Sunday, June 15, 2014

Time Stations 1-3

Alli again! We met down in the parking lot at 8:30 yesterday morning to get all the vans ready to go. I feel like we’ve gotten the vans “ready to go” a lot. There’s a lot that goes into getting them ready that you don’t think about. Anything from getting solar showers up to making sure the pens are in the same spots in both vans. It’s intense!

 We had three vans- one for Troy, one for Bob, and one for the Crew to drive back and forth from hotels with. Troy is finishing up his set-up in his Van.

We made it down to the pier, got last minute things down, and got some photo ops.

Kathy, Bob, Troy, and Lisa
The Whole Team!

Troy Yost, Kelly, Colleen, Chris, Mike, Kathy C, Bob, Troy, Phil, Doug, Kathy, Alli, and Kyle- 

 They started our team off a little after noon- probably around 12:20 or so. They started off with team T201 and just went in order with us at T207.  Here Troy and Bob are at the start!

And off they go!

Here is some of the craziness of the of the start line. These are all teams waiting to be called. There are much more under the pier that we were standing on to take the photo.
 A couple minutes after they were off the starting crew hoping in our vans and went to get ready for the first transition spot. At the beginning of the race only 1 van can follow the riders so Troy's van picked up Bob at the designated spot while Troy took his first pull of the race. I was in Bob's van with Doug and Colleen while Chris and Mike were in Troy's van. We met them at the area we were supposed to and started looking for Troy so Bob could transition.

Back on the other shift were Kyle and Mom- they went through Derek's area and Mom couldn't stop to say hi. Only 3 more months till we see him again!
 On the second or third transition Bob rolled in with a staple in his tire! What a great way to start! Luckily we had some crew members that knew what they were doing. Along with the Crew and Bob we got the wheel back up in no time.

 We were going pretty pretty good through Brawley when we had to stop for gas. The card machines weren’t working and Chris had to jet up to get Troy so he missed the gas station praying that there was one he could stop at between Brawley and Blythe. Something that is pretty cool here in RAAM- at the gas station we ran in to get some ice and water and use the bathroom, I told Colleen to go to the bathroom while I paid. The line went much quicker then we thought and so here I was with 3 ice bags and a jug of water. A man picked up my ice and asked where I wanted it. When I told him I had someone coming so it was okay he told me “Well, Someone else is pumping my gas so I mine as well help you with you ice!”. Even though this is a race everyone is so friendly and cheering for each other. Not only is your crew your RAAM family, but all of the RAAM teams turn into your RAAM family too. This was some long open road going toward Brawley.

After Brawley are some beautiful sand dunes, there is just sand for miles. Unfortunately, because of the sand dunes there is no stopping 20 feet from the road for a good 8-10 miles. Bob was supposed to transition a toward the beginning of that but because there was no stopping/parking we couldn’t stop. Chris finally found a side road that we were able to transition at. We transition and Dad wanted a quit shower so he hoped out and started doing that when we got a call from Chris that we needed to relieve them; they were running out of gas. We were about 60 miles away from Blythe and their van was telling them they only had a little over 40 miles till they ran out of gas. We had a pretty big decision to make- Bob’s van does stop transitions with both riders and they go back to Brawley to get gas, we do stop transitions and they head to Blythe, or we keep going and pray we make it. We decided Bob’s van would do stop transitions and Troy’s van would go up to Blythe and get gas. Just as we made the decision we got stopped by a train that was parked on the tracks. Luckily, Troy and his van were on the other side of the tracks so they could continue the race while we just waited for the train to go by so we could relieve them. We caught up to them just in time to get Troy off the of the bike at the hour mark and off Chris and Mike went to get gas. We only had to do 1 stop transition in the middle and then Chris and Mike made it back with gas and the hotel van to come do our crew change. The country side is so pretty. It was just the moon, us, and some pretty fields waiting for a transition outside of Blythe.
 Here's a photo of the hotel van that the hotel crew took. Unloading and getting ready to try and rest before their 12 hour shift.

The crew transition went really well, only took a few minutes and we were all good to go. Kathy D. drove us over to the hotel just outside of Cottonwood. Luckily, it took us about 5 hours so we all got some good sleep in the car. We pulled up to our hotel and the attendant at the front told us we had a room for tonight and not one for this morning. She didn’t have any rooms to give us, they were booked. Well, crap. Doug, Mike, Kathleen, and Kelly all propped down on the couch so we kind of let her know we weren’t going anywhere and she called the manager and found us a room. We were supposed to have two, but she only had one- we took it anyway. We got two roll away beds and piled in the hotel room. Chris and I both slept pretty well in the van, and after laying in our beds for an hour + we realized we weren’t going to be able to sleep so we are up and at ‘em. We are at breakfast and McDonalds right now with the rest of our crew asleep in the room. Luckily I am the next hotel van driver so I’ll hopefully be able to sleep when we do that transition. Bob and Troy are going really strong. They are looking very good and are in good spirits. It’s fun to see them get into their groove and just ride. You can tell they are just enjoying their race and keeping their eyes on the goal. Little tid bits that I’m not sure where they happened: -Bob got stung by a bee -A 2-man team from Brazil uses the same CB station we do. They call each other Polar Bear and something else that starts with an “S”. Our goal next rotation is to find out what their name is. 

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