Day 4 – Finally knocking out Kansas and hammering through Missouri. Mile 1850!
We handed the baton to the night shift Tuesday evening with mixed feelings. The crosswinds had just battered us for 7-8 hours and it was not subsiding at all – so we know what Tony, Jerome, Dave and Lisa had in store for them. At the same time we were spent and very happy to get off our bikes.
It turned out that it kept blowing at 30+ until the wee hours of this morning and beat up the night riders as much as it did the day shift. We caught up with them about on the side of the road about 5am still 100 miles from the border with Missouri. Fortunately the wind had died down enough by then to allow us to put all our effort back into moving forward and not into struggling to stay upright. As we crossed over into the Show Me State the flatlands of Kansas began to give way to the rolling hills of the Ozarks. This is another beautiful part of the country with picturesque farms everywhere. We were able to keep up a good 19-20 mph pace throughout the day and thus keep our overall speed from the start to 19+.
When we turned the reins over to Tony and the gang they were determined to kick that up a notch, check off Missouri on our list of conquered states and head into Illinois for an early Thurs morning transition somewhere beyond Greeneville.
As you may have gathered there is a bit of a friendly rivalry between the day and night shifts. Jerome in particular wants to make sure he kicks my a** every day with a faster pace. Must be that Bulldog in him (we have 3 Jackets on the team). But that is just to lighten things up and keep everything fun and in the right perspective. On a more serious side we do have our eye on several teams that we have been close with us throughout the race, including our cross-town friends and rivals on the Shepherd Spinal Clinic team. There are several Canadian teams that we have been neck and neck with from the beginning. We plan to pull out our secret final day race tactics to make some improvements in the standings.
Our hats off to the 8-kid Believe & Achieve team who are keeping up a 20mph pace. The oldest rider on team is 17 (and a RAAM veteran) and the youngest is 14! Very impressive.
The crew and riders all seem to be in much better spirits today after feeling a bit beat up yesterday. In this event, if everything goes smoothly the hectic pace and constant fatigue from lack of sleep wears everyone down. And of course, things never go perfectly smoothly. We’ve run into a rockslide, a flat on the mini-van, 3 bike tire flats, 2 wheels with broken spokes and the ugly winds in Kansas. This all adds up and makes it extremely challenging for crew and riders alike. There are many famous RAAM stories of crew mutinies, rider meltdowns and minor personality conflicts that get blown up because of the close quarters. While we have had our share of short tempers and sharp remarks, we are all managing to keep our senses of humor and perspective. We take our motto from our honored hero, Warren Bruno: “Allow, Accept, Appreciate.” He must be watching over us.
Thanks again to our crew for their incredible efforts.
Your Georgia Chain Gang, Tony, Frank, Jerome, Dave, Jane, Lisa, Lee, Joe, Brigette, Charlie, Bruce, Amy, Lynn, Neil, Steve, Celeste and Chad!