Saturday, noon – Oceanside CA
Race day is finally here and we have a few hours to get ready and give you and update on the last couple of days.
Thursday night – our last chance to party hard before the race as we will all be going to bed early on Friday. We of course hit our “base camp” from last year – the Haunted Head Saloon, where the crowd tends to be a mix of Marines, surfers, bikers (the Harley kind), all with a lot of tattoos, but not many of the shaved leg and spandex crowd. After a few rounds of Jagermeister, beer and fussball we managed to fit right in. You will see some Haunted Head t-shirts back in Atlanta.
Friday – it all came together: photo sessions, paperwork, jersey fittings, official meetings, team meeting, even a chance to go for a warm up ride…
It’s fun to see the teams from all over the world. At the registration and team meetings you catch them eyeing each other, sizing up the competition. It is most intense among the under 50 teams, but even the old guys are pretty competitive. There are even 2 teams in the 60-69 age group. We;ve talked a good bit with Charlie, crew chief for team Equipe Schwarz from Germany. They are entered in our 50-59 bracket. Jerome is worried that his spying on us, but we sold him a GCG jersey so we are happy to share what expertise we have. Charlie told Jerome he bought him a special t-shirt – one with tombstones on it. Jerome replied that we’ll be waiting for him at the finish to receive it.
Co-chief Dave Payne has done an amazing job tuning up the bikes. They are all in top shape. He even managed to get Dave Armento’s machines looking almost new. From what we can tell neither had been cleaned since RAAM 2009.
Tony of course is obsessing over every detail. He and Jerome built out the Follow Van with a sleeping platform, speaker system that can plug into any iPod, full wiring for the lighting system and plugs for the many devices we have to charge and keep running along the way. It is amazing how many electronic devices we seem to need these days – iPod, iPhones, iPads, Blackberry’s, cell phones, laptops, GPS devices, bike computers
By Friday at 5pm we finally had all our crew together with the team for the first time – ever. We attended the full teams meeting down at the Pier and then held our first all hands meeting while eating around the pool in the evening. We riders are extremely lucky to have such a skilled and dedicated crew. Many thanks to Warren, Jane and Dave Payne for pulling these folks together. Besides being incredibly committed to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and its mission, they each bring unique skills to the team – computer and navigation experts, two massage therapists, bike mechanics, vehicle mainenance, and most of all, a willingness to take on what has been called the “most horrible job you’ll ever love.” They don’t know it yet, but they are in for one of the great adventures of their lives.