Sunday, March 23, 2014

RAAM Simulation

Since 2005 when  my Dad did his first Race Across America, I have always heard about "the craziness of RAAM". The first year he did it, I had no idea what he was really doing and it sounded like a long bike ride with his friends. In 2010 Kyle joined his RAAM journey and crewed for another team from the same charity Team Donate Life and then crewed for my Dad's team in 2012. Fast-forward two years and he is again, crewing for my Dad's 2-man team but this time I get to come with him!

After doing RAAM 5 times and crewing once, my Dad has figured out a lot of ins and outs with the race. One of which is preparing the crew for what they are about to do. We had a "RAAM Simulation Day" to help the crew get in sync with what goes on before we are thrown into it on race day. 

It started out at my parents house in Buckeye where we got the vans ready to go with the flashers and signs that we would need on the race. Phil is our go to really smart handy man who set up all the flashers system and all that jazz. Here he is with my Dad learning how to use the Cardo (a device that allows us to talk to the riders while they are on the bike).

Kyle was excited to be the GoPro Guy.
Troy Hull is the other guy on the 2-man team- super nice guy! He's an endodontist. I didn't know what they meant either- he does root canals. Fun huh?
Simulation Day is all about learning how to do the ins and outs. One of which is the art of the post it note. As you look at your route book (the thing that tells us exactly where to turn to make it across the country) you write the next turns on a post it note and stick it to the dashboard. From what I'm told, it helps with getting irritated when the driver asks you 50 times when and where the next turn will be.
Troy's practicing for his big finish after the race... we remind him it's 3 months and 3,000 miles away!

 The crew is there is to do everything that needs to be done so all the racers have to do is rider. For the 4 and 8 man teams it was a little different, but for the 2-man team each rider has their own van that will carry their stuff and be their "follow" vehicle. The follow vehicle does just that, follows them across the country. Our white mini-van behind Dad is this photo is being the follow vehicle. During the day they don't always have to be following, but most of the time they will be. There will be times when we need to fuel up or eat, but other then that we are cruising the country at around 20 miles an hour. At night, the rider must always be in headlights, so during those hours we will always be following.
The crew in the other van :) We'll see them a lot just like this... through the window, in passing.
With this being a 2-man team the riders will really only see each other in transition. When they do a transition the rider coming out of rest will start pedaling before the rider on the road gets to them- that way they don't lose speed during the transition. Their tires will cross and then the rider coming from rest will take the race and the then the other rider will go get something to eat and some rest. This happens all the way across America. 

 I am so excited to be part of the team this year. We have a lot of family that is going to watch the kiddos so that I can go help with the race. I have been to New York, Hawaii, California, Utah, and Nevada, but no where in between- it will be really fun to see the country and get to help my Dad race his way across the country.

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