns.
Gator
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Friday, June 18, 2010

TS:46 Grafton WV IMG00245.jpg

Kevin leaving TS:46 Grafton WV for a quick run thru Maryland and back into WV. For fun he'll climb a 3 mile 8% grade before he mosey's into Keyser WV.

Gator
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Still Climbing IMG00243.jpg

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Night Climbing IMG00242.jpg

Night climbing in W VA. is much better than day climbing according to some very reliable sources. Bundrick is in heaven with all the descending on this section.
Gator
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Made the exchange at TS 45 in Ellenboro, WV. Having been with Kevin the last 24 hours I can say that he's looking better every minute!

Re: [garandon] W. Virgina

This is some of the hardest climbing on the course. Even after Kevin
finishes West Virginia, there are a lot of steep climbs through the
remainder of the race until the last 50-60 miles. It appears he may
be doing the VW climbs at night, which is good.

Jeff Bauer
Gran Fondo Fixies 2008

On 06/18/2010 07:25 PM, gator@gatorcochran.com wrote:
> As Dave and I wait for our crew exchange in Ellenboro W. Virginia we talk about the climbs to come during the 379 miles left in the race. Looking at Kevins TS reports he has picked up his pace since yesterday and last night. Hopefully the little rests he got will help him thru these last few sections of the course. The terrain to come is the most difficult climbing in RAAM. The altitudes may not reach the Rockies but the climbs are relentless. I can't imagine doing them on a fixie!
> There is more elevation gained in the upcoming section than between any other consecutive time stations anywhere from coast to coast. The toughest being between Cumberland& Hancock all in the Maryland mountains. I personally think Kevins climbing is very smooth and consistent. He gains a lot of ground when he's climbing. We will see what kind of demons the road ahead throws at Kevin. We will do our best to help him prepare.
> Gator
> Sent from my BlackBerry Smartphone provided by Alltel

W. Virgina

Gator,

You guys are doing an awesome job of supporting Kevin. Keep up the good work!

Steve


As Dave and I wait for our crew exchange in Ellenboro W. Virginia we talk about the climbs to come during the 379 miles left in the race. Looking at Kevins TS reports he has picked up his pace since yesterday and last night. Hopefully the little rests he got will help him thru these last few sections of the course. The terrain to come is the most difficult climbing in RAAM. The altitudes may not reach the Rockies but the climbs are relentless. I can't imagine doing them on a fixie!
There is more elevation gained in the upcoming section than between any other consecutive time stations anywhere from coast to coast. The toughest being between Cumberland & Hancock all in the Maryland mountains. I personally think Kevins climbing is very smooth and consistent. He gains a lot of ground when he's climbing. We will see what kind of demons the road ahead throws at Kevin. We will do our best to help him prepare.
Gator
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__._,_.___

Allegheny Mountains IMG00257.jpg

Kevin is now in the Alleghenies. It won't be long before a crew exchange with Troy & John.
More tough climbing today. The toughest and the last major climb is Sideling Hill.
Gator
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IMG00260.jpg

More Allegheny Mtn
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IMG00261.jpg

A local friendly rider sided up to Kevin and struck up a conversation.
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W. Virgina

As Dave and I wait for our crew exchange in Ellenboro W. Virginia we talk about the climbs to come during the 379 miles left in the race. Looking at Kevins TS reports he has picked up his pace since yesterday and last night. Hopefully the little rests he got will help him thru these last few sections of the course. The terrain to come is the most difficult climbing in RAAM. The altitudes may not reach the Rockies but the climbs are relentless. I can't imagine doing them on a fixie!
There is more elevation gained in the upcoming section than between any other consecutive time stations anywhere from coast to coast. The toughest being between Cumberland & Hancock all in the Maryland mountains. I personally think Kevins climbing is very smooth and consistent. He gains a lot of ground when he's climbing. We will see what kind of demons the road ahead throws at Kevin. We will do our best to help him prepare.
Gator
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Update Out of Blanchester, OH

Early this morning around 12:30 am as we rolled out of Blanchester, OH,
Kevin was fighting hard to keep moving. He said that he felt as if he had
no power. He slept for about 6 hours total in three stops between
Blanchester, OH and Chillicothe, OH. Once the daylight hit, Kevin
courageously got back on the bike and started turning the peddles over. He
was struggling. Slowly he made mile after mile. About 7 miles out of
Chillicothe, he wanted to stop again. We pulled off of the road and he laid
down and put his feet up on a cooler. Things were not looking good. After
about 10 minutes, he told us that he felt like he was disappointing us.
Imagine that, this man had ridden his bicycle dang near 2500 miles, and he
was worried about us. At that point, Troy, Bejan, and myself each told him
that we were not disappointed in him, rather the opposite. We told Kevin
that no matter what, we loved him, and that we were there for him. We told
him that we signed on with him till the end, and that we were going to see
him thru this whole ordeal. What happened next was the greatest example of
determination that I have ever witnessed. Kevin hopped on the bicycle, and
he commenced to turn the peddles over once again. However, he seemed to
have a little bit more giddy up in his pace, and the look of determination
as we continued to provide him leap frog support on the tight, twisty road
into and out of Chillicothe. We stayed with Kevin until Londonderry, OH
where Roger and Danny took over for the long haul into Athens, OH and them
West Virginia. We do not know how this will end, but I do know that this
has been one amazing Journey to be a part of, and that Kevin is one heck of
a cyclist, and an awesome person.
s legs.
As you might have noticed Kevin has made a long haul to Chillicothe but that time has involved lots of sleep as we are trying to get the power back in hi
Thank you T421 for encouraging Kevin as you pass!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Brotherly Welcome IMG00240.jpg

What a surprise! Troy called Dave&I several hours before TS:42 Blanchester OH to tell us Chris was there with some friends of Kevin to support and encourage him to ride on. They had a banner with his name and all wanted his autograph. Here are some names for Kevin to remember: Martin Dressman
John, Amy, Stacey and Seth McFadden
Lon Downing
Diane Brener and others who's names I did not get.
I'm sure Kevin was quite surprised and glad to see his brothers face as he approached the station. To top it off the Dressmans opened their house for Kevin to clean himself up and rest for the West Virginia mountains to come.
All these folks have been following Kevin for years.
What way for a tough day to wind up and encourage you to ride on.

Gator
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IMG00241.jpg

Another photo of the welcome Kevin received in Blanchester.
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Fw: Oxford OH IMG00239.jpg

Kevins coach with some encouraging words of wisdom.
------Original Message------
From: John Hughes
To: Martin D.(Gator) Cochran
Subject: Re: Oxford OH IMG00239.jpg
Sent: Jun 17, 2010 7:19 PM

Tell Kevin I approve. Real food! I think O'Keeffe DNFd last time. Don't have my stats, we're in Telluride. And Strebel is a rookie. Kevin can take them both. Bob Gourmet, 2x RAAM winner, told me that if your not on the bike your not moving forward. Tell Kevin he's doing great and poised to move up. I want him to eat those fish sandwiches ON the bike! Lounge chairs are for the crew!

Cheers,
John
sent from my droid

gator@gatorcochran.com wrote:

>Here Kevin is grabbing a fish sandwich, fries and oj at TS:41. The official came over and they had a friendly chat.
>Sent from my BlackBerry Smartphone provided by Alltel

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RAAM Day 8 Photo Album (click on photo)

Hospitality in Blanchester, Ohio



An extreme thanks goes out ton John and Amy McFaddin and Family of Banchester, OH for their incredible generosity and hospitality to Kevin and his crew. As Kevin shifts his focus from his sub 10 day goal to finishing as the top American, these kind people at time station 42 have taken care of Kevin's crew and have offered their home as Kevin is currently taking a 3 hour nap in the McFaddin home. The McFaddin Family embodies the true spirit of RAAM and are the core of why this race is the awe inspiring and humbling event that it is, and the reason why Kevin loves this race so dearly.


Please continue to post your amazing support for Kevin as he races across the Eastern United States towards Annapolis!

Oxford OH

Here Kevin is grabbing a fish sandwich, fries and oj at TS:41. The official came over and they had a friendly chat.
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Kevin!

Gator,
FWIW please tell Kevin that I check the RAAM page everytime I walk past my computer. I may worry now and them if I see him lose some ground but in the long run I have total confidence in him because I know he ALWAYS gives it his best effort. Looks like I may be coaching a high school cross country team this fall and guess what: Kevin and his story will be what I use to inspire those guys.
Mike DeLong




Thanks so much John! Your message really lifted Kevins spirit.
I will add you to the list will all the race moments we report.
Gator


Gator,

Please tell Kevin that I'm following his race closely and I'm very pleased with how he is riding. Smart! He's pacing himself well - among the smoothest splits of anyone.

Yes everything hurts but his hair. It's the same for anyone. Kevin is well positioned, he just needs to keep RACING to the finish

Many, many THANKS to you Ann the crew. What you do is SO important!

Cheers,

__,_._,___

Kevin & RAAM

Here's an inspiring note from a true patriot, Tim Copeland.
Tim thank you for your service and sacrifices that help keep our country safe and enable us to have the freedom to live our lives from those who would do us harm.

Gator


Gator...greetings from Korea. I am in the Army and have been in Korea
for just over a month. Prior to me coming to Korea, I was in Kuwait
for 2 years. I lived in Waldorf, MD for 6 years before that and my
grandmother lives in Annapolis. Anyway, I was in Augusta at Fort
Gordon from August 07-Jan 08 and used to ride my bicycle a lot while
there. I met Phil Cohen at his shop and also met Kevin while there.
I just want to say that what Kevin is doing really gets me pumped up!
While in Kuwait, I was able to ride my bicycle 9500 miles in the 2
years I was there. What Kevin is doing is really incredible and I
really wish that I could be there to cheer him on. I am with him in
spirit and I hardly get sleep just to keep up with his progress. Take
care and I hope to see you and ride with Kevin someday when I am in
Augusta. I will be there for 2 months, but I am not sure when that
will be.

Tim Copeland
US Army, Korea


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OHIO!

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Torturous Rumble Road

5 miles of freshly cut rumble road! For those of lucky enough to have ridden on this type road you know how it feels. We fear to ride on the left because we may get a penalty.
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Greensburg Bobb!

This is Bobb Zimmerman who's here to support the riders and crews. Bobb crewed for his brother-in-law John Buffington in 96. Can you believe the race was held in August that year and started in Irvine Calf. and ended in Savannah, GA. I can only imagine the torture for all.
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Re: Kevin!

Thanks so much John! Your message really lifted Kevins spirit.
I will add you to the list will all the race moments we report.
Gator

Gator,

Please tell Kevin that I'm following his race closely and I'm very pleased with how he is riding. Smart! He's pacing himself well - among the smoothest splits of anyone.

Yes everything hurts but his hair. It's the same for anyone. Kevin is well positioned, he just needs to keep RACING to the finish

Many, many THANKS to you Ann the crew. What you do is SO important!

Please add me to your email update list.

Cheers,
John

RAAM Day 6-7

RAAM Day 6-7 (click on photo)

Thomas Strebel

Kevin will be right at home at TS 41 & 42 in Ohio. Both are at McD.

GO KEVIN GO!

As we left Kevin we passed the Swiss rider Thomas Strebel about 5 miles ahead.
As I'm writing this we just passed the strong French recumbent rider Barbara Buatois currently first place in the womens division, sitting in a chair outside her support van looking well.
We are pulling into TS:40 to be ready for Kevins arrival. Will he be ahead of Strebel? Stay tuned!

Gator

Thomas Strebel

As we left Kevin we passed the Swiss rider Thomas Strebel about 5 miles ahead.
As I'm writing this we just passed the strong French recumbent rider Barbara Buatois currently first place in the womens division, sitting in a chair outside her support van looking well.
We are pulling into TS:40 to be ready for Kevins arrival. Will he be ahead of Strebel? Stay tuned!

Gator
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Good Morning GA Fans!

As you can see Kevin is still on his bike and heading to Greensburg IN where we will have yet another crew exchange. He was alert, smiling and gave us hand slap as he passed. Roger&Danny told us he had a nap around 1 am. He has been eating, drinking and riding well. When asked how he felt Kevin said he had read about another rider that said ever thing on his body hurt except his hair, and he knows exactly how that feels!
Gator
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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Back rollin' with the Kaiser

Don't put too much thought into his long time on the last segment between ts35 and ts36. He slept 4 a solid 3hrs, got a shower, and got fed. Thanks to Dr. Tim, Wendy G., and Tammi P. for their advice on the swelling. Kevin has refused endurolytes the past 2 days because he hasn't been sweating as much and felt the salty foods were enough sodium. We have him alternating between straight water and ensure along with 2 endurolytes per hour. After consulting with Tim he may need some high quality protein so the ensure with soy should help. He's also munching on bananas, oranges, and subs. He's cruising around 15-17mph in the Illinois farmlands.
Roll Kaiser Roll,
Troy

"The race begins @ the Mississippi"

Kevin needed some rest so Gator and David got him just past the Mississippi River for a good 3 hours of sleep, shower, and big breakfast. Bejan, John, and I are have taken over and will have him back on the road once he wakes up. His wrist and feet are a little swollen so I called my sister-in-law, Tammi, who happens to be one of the best PA's in Augusta. I'm headed out to pick up some dipsticks to check Kevin's gravity levels in his urine. Kevin thinks it's some kind of imbalance in his sodium levels but we cannot figure out if it's too much or not enough. Once he wakes up we'll check that, consult with Tammi, and go from there. I think he needs straight water for a little while. He never likes straight water because he thinks it is worthless with no calories present. He has been eating extremely well so calorie intake is not a problem right now.
One thing I'd like to point out to everyone at home keeping up is that he is about a full day ahead of last year's pace. One of the main goals for this year is a sub 10 day finish and he is on his way to that,and even a full 24+ hours ahead. 3rd place has been nice and is still in the crosshairs but being the carrot keeps a lot of pressure on a racer. They say this race doesn't really start until you cross the Mississippi so keep up the support and strap yourselves in for the final few days of this wild ride.
This will give Kevin about 13 hours of rest since we started 6 days and 18 hours ago. Sleep is critical right now and I think we can get back on pace and pass the guys who recently passed Kevin. They haven't gone down for rest recently and as we get closer to the steep mountains in West Virginia the rest is critical. Kevin's performance goes up after sleep and just makes sense right now. He knows this and wants this full 3 hours.
One other thing to consider is that Kevin was a full 8 hours behind Warner-Smith in Durango, CO and once Kevin slayed the Rocky Mountains he was only an hour behind him. He passed him in Kansas. With the Appalachian Mountains just ahead things will get interesting for the whole field of racers. A good balance of sleep can lead to some great performance when we get to the steep climbs of W. Virginia.
Be proud family, friends, and fans because he is the top American in the Race Across America!
keep on keepin' on,
Troy

Fighting Sleep.

The toughest part of RAAM is sleep deprivation. It is a constant struggle mile after mile.
Kevin has been struggling with it especially the last 150 miles. The fog and desolate area he's riding in doesn't lend help with his struggle to continue to pedal productively. Despite all this he is still pedaling toward his goal.
Gator
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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A little rain!

Just as we left Hermann this heavy rain started pounding Kevin as he began the hilly section all the way to Washington, MO.
This section has some "Bundrick Rollers" for the next 20 miles. Just another day in RAAM. The good thing is the very steep "Bundricks" should keep him warm while riding in this evening rain that so far has lasted 45 minutes.
Gator
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Crossing the Missouri again

Kevin leaving Washington MO and crossing the Missouri River again. I would have liked to have seen this long steel bridge in the daylight. The roads are still wet. Its been that way for a while now.
Gator
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Time Station 33

Dave I made the change with Roger and Danny a few miles ago and following Kevin to TS:33&34.

This picture is crossing the wide Missouri River with the sun beginning to set. We made a left to ride thru the riverside German town Hermann, MO. A beautiful town full of German influence. There is a neat B&B on the river that would be nice try on a tour one day.
Gator
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Passing TS:33

Here's Kevin passing TS:33 Jefferson City, MO. with Roger & Danny close behind. He looked alert and aware. It seems the 1.5 hour of sleep has helped. As we leap frogged ahead to Washington, Mo. we spotted Warner-Smith just 10 miles ahead. We relayed the message to Kevin to hopefully motivate him to continue his pressing pace.
Gator
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Bundricks RAAM Interview

While we waiting to cheer Kevin thru TS:33 Jefferson City, MO. the RAAM Media Crew stopped and had a great interview with Dave Bundrick. Using all his southern charm, he gave them a poetic update on Kevin and the fuel that keeps him going. Be sure to watch it on the RAAM website.
Gator
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RAAM Day 4-5

Crazy Shift

Just got in from a crazy 15 hour shift and been up for 24 hours now so this will be brief so we can get up the road for some sleep. Kevin was rolling along quite well last night when we took over 25 miles outside of Yates Center, KS. His knee was hurting so he changed his left shoe and it did the trick along with some Advil. He had some hallucinations going on and I just told him to chase that white rabbit on down the road. Not sure what cartoon characters he saw but he was definitely seeing things going on in the darkness ahead of him. The spies he saw weren't there but there were some non-RAAM vehicles. I fed off that and told him they may just be trying to catch up and to press on. Tom from Heart of the South 500 was parked on the side of the road with a huge Heart of the South banner about 10 miles from Ft. Scott and that pushed Kevin to get there for his rest. As we went across the 2nd bridge near the time station an armadillo ran in between Kevin's wheels and he scrubbed and nearly fell. He has mad handling skills and saved it to head into the time station. When he woke up he didn't really know where he was. I told him he was in 3rd in the Race Across America and he laughed and didn't believe me. He had some issues with his contacts and was having a hard time opening his eye and I finally managed to get his right contact in.
He pressed on to Weaubleau, MO and we had some adversity handed to us. The flint stone along the shoulder stuck our into rear tire on the RAAMinator. We had to make a quick decision, stuck 6 pop tarts, a cell phone, cue sheet, and tools into Kevin's jersey flew up to the time station. I got dropped off, John and Bejan found a tire shop in this tiny town. I waited for Kevin to pass so I could call into RAAM HQ for his time and keep him rolling. We waited on the owner at Double OTT Tire Shop to open up at 8 pm local time and he got the piece of flint stone out, plugged the tire and we were own our way.
In the meantime, Roger and Danny, were on their way to give temporary support if needed. We got to Kevin and he had just gotten a flat tire on the Supersix. We pulled the Synapse down and sent him on his way. We did a crew exchange after that and we are now Camdenton taking showers and about to head up the road. Kevin is exhausted from a real tough night and is heading in to shower, take an hour sleep break and will be back on the road to keep it rolling.
-Troy

RAAM Day 5 Photos (click on photo below)

Six words...thank you double ott pit stop!

Well deserved rest @ TS30

Kevin finally decided to get some sleep after hammering all day. He was
seeing cartoon characters in the road and thought he saw spy vehicles as we got closer to Ft Scott.When I woke him up he didn't know where he was. I told him he was kickin' butt in RAAM and he was 3rd place. He just laughed and didn't believe me.After some complications with his contacts we got him back rolling. Thesynapse electronic dura ace shifting wouldn't work so we got the supersix climbing bike down so he can attack the rollers here in Missouri. About 33 miles from Ts 31 Weaubleau, MO.
Roll Kaiser Roll,
Troy

Monday, June 14, 2010

Time station 29 - 9:34 pm (21:34) eastern time. Yates Center, Kansas. Kevin is still doing work!

On to Mississippi! IMG00216.jpg

Kevin now has a fresh crew that includes Troy, John,
and Bejan. Bejan will takes some nights pics of Kevin and the crew. They will roll along the light rollers throughout the Kansas night on their way to yet another crew exchange in Camdenton where Roger and Danny are patiently waiting. From there we will join Kevin again to see the Mighty Mississippi! In case you forgot he's still on his bike while we all sleep.;)

Gator
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El Dorado IMG00215.jpg

Just past TS 2 El Dorado. This a picture of a Burger King for the Kaiser King. Fuel for champions.
Weather has been great! The crosswinds have been gradually turning into a tailwind. Kevin is tired but, he working thru it. Mentally he is sharp and is reasoning very well.
We decided to change out crews a little earlier so he doesn't stop until he's really really tired. Its really hard for us to believe he's tired by the way he's steadily knocking off the miles. We got a analogy from Mike DeLong earlier that Kevin had just rode the equivalent of back to back 1200Km's under a 60hr pace for each. Is that RAAM qualified or what?! By the way he's the leading American on this world class race. There are racers from all corners of the world racing for their country and themselves. Georgia be proud of this hard working, self sponsored Pharmacist!

Gator
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El Dorado IMG00215.jpg

Just past TS 2 El Dorado. This a picture of a Burger King for the Kaiser King. Fuel for champions.
Weather has been great! The crosswinds have been gradually turning into a tailwind. Kevin is tired but, he working thru it. Mentally he is sharp and is reasoning very well.
We decided to change out crews a little earlier so he doesn't stop until he's really really tired. Its really hard for us to believe he's tired by the way he's steadily knocking off the miles. We got a analogy from Mike DeLong earlier that Kevin had just rode the equivalent of back to back 1200Km's under a 60hr pace for each. Is that RAAM qualified or what?! By the way he's the leading American on this world class race. There are racers from all corners of the world racing for their country and themselves. Georgia be proud of this hard working, self sponsored Pharmacist!

Gator
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True RAAM RacerIMG00212.jpg

Kevin being the true RAAM racer he is. This is a picture of him handing back the spray sun screen he put on himself so he would not have to stop pedaling.
There are 2 chases going on here, Kevin hunting Gulewicz and Kevin being hunted by Pattinson and Warner-Smith, oh yea and the rest of the racers!
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Time station 27 Maise, KS 14:58 race time (eastern) 3rd place. Applying sunscreen on bike because; "If I stop I get caught."

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Good Morning to Everyone from Durango! This picture was taken just before Kevin came into TS:15 in Durango. Kevin slept there for 1.5 hrs. I believe he's 16 plus hours ahead of the first cut off. Awesome! He ate Mickey D's big breakfast and a parfait. He's alert and wanting to ride. He's having the pains you would think a person would have after riding 857 miles on some the roughest roads in America. He dealing with it with the kind of humble attitude the Kaiser is known for.

Gator
(sorry for the late post)
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IMG00184.jpg

It started raining at 3:00pm just perfect timing for Kevin to finally get some rest. With only 3.5 hours of mostly small 15 min. naps and one 1.5 hour sleep cycle, its time for Z's.
The crew thought briefly about exploring the cave in the pic but, decided there were way to many thorny bushes and possible snakes to navigate around.

Gator
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IMG00184.jpg

It started raining at 3:00pm just perfect timing for Kevin to finally get some rest. With only 3.5 hours of mostly small 15 min. naps and one 1.5 hour sleep cycle, its time for Z's.
The crew thought briefly about exploring the cave in the pic but, decided there were way to many thorny bushes and possible snakes to navigate around.

Gator
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IMG00186.jpg

While scouting around while Kevin is resting I came across this skull and shoe. I believe it belonged to a horse. If anyone can identify what kind it is post it on the blog. I'm keeping the shoe, I'm sure it means good luck!

Gator
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Just pasted Mark Pattinson!

Kevin just past one of his good friends Mark Pattinson who may be suffering from Shermers neck. This should place Kevin in 3rd place when we get to TS:27 Maize KS. Passing Mark was an epic moment for Kevin. Kevin has the utmost respect and admiration for Mark and is extremely pleased to be racing along side Mark at this point of the race. This moment is most definitely inspiring Kevin to Race on! Photo's to come tonight.
Also these short daily posts that I was sending a few days ago have been backing up somewhere in the Net World. The next few posts will be from last few days.
Gator
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Update

Troy and I left Pratt, KS to get to our next switch point and we passed
Kevin, then Mark Pattison only 6 miles ahead of Kevin.

John

in elevators till Wichita, KS .
Also we've hit the halfway mark (1502.5 miles) in 4 days and 20 hours! Although we're not even counting miles anymore but it should be about 25 more gra
The name on this water tower is Cunningham, KS. Kevin just passed Matthew Warner Smith for 4th place! Post your support!

RAAM Day 4

RAAM Day 4 Photos (click on photo)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Update

Troy and I picked Kevin up in Trinidad, CO around 11:30 am race time. Kevin passed about 4 people today. He passed Julian Saanz, Rob Morlock, and a couple others. He is currently in 5th. We got Kevin into Ulysses, KS. He stayed fueled up on a McDonald's big breakfast, 2 egg mcmuffins, pop tarts, grape soda (crush, which is exactly what Kevin did today, he crushed it!)and vault (he loves this stuff). We go back on shift in Yates Center, KS. Please leave comments, we read them to Kevin to keep him motivated, and he likes to hear from everyone.

John

The Hallucinations Begin !!!

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Amy Xu leaving the South Fork TS
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IMG00210.jpg

Sabrina Bianchi leaving South Fork, CO.
Do you hear the mountains calling you Wendy? Or is RAAM?

Gator
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IMG00205.jpg

Just past Wolf Creek summit.
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Saturday, June 12, 2010

RAAM Days 2-3

RAAM Day 3 Photos ( click on photo)

Update

Troy and I got Kevin thru Utah and into Colorado. We rolled into Durango
around 6:45 local time. Kevin did really well thru Utah and over to
Durango, CO. He slept for about 15 minutes about 23 miles from Durango. He
dealt with the cold and an annoying drizzle. He is going to sleep for about
1 hour and 30 min before heading out again.

John

RAAM Day 2 Photo Album (click on photo)

Cortez

"The Creeper" rolled thru Cortez @ 4:25am EST and we are rocking' XM Hair
Nation, Guns N Roses and keeping' his motor running to Durango! He even
joked around and said don't fear the creeper earlier.
Rock on,
Troy from John's phone

Friday, June 11, 2010

IMG00182.jpg

Closing in Kayenta, AZ. Monument Valley is about 40 miles away.
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IMG00198.jpg

The San Juan River in Mexican Hat Utah TS:11
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IMG00196.jpg

My hero Dave Bundrick and myself entering Utah, just after a Crew exchange with Troy and John.
Kevin is energized and eating well. He has picked his speed up a little with the help of a tail wind. It will be cold tonight and more nasty climbs ahead.
Gator
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