|Hammering out 350W per pull|
Then we hit a wall. It wasn't a real wall, but I've never felt anything like this before - even having done this shift 2 years prior. I can't remember the exact point, but it was somewhere just east of Brawley. I'm in the middle of a pull in the hot and arid CA desert, and then all the sudden I hit a wall of humidity that I swear started to slow me down. It was the gnarliest thing. It wasn't too long after that I started getting a headache. No amount of salt or water was helping, but whatever.
As we exited the farm country of Brawley, we got into the rolling hills of the desert. Then, out of the blue, the media crew rolled up and it was like the Calvary coming to save the day. For whatever reason, I wasn't as jazzed up on this first shift as in years past, and these guys put me on another level. Chuck, Dave, Connie and Toby all barreled out of the media van, and were posting up all over the place, laughing, cheering and having a TON OF FUN! That's what this is about, right??
|1,000 words - pick yours|
Through the rollers, and I passed the 4Mil second shift bus, and they were all out clapping and cheering me on as I ripped down a descent. To 4Mil - thanks for that - it was pretty cool to see good sportsmanship out there!!
Then, mini-crisis #1 started. Everyone knows RAAM is not easy on equipment, crew members and riders. Oh yeah, it ain't easy on gas either. Out in the middle-of-freaking nowhere, John says "Uh, we're getting low on gas". No cell service, no people, no nothing where we were. Fortunately, out in the middle of nowhere was a gas station. Whew, crisis #1 is out of the way, and laughs were shared.
The rest of the shift was spent battling through a headache that never got better (same thing for Hammer) in the very hot darkness of the desert. We handed off to Hazard and Crossfire about 20 miles before the AZ border (and Hammer handed off $20 b/c of a bet!) and we were off to our hotel in Tuba City, AZ for the most epic shift in all of my RAAM's.
Rough progress made from our first shift from TS2-TS3:
- ViaSat Projected: 27.50mph
- ViaSat Actual: 27.18mph (not as windy as expected)
- 4Mil: 25.88mph
- Strategic Lions: 23.71mph
Total distance covered in 5 hours: 133 miles
To anyone driving or riding that stretch in south western AZ:
|Next 2,500 miles|