Day One

RAAM started on Saturday with a glorious parade of teams through Oceanside, down the bike path. In the splendid California sunshine, side by side with seven teammates (first time we had all eight ridden together!), we were exuberant and optimistic. The logistics of supporting eight riders at once were enormous (kudos to our amazing crew of twelve), but they were worth it: Since we’re riding in teams of four, that ride was the last time we’re all together until Annapolis.

Henry Kaestner, Lance Condray, Dave Hofmann, and Christopher Gergen led out, accompanied by the other four-person team captain, George Linney (reconnoitering the drill so we would be more ready on our shift). They conquered the first climb of the race and moved us along to the third time station at Blythe, CA. We took over about 10:30 pm and rode all night to TS5, at Salome, AZ.

It was a hard night. We hadn’t slept much the night before (nervousness), we’d been up 24 hours by the time we started, we had to cool our heels for a long time wondering what this would be like, and we started out in the dark. Some people love riding in the dark. Me, I like to see where I'm going and where I’ve been. On top of that, this is not a ride but a race. We rode 10-15 mile legs as fast as we can, which means you’re on the bike for 30-45 minutes pushing constantly past your comfort zone.

Today we’ve gotten some good rest. It’s taken the other team longer than we thought to climb up to Flagstaff. Upside is that we got rest and a good meal or two. Downside is that we’ll be working the midnight shift again.

I confess that last night I struggled to think and pray for the charities we’re riding for. Was about all I could do to take care of myself. But this is not the Chip'sCares Team, but DurhamCares. I hope tonight to ride with a little leftover for great causes we’re supporting.


leslie said…
Go Chip and the whole team! Hang in there on those night rides. You guys are doing a great job for a great cause. Thanks for the updates!

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