Monday, July 20, 2009

Post-RAAM Thoughts & Stuff

* Sometime during the Missouri shift, I got back in the truck after a pull, took in some water and calories, chilled for a bit, then just blurted out towards Matt:


I wasn't pissed or anything - in fact it was the opposite - I was feeling like a million bucks! It's just that all the sudden this thought came to me, and it needed to get out.

Matt and I went on a very philosophical path (I'll leave out the details), and just as we were on the brink of solving all the worlds' problems and figuring out the meaning of life, the voice of our crew chief John, who was in the follow van, apparently right behind us, came through on the walkie-talkie and said:

"Uh guys, you missed your left turn"

Matt and I looked at each other, burst into near uncontrollable laughter, and hammered out a u-turn to get back on track - mentally and logistically!

Probably one of the better conversations I have ever had!

* No, I did not do any of the following:
  • Tracked how many miles I rode
  • How much elevation gain I accumulated
  • What my avg HR was at any point in time
  • Computed an average or normalized power output
  • Counted calories
  • Weighed myself before or after
  • Marked exactly where and when I rode
  • A transition run (ha!)
I like to race on feel. That, and the fact that it's way too much work do all that crap. See a couple bullets down when I talk about the only things we were concerned with and focused on during the race.

But if you must, I have ball park figures:
  • 3,014 miles/8 people = 375
  • 100,000 ft/8 people = 12,500 (Actually, much less since Larry and I didn't do all that much climbing)
  • High (165+)
  • 300W+ (avg)
  • Thousands per shift - pretty much just CHO and sugar.
  • I really could care less about this, but I may have gained a pound or two due to water weight
* Please don't ask the question "How does it compare to an Ironman?". It doesn't in any kind of way.

* Do I want a road bike now? Yup. (I rode my TT bike the entire time)

* We were 4.5 hours/.7 mph faster than last year's team, and came in second to a professional cycling team. The fact that we even led during certain points during the race, and nipped on their heels during others feels really good!

* I don't ever want to look at a Denny's again

* I can't say enough about how anti-climatic the finish was, and this really isn't a bad thing.

* When I think back to all of the states I rode through, I don't think of them as states. For example, Kansas wasn't a state that is part of the US. It was this "thing" or "area" we had to get through. Same with every other "state". It's really hard to describe.

* Everyone is so focused over the course of the week, that it makes the previous bullet point seem not so far fetched. I mean, during a 5 hour shift, the rider is really only concerned with a few things:
  • Do I have a turn coming up on this pull. If so, when, how many, and in what direction?
  • Consume liquid/calories
  • How far into the shift are we? (I mean, how much longer until we are off :) ?)
  • How's the other rider doing
  • About an hour before the shift ended, we would start asking if Greg and Ralph would pick us up on time
Even during our 15 off hours, things weren't lax. We averaged 22+ mph over the "course". Which meant that we had to drive apx. 330 miles during our 15 off hours to make sure we could be in the right general area to take over. Now, driving at 65mph, 330 miles is doable - assuming you can get to a freeway. Since RAAM travels through some rural areas, sometimes you aren't going 65 on a freeway - more like 45mph on some back road.

Things we would have to do during our off shift typically consisted of:
  • You should also get some food shortly after your shift, and if you are lucky, sit down to eat it
  • Call ahead to get a hotel room (this can take multiple iterations)
  • Drive to the hotel right after your shift is done so you aren't playing "catch up" right before your next shif
  • Unpack the truck
  • Shower
  • Get up apx 2 hours before your shift to find out where the current team is, and where they are projected to end up
  • Eat before your shift
  • Prep bottles and/or everything else
  • Get to the projected hand off point, on time
  • Oh yeah, sleep (usually about 3-5 hours)
* Everyone on Monday/Tuesday (after the race) just felt let down. I emailed everyone and was like "Does anyone feel like we didn't just do, what we just did?" There were a lot of "what the hell just happened?", "I feel let down", "Me too!", and "I can't wait until next year!"

* Another BIG thanks to Chuckie for getting me ready for such an event. When we were reviewing some of my power numbers shortly before RAAM, he said "I've never seen this sort of improvement with an athlete, and I've been at this for a while now". I can't say enough about how much of an incredible coach this dude is, and what he did to my cycling (and running!)

* I definitely had some weird/random thoughts at various points in the race - most of which aren't fit for print :)

* As of the time of this blog post, I can count the amount of times I have been on my bike on one hand

* Huge thanks to our crew who were just a ton of fun, and we definitely couldn't have done it without them!

* Does talking about racing my bike across the country get old? Not one bit!

* I definitely want to take more pictures and videos next year! (Wait, did I just say I want to do it again?)


Ulyana said...

I've really enjoyed your posts about RAAM. It's really incredible what you've accomplished. And it doesn't get old to read/listen about this race, so can't wait for more reflections!

MJ said...

Hey buddy.... You're going to get tons of hits on these pages every year from guys (and gals) trying to figure out RAAM.... you pretty much laid it all out - start to finish.

Good reading. I want to do it one day!

Cheers and congrats!

Mary said...

Hi Ryan - good to see you today. Found your blog through Nikees. So cool reading about RAAM. Congrats on an amazing accomplishment!