Monday, June 01, 2009

Team ViaSat and Race Strategy

The second most commonly asked question I am asked after people hear word that I am doing RAAM is something to the effect of "So, how does it all work?" (or something to that effect. The first question is normally "Are you crazy?").

Here is how Team ViaSat rolls (Sorry, I couldn't resist):

We have an 8 person team that we split into 4 2-person groups. The group breakdown is:
  • Group1:Ken (Team Captain) and Jeremy
  • Group2: Tobias and Andrew
  • Group3: Larry and I
  • Group4: Greg and Ralph
Each group is "on" for 5 hours, and "off" for 15 hours. So, Group1 will ride for 5 hours, and group2 starts where Group1 finishes, and so on.

When a group is "on", each rider only rides for 20 minutes at at time, and the riders leap frog each other with the help of a car. Here is an example breakdown:
  • Larry starts our 5 hour on period after Tobias and Andrew finish
  • I am waiting up the road apx. 20 minutes from Larry starts
  • As Larry approaches, I start pedaling and get up to speed
  • The "handoff" is when we cross wheels
  • I then take over riding for 20 minutes
  • After the handoff, Larry gets off of his bike, racks his bike onto the SUV, and drives up the road apx. 20 minutes from where we handed off
  • Lather, rinse and repeat
The theory is that a cyclist can go very hard for 20 minutes, and recover quickly enough to go again shortly. This will be the fourth year we will employ this strategy. Each team is free to choose whichever strategy they want, so long as it is within the rules of the race.

As you can imagine, coordination, logistics, communication, and knowledge of the course are of absolute importance when determining when and where riders will finish - at the end of each leg, and each 20 minute interval. Meanwhile, there is a follow vehicle following the rider at all times. This is the cool part since we broadcast our race through a satellite uplink (an advantage to working for a satellite communication company), which I will give links to in the future.

Start time is 2pm on 20JUN09 at Oceanside Pier, with Team Introductions at 1pm (including Laird Hamilton doing it as part of a 4 person team!), with the team send off at 2pm!

More info to come soon...


MJ said...

Sweet. It sounds a bit hectic with only 20mins between switchovers but I guess you guys have worked out the kinks.

Awesome for us that you'll be all hooked up with the satellite coverage...

Coming up pretty quick - exciting!

Jeff said...

Champ!! 15 pulls for each 5 hour set? Sick!!

Nikee Pomper said...

It's been WAY to long! Let's get together soon and catch up. Are you doing any ocean swims?

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patrickcowgilldrain said...

It's kind of like a five-hour watch on the ship, only a lot harder. Thanks for the explanation, because I, too, had no idea how this race worked. You're going to do really well out there, Denner!

- Pat

Chuckie V said...

Wouldn't 21 minutes be better, sort of like 6 Minute Abs?