With our 5 hour "on" / 15 hour "off" schedule, sleep and not rushing are luxuries. We don't know what we did, but somehow got record sleep, AND showed up about 90 minutes early to take over from Jeremy and Andrew (not that we actually took over from them early). So, I played media person #3, and got a few pics of the boys:
Good mix of blurriness and focus - kinda like riding at full throttle:
Snow covered mountains in the background:
We learned that while groups 3 & 4 were on course, them and Team 4Mil were leapfrogging and trading places for hours on end. When Jeremy and Andrew took over, they were behind, but they surprised no one when they made up time on them, and handed it back over to Tobias and I with a 3 minute lead. T and I knew what was up, and knew it was time to throw down and show these rookies how this works.
We had an absolute blast blazing through northern Arizona to the UT border. Our media crew, Michelle Valenti from Active.com, and Desi Klaar, multiple Ironman finisher, joined us for our shift, where we (mostly them) got absolutely killer pics:
Nerds with aero helmets in the car, lax before the shift start:
Accelerating on my first pull:
Long road through the Navajo Reservation:
No need to ask slowtwitch to critique my position ;)
The approach - check out those clouds - gods country out there in the Navajo Indian Reservation:
Rolling up the sleeves (actually, putting on arm warmers) to do work:
Tobias killing it:
Night exchange (7pm is "night" by RAAM rules, even though its still light out):
Towards the of the shift I was feeling like a rock star. I had a long downhill with a tailwind, and was just killin it! A RAAM media van came up next to me and had the camera rolling, and I absolutely dropped the hammer! I approached town so quickly, that Tobias and Dave weren't even ready for the rider exchange. So, they drove up the road to do another one, and again, I was too fast. Tobias did this to me few times too, but there are no hard feelings because it's a great "problem" to have.
I pulled the team across the UT border (yelling "Gimme two!", naturally), and 3 minutes later, I handed off to Kevin and Larry. We put 15 minutes into 4Mil alone on our shift (upping our lead to 18 minutes up on them), and didn't let TT1 put a second into us. Here are the average speeds from the time stations we rode through:
|Mexican Hat, UT||24.34||24.12||24.34|
|Tuba City, AZ||27.08||26.09||27.08|
WE DID WORK, AND WE WERE FIRED UP! There were 3 teams within an hour of each other at this point, and this race was unfolding much better than I could have imagined. I was feeling great, my knee was just as a good, and I was amped to hit the Rockies. BRING IT ON!