After all the preparation and planning the moment Team Strongheart has been waiting for finally arrived. There was a 13 mile neutral parade to get out of town before the race started with Bernie taking the road first. The way they are riding the race is that they are broke into two teams. Neil and Bernie are one team and Greg and Tim the other. They plan on taking 4 hour turns. During this 4 hours the one group will be sleeping while the other group will be riding the race. One rider races at a time with the support vehicle bringing the other rider up the rode. Then when the rider on the road catches the relief rider, the relief rider takes over and the other rider rests and in turn is taken up the road. They practiced this in their training and Bernie says it works quite well, they don't take long turns so they can stay fresh. They will be repeating this for the entire 3000+ miles! This shows how major of a role the support car plays in advancing the riders up the road, the support staff play as much of a key role as the riders do in this endeavor.
The teams were started with 30 second time gaps and Team Strongheart started 36th out of 39 teams. As of midnight on Day 1 Team Strongheart is currently in 3rd place out of the 16 4-man teams! After time station #2 they are averaging 20.17 mph. The beginning was hot and hilly and according to Bernie, Neil took some strong pulls up the hills out of the San Diego basin to move them up in the race. The race started in the afternoon so a lot of the desert riding will be at night when the temperatures are more bearable. He said the downhills were fast and fun. They both drank 6 water bottles from the start to time station 1. Greg and Tim took over and rode to time station 2, then Bernie and Neil will ride through time station 3 to time station 4 before being relieved. We'll have to give these groups names, any suggestions? I'll keep you posted as reports come in. You can follow the race on line at http://stats.raceacrossamerica.org/2007/reports/overview.html
This is so exciting!