Our Race Across AMerica adventure is less than four weeks away!

May 19, 2010

We had a lot of fun training this past weekend. On Saturday, we hit the Silver Comet Trail, starting at mile zero in Smyrna, then riding to the Alabama border at mile 62 and back to mile zero. The hardy Sam Maguire stuck with the team the whole way. That’s Dave, Frank, Mark and Jerome in the photo to the left. On Sunday, we rode the Atkins Park to Atkins Park brunch ride with many supporters – all proceeds going into our fundraising efforts. For good measure, and to make sure we got in at least 180 miles in this weekend, we added another 30 miles wherever any of us could fit it in.

For the next 3 weeks we will be squeezing in as much riding as possible before we taper off the week before the race. All our bikes go on the RV for transport out to Oceanside on June 3rd, so we will be on spin bikes that last week before the race.

All the riders seem to be on track with our fitness and conditioning. We are just trying to top it off, stay healthy and avoid getting burned out by overtraining. At this point, we are about as ready as we will be by race time. Everyone has about had it with the training and all are eager for the race to start. Our patient and indulgent families feel the same way.

The list of racers and teams entering RAAM this year is now about complete. There are 30 solo riders, 12 8-person teams and 25 4-person teams. They come from 17 different countries on 6 continents! It is truly an international event and one of the things that makes the race so interesting – especially the parties at the beginning and end of the race!

The team and crew are also especially busy with our fundraising. Have you heard from one of us? Let us know if you haven’t (gachaingang@mindspring.com) and we will be sure to have one of our intrepid crew give you a call! Consider sponsoring a mile for $10 each and let us know to whom you would like to dedicate it. We’ll list their names in future enewsletters.

If you are in the Atlanta area, join us for the Atlanta Classics Bar Tour on Saturday, May 29th.

Race start is now just 5 weeks away!

May 6, 2010

Some of the team rode the Tour de Cashiers in North Carolina last weekend. It was a beautiful and epic ride: 100 miles, 10,700 feet – what more can you ask for? While the entire RAAM route has about 100,000′ of total climbing, much of it is concentrated in the Rockies and the Alleghenies, so there will be days of intensive climbing, as well as days when the total ascent will be near zero or even negative (hello Kansas!).

How do we figure out how much training we need to do? We take tips from the two greatest bike racers of all time. The first of these is of course Lance Armstrong. Inspiration to millions worldwide – everyone knows his incredible story. Many of you may also know something about his obsessively detailed and scientific approach to training, employing a small army of coaches, trainers, nutritionists and advisors who measure and monitor all the key fitness indicators like Threshold Power, VO2 Max, Lactate Threshold, etc.

 At the other end of the spectrum is Eddy Merckx, the legendary Belgian who raced a generation before Lance. He not only won the Tour de France five times, but entered, and won an amazingly high percentage of, all the big races, including holding the one hour world record. His nickname was the Cannibal. Eddy’s response when asked about his training methods was simple: “RIDE ALOT.” Our approach is closer to Eddy’s than it is to Lance’s. Basically we ride whenever we can carve out time from families and jobs, leaving just enough time for sleeping and eating.

There is almost as much logistical planning as training going on as well. One of the most important support systems is our music system.

On the road sound system

As you can see from the attached photo we will have a pretty powerful speaker system. Note that this was version 2 from last year as version 1 blew off on its first test drive. Being long-time denizens of the ATS Spin Facility (aka The Pain Cave), we are trained liked Pavlov’s dogs to respond to music while pedaling. It is incumbent on each rider to put together his own Playlist. Anyone who doesn’t will be subjected to the default music – it’s a genre that can only be described as shouting-dirty-lyrics-set-to-noise-with-a-beat. Helmets off to Tony for knowing how to shock us awake at 5am in the gym, but 7 days of it would be too much.

Fundraising continues rapidly. The current total is about $60,000. This is well above last year at this time, but we are also committed to doubling last year’s amount. Help us get to $100,000 by race start and we think we will be on track to reach our eventual goal of $160,000! If you haven’t stepped up, please do it now!