Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Team Strong Heart needs YOU! in 2010

Seasons Greetings! from Team Strong Heart and the Silent Sports Foundation.

If you have not heard Team Strong Heart has once again registered a team to participate in the 2010 Race Across America (2010 RAAM). Exactly what form this squad will take is yet to be determined.

This is where we need to hear from you! Ideally we would like to see a 4-person relay team take shape. To date, two riders have expressed strong interest. Tim Case, TSH and RAAM (soloist & team!) veteran, is tentatively heading up this effort.

So what this means is ANYONE who has interest in participating in this epic event, either as rider or support crew, here is your opportunity!! Spots are open right now and we would like to hear from you if you are interested. Anyone who is interested should reply within a week or so as we try to get a good idea what form the 2010 will take.
If you are interested please let us know by sending a response here: 2010 TEAM STRONG HEART

The date for this year's Race Across America team start is June 12, 2010. The race itself takes around 7 days. With travel days to the start in Oceanside, CA and return home from the finish at Annapolis, MA the entire adventure takes about two weeks. And guaranteed... this will be two of the most interesting and exciting weeks you'll ever live!
So for anyone who is interested, please give it some thought and get back to us soon. We look forward to hearing from you!!

Please feel free to respond with any questions you have, we would be happy to answer inquires you might have regarding Team Strong Heart or RAAM.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Jay Thompson - President Silent Sports Foundation 2007 Team Strong Heart Member

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Final TSH09 - victory comes in pairs!

As a final cap on the events of Team Strong Heart for 2009, I wanted to leave you all with a final note of success. The primary goal for Team Strong Heart was to see the lives of children and young adults changed by means of economic relief. Team Strong Heart once again delivered a sizable amount to Camp Odayin and as a result many children were able to experience life in ways we all take for granted.

Team Strong Heart succeeded on the road but more importantly we have succeeded in the hearts and souls of the families and children at Camp Odayin. We are closing out our books and moving to 2010 and I am sad to see 2009 head into the past. Working for Camp Odayin and TSH this year was an honor and the friends that joined the TSH family agree...2009 was a success in ways that carry no equal.

So, as we head into the planning for 2010 (not me but others), I encourage you all to stay the course and support TSH as your dollars and time DIRECTLY affected the lives of people living with heart conditions. Your hard earned dollars made a major difference....to that I say thank you.

Keep a weather eye on the plans for years to come. We aren't going anywhere but rather we are gaining more support to further this cause.

See you on the road!
Andrew Claflin

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Final Review for 2009 from the people of RAAM

Just in and released from the Race Across AMerica organization...
Team Strong Heart posted in FIRST PLACE.

RAAM 4-Person Male
1st Team Strong Heart (USA) 3021 miles - 6d 10h 30m (19.56mph)
2nd Austria Triathlon Team (AUT) 3021 miles – 6d 15h 07m (18.99mph)
3rd OC Quattro (USA) 3021 miles – 6d 16h 25m (18.83mph)
4th Vencendo Desafios Team Brazil (BRA) 3021 miles – 7d 8h 07m (17.16mph)
5th Team SaveBuzzardsBay.org (USA) 3021 miles – 7d 8h 42m (17.10mph)
6th Berliner (GER) 3021 miles – 7d 10h 23m (16.94mph)
7th Ari’s Angels (USA) 3021 miles – 7d 14h 35m (16.55mph)
8th Equipe Schwarz (GER) 3021 miles – 7d 21h 15m (15.96mph)
9th Drew’s Crew (USA) 3021 miles – 7d 23h 18m (15.79mph)
DNF Team Surfing USA (USA) 1911 miles – TS #32 – 3d 21h 51m (20.37mph)

Despite having all things crazy take place in that week, one thing was the clarifying of where we stood on the record. This sums up all speculation and will aid in resolving our minds and hearts even though we all know what we did on the open road. RAAM sent this email out as a final resolve to the race and I think I speak for all on the team/crew/sponsors and friends (along with the other 4 person teams) that this was what we all needed!

This is big for us, all of us. Enjoy the week and keep ridin'!


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

TSH and Fat Tire - Chequamagon 40

It appears that Team Strong Heart is going to represent in the Chequamagon Fat Tire Festival in Sept - Congrats to JayT and family for letting the creative juice flow on the essay. As we all seem to stride back to normal life - LOL - we are gearing up here and there for some major races/rides etc... Melinda, Amy, Jay and Neil (TSH 07-08) are team time trialing in the Firehouse 50 race in a few weeks and may the Good Lord have mercy on you guys...Melinda is on fire and not easy to draft behind. Love ya Melinda and fear ya on the bike.

The best part of RAAM thus far has been the new friends and added family to the TSH society. I have had a blast keeping tabs with all the crew/riders. We should have some posts of some of the 09 crew's crazy adventures riding here and there.

Chequamagon is right around the corner and I cant wait to wear the Team Strong Heart kit with pride and to race with friends and more over...enjoy this race for all that it is...painful and fun.

I see its raining outside right now and that means one thing...time to ride the mt bike in the slop!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

TSH Party July 11 @ Trailhead, More Photos

More random photos from this years championship RAAM effort...

Sunday, July 5, 2009

RAAM Pictures and July 11 Party

Hi all,

We are hard at work assembling and editing pictures from our championship RAAM effort this year. Stay tuned for the release of an official Team Strong Heart picture and video DVD. In the mean time, don't forget the party and raffle at Trailhead in Champlin on July 11 and here's just a few of the pics from this year's epic race...


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Raffle Drawing July 11th....

Andy and Brett (front) Climbing in CO. Long steady and steep climb

With the close of RAAM...or the break from RAAM as it seems many are now in the hunt to continue the adventure next year...we are having our raffle drawing and party on July 11th at Trailhead Cycle in Champlin, MN. Don't worry, you don't need to be present to win but you do have to have a purchased ticket to potentially win.

Might I add that you are all winners in this as your hard earned money and time have allowed TSH09 to WIN BIG on RAAM and most importantly your donations have fueled the dreams of so many at Camp Odayin - another successful year. Our goal has been simple - help our cause first and foremost...then leave it all on the road for the race. We were able to accomplish both tasks with victory - my hats off to all of you!

With that being said - we have some quality prizes to add to the mix and more coming. Eric Kenney - of EK Endurance - has offered some free coaching as a prize for the raffle. He has given to me three coupons for his services to try out. If you are wondering who he is and how good he is - ask Steve or myself. We followed his plan - Steve more than myself - and look at the results. 1st place finish doesn't lie. Thank you Eric for your contribution to help TSH and to see people enjoy biking more and more!

From high dollar Hed Wheels to vacation stays at Rainbow Resort to various gifts in between...make sure to attend the raffle to not only claim a gift or two but to also hear the great stories of RAAM2009.

A side note - the recovery of the TSH team is going well. Easy does it is the key phrase. Give us a week or two and we will be back in the hot seat laying down some serious miles and it looks like Steve may be sporting a new frame here soon...he rode so hard he destroyed his Orbea...that is pure power!

See ya on the road and thank you for your continued support!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

In my quest....

I was able to find a video of TSH on RAAM 09. Well, its actually me and the story is funny. When we came to the salt lake area, we had lost Steve off the front. What that means is that the wind was so fast that all the riders were flying past the time stations and gaining enormous amounts of time on their crew. Steve continued on the path across the landscape that looked like the Iraqi plains. The bad thing is we didn't know exactly where he was b/c he was so far out front.

After about an hour of searching here and there, we knew he was up the road but wow...it took a LONG time to find him. The cars needed gas and night time was soon to follow so we had to fuel up and that meant Steve was alone in the tailwind. This normally isn't a bad thing - but come 8pm we had to have a car behind us... Brett and I were in the RV heading up the road at 70mph and the two cars were concerned that Steve may have taken a wrong turn so they were looking on other roads - it was a bit confusing at that station. After about an hour we were worried that Steve was out of water - he was - and it is hot. We put the pedal down and found a yellow / green jersey about 1/2 mile ahead of the RV. We didn't think it was Steve b/c there was NO way anyone could have made that kind of ground on the cars...it was Steve. We passed Steve quickly then and yelled to transition to get him OFF the bike ASAP. I got out and realized that my bikes were on the Jeep and Steve had his back up bike on the RV - we have the same pedals.

In haste - I grabbed his bike which is about 3 sizes too small and Steve blasted by at about 35 mph - not stopping. Back into the RV and up the road we go. I yelled again - GET OFF THE ROAD WHEN WE STOP!!!! In this transition - I found out why Steve was so far ahead - 30 some mph tailwinds had ALL groups holding major speed for miles on end. Problem - Steve had compact cranks on his back up bike and it was TOO SMALL. Just then, a car came up from behind and I thought it was our Jeep....I had been riding for about 40 mins at that time at 35 mph and at times 40 mph and figured my time on the bike here was to just relieve Steve until Tim could make it up. The car turned out to be a Media Truck and they took some pics and vids of me cruzin - maxed out spinning on the compacts biggest gear...LOL. I look like a circus performer on a small bike - no offense Steve as you are not a circus performer...but one bad #$$ biker instead.

So the vids are of me on Steves bike...lacking leg extension and with close to an hour or just under on the bike I was dry as the salt air was creating breathing issues. The Jeep finally got up to me with 1 min to go before lights and follow veh became mandatory. In this stretch - Steve and I were able to make ground on the 8 person team - donate life - and passed them. they eventually passed us for good in Missouri I think but it was a healthy battle for 2000 miles...yes, they were an 8 person team.

Just a note - the form here is not that good as the bike is too small for me...I did end up sitting way off the back of the seat to make it work so my knees wouldn't break but my quads were burning. That was the most fun on a bike in a long time. 35-40 mph for about an hour on a flat. I made a comment to the media truck as they rode along side me saying " So this is what its like to be Eddy Merckx on a training ride..." We all laughed a bit and I pressed on ... wondering if our Jeep was going to make it up in time for night riding. They did and it was dad and Ed that brought relief. Steve and I later said it was way too much fun on that section but the heat and salt were too much to deal with at times.

Looking for more vids....


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tailwind and Talent

The 2009 edition of the Race Across America was an epic journey for Team Strong Heart. It was a journey that began many moons before the start last Saturday and it is a journey, that, for many of us, will continue far into the future., well beyond our championship run of this year.

To say that the Race Across America is “just” a bike race is like saying that Rome is just a city. The RAAM changes your life, changes the lives of those closest in your life and very much reaches into all aspects of life for crew, racers, staff and organizers. You’ve completed RAAM, what can’t you achieve?

In 2009, Team Strong Heart has set a new standard for organizing and executing the “world’s toughest bike race,” with honor, integrity and class. Plus, we were damned fast. Like one of our crewmen, Terry, told me after a late night shift on the road…”You guys have tailwind and talent.” What else is there really?

I can personally attest that Andy, Steve, Brett and myself, along with our crew, pushed ourselves to the ultimate limit during this years RAAM. It was awesome. Of course, once the race begins, most of the racers don’t really see very much of each other. I saw Steve every time we traded off a riding pull, but for the most part we spend time alone on the road and with our crew in one of the support vehicles. That being said, I knew with absolute certainty that each of the racers and crew were giving 100% all of the time, from the time we headed out to Oceanside to when the very last of us left Annapolis today. Steve and I knew that if we put in the effort, that effort would continue on into Andy and Brett’s shift on the bike. Having that knowledge adds a certain level of “comfort” to the race, knowing you aren’t working in vain.

There were so many stories to come out of this race and many of you will be fortunate enough to hear about just a few of them. The grandure of RAAM comes both from the sheer immensity of the race, the distances involved, the amount of climbing, etc., but it also comes from those individual and highly personal moments out on the bike, in the RV and out on the road. As k us and we’ll be happy to share, but absolutely nothing can replicate the real thing in real time.

There were ups and downs in emotions, fatigue and terrain, but we always came back to the mission and values that Team Strong Heart has strived for since its inception. We had some amazing and wonderful and terrible things happen out on the road, and we certainly couldn’t have predicted the crazy 12 hours in Missouri that changed the race for our team and our main competitors team. Some finished the race and others weren’t so lucky, but arriving in Annapolis came with both a sense of honor and a sense of respect for those who didn’t quite make it We are grateful for everyone on the road, finishers or no.

To encapsulate the race into a one or two page blog is a fools errand, to be sure. Instead, let me suggest that from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean there are roads that are high enough to cross the continental divide, low enough to be ridden below sea level, steep enough to reach out in front of your bike and touch them and also steep enough to tuck in so deep into your bike that your chin rests on your handlebars. We had tires delaminate, shoes melt into the pavement from the heat, wind whip across us on a 4000 foot descent, dogs jump out, cars and racers get lost or get well ahead of the rest of us, deer snap to attention on the side of the road, elk bugle at 10,000 feet at 0300 in the morning, and humidity that makes you permanently moist, from beginning to end.

But we return to the people who comprise Team Strong Heart. If I have anything to say about it, we will ALWAYS return to our supporters and our crew who bring us to the start line every year and draw us to the finish line in our deepest, darkest hours. Without your love and support, none of this would be possible.

Plans are already being made for the 2010 RAAM. Yep, I said it. We’ll be back for another go at it, one way or the other. I am going to form a four-man or person relay for next year,or maybe I‘ll go solo again. Who knows (wink)? We have to defend our title, right? We may have some new solo racers out there and there might even be a womens team forming in the future. Al of this is wonderful news, now let’s get back to work.

Come join us and see for yourself if what is said is so.

Camp Odayin is grateful for our efforts. I’m grateful to be associated with a world-class organization and promise to carry the Team Strong Heart torch into the future.

Yours in cycling, supporting the hope and promise of Camp Odayin and keeping the rubber side down.

Tim Case

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Team Strong Heart Wins 4-Man Race Across America!

Hi all,

Groggy from a too-short nap...early this morning Team Strong Heart crossed the finish line in Annapolis, MD in FIRST PLACE, with a new Team Strong Heart trans-continental record time of 6 Days, 10 Hours and 30 minutes!!!

Many thanks to our crew, staff and racers for another epic adventure in the Race Across America, truly the toughest sporting event in the world.

Stay tuned for a full race report, photos, updates and random thoughts on our championship effort...

Keep the rubber side down.

Tim Case

Ben Popp Solo Finish

Ben Popp - photo by RAAM

Just a quick post regarding RAAM soloist Minnesotan Ben Popp. Ben finished today (Sunday, 6/28) with an official time of 11d, 1hr, 12min. Congratulations to Ben Popp!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Saturday Update

Steve & Tim in route earlier - photo by RAAM
Andy & Brett in route earlier - photo by RAAM

Update 8Am CDT: Team Strong Heart has officially finished the 2009 Race Across America!

TSH crossed the finish line in Annapolis, Maryland early this morning at 3:46AM CDT. The team completed 3021 miles of racing with an official time of 6 days, 10hours, & 30 mins with an average speed of 19.56mph.

Congratulations to Team Strong Heart! We look forward to hearing from the team after a well deserved rest.

Update 1:07AM CDT: Team Strong Heart just passed through Mt. Airy, MD and time station #51. It looks like TSH will finish the 2009 RAAM right around 4AM CDT. 2967mi raced, 54mi to go!! Soon racers & crew can experience a real bed and a good nights (or day) sleep. These riders & crew have done it all on very little sleep, not more than 2 or 3 hours at a time for most. And that's for 6 plus days straight!

Update 12AM CDT: This is it! Team Strong Heart is closing in on Annapolis, Maryland and the conclusion of RAAM.

There are only three time stations left! TS#51 at Mt. Airy, MD, TS#52 at Odenton, MD, and TS#53 in Annapolis, MD. Current conditions in the area: 68F, scattered clouds, and calm.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Friday Update

last 80 mile pull. leaving PA to finish...should be done abouut 3 am
RAAM Tatoo - directions through WV.. (6/22)
RAAM- whe full grown men sleep like babes (6/26)
Tim Case (6/26)
Steve and Tim exchange (6/26)

Ed & Lara workin' the hills of WV
Friday 2:30AM, Andy, soaking wet, downpour, somewhere in Ohio... (6/26)

Update 11:30PM CDT: Team Strong Heart races through Hanover, PA and TS#50 at 11:04PM CDT. Less than 100 miles now remain until the finish. How often does 100 miles sound like so little?

Update 10:00PM CDT: Team Strong Heart is now in Pennsilvania and closing on TS#50 in Hanover, PA. Should be riding through Gettyburg, PA right now. Once they reach Hanover, TSH will have less than 100 miles to go! Current conditions: 68F, clear, calm.

Update 4:30PM CDT: TS#47 has been passed. TSH is now in Maryland. Current conditions: 87F, clear, winds W 12mph with a chance of more thurderstorms. Closing in on the finish line, less than 220mi to go! RAAM estimates are for a 3AM CDT finish.

Update 2PM CDT: Team Strong Heart will enter Maryland and pass through a couple time stations before moving in Pennsylvania. After Pennsylvania its back into Maryland for good and on to the Finish line at Annapolis!

Right now the team is in route to TS#47 at La Vale, Maryland. The miles are ticking down... about 250mi to go!

Update 12:30PM CDT: Team Strong Heart is now on their was to Gormania, WV after reaching TS#45 in Grafton, WV. Current conditions in Gormania: 72F, overcast, winds W 8mph. 2707 miles raced, 314 to go!

The Austria Triathlon Team has now moved past the OC Quattro Team as the next team back from TSH. The gap appears to be about 3 1/2hours.

Update 7AM CDT: TSH has reached West Virginia now after racing through storms overnight. Right now they are racing toward Smithburg, WV after passing through Ellenboro, WV and TS#44 at 6:50AM CDT this morning. Conditions in the area are a little more bearable now at: 69F, clear, dew point 65F, and light south winds.

Only nine time stations remain until Annapolis Maryland and the finish. RAAM projects have an estimated finishing time of around 2AM Saturday (6/27).

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thursday Update

Team Strong Heart clothes dryer, RV, and eatery (6/24)

Update 9:30PM CDT: Team Strong Heart has now passed through TS# 40 & 41 and are now in Ohio. Currently they are on there way to TS#42 in Chillicothe, OH. Current weather condition have now combined the heat & humidity they have been experiencing with heavy rain & thurderstorms. Currently it is 72F, dew point 69F, winds S 8mph. If they are experiencing storms I'm sure there is gusty winds too.

Update 4PM CDT: TSH reached TS#39 in Greensburg. IN at 2:48PM CDT. 2358mi raced, 662mi to go.

Update 11:06AM CDT: TSH passes through TS# 38, Bloomington, IN. Current conditions: 86F, clear, dew point 72F, wind wsw 6 mph. Team OC Quattro is now the next team behind TSH.

Update 7:59AM CDT: TSH has crossed into Indiana and passed through TS#37 in the city of Sullivan. Today will be a long day for Team Strong Heart. In the period 48 to 24 hours before the finish you are ready for the race to be over, the end is near, but yet seems far off. Once they hit the 24hrs to-go mark they will begin to taste the finish. The last day is long too but you are closing in on the finish line and the day passes quicker. But today, they have to put in another day: 2230 miles raced, 790 to go...

Update 7:30AM CDT: The last time station Team Strong Heart passed through was #36 in Effingham, IL. That was at 4:05AM CDT. Today the team will be racing its way into Ohio before nightfall comes. It will be another hot and humid day with temps in the 90's and dew points in the 70's. There is a good chance of thunderstorms along the way too.

It might be a little early to project a finishing time but at TSH's current pace RAAM estimates show them finishing right around midnight tomorrow night (Fri 6/26).

The finish of the solo competition will be one to watch. Current leader, 4x winner Jure Robic, and competitor Dani Wyss have been trading the lead for the last day or more. They are only about 200 miles from the finish and only minutes separate the two. RAAM estimates have them finishing around 9PM CDT tonight! Minnesotan Ben Popp is still in the mix and is projected to finish Sunday (6/28). Hats off to the soloists!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wednesday Update

Team Strong Heart Reaches the Mississippi River (bridge in lights - 6/24)

Madonna is on the scene! (6/24)
Another morning still on the road in Kansas (6/24)

Update 10:37PM CDT: Team Strong Heart just reached TS#34 and passed over the Mississippi River! They will be racing through Illinois overnight. By morning we should find them in Indiana. Stand by for more racing action, the miles are ticking down now!

Update 10:30PM CDT: Sorry for the long gap in updates. I ended up being away from the computer for many hours and I locked out fill-in guy Neil by accident. Back to race action...

Team Strong Heart is now now approaching the Mississippi River and TS#34! Current conditions in St. Louis, MO: 85F with a 73F dew point and no wind, YUK! I think all the racers are sick of the sticky heat...

TSH is currently leading the field after several hours of neck-and-neck racing with Team Surfing USA. We have now learned that an unfortunate incident has taken Team Surfing USA out of the competition.

I am uncertain as to what actually happened and reports have been vague. I do know that nobody has suffered any life threatening injuries. It sounds like possibly a broken ankle was suffered by the Team Surfing USA rider involved.

I'm sure I share the same feeling as all of you RAAM fans and I'm very sorry to hear of this. The competition was good and it made for great action!

Update 11:34AM CDT: Wow! at the last time station (Camdenton, MO) that TSH passed through minites ago the gap between them and Team Surfing USA was 3 minutes. It is amazing that after 1853 miles and 91 hours of racing these two teams are so close. Stay tuned as the cat & mouse game continues. There is still a lot of racing left and anything could happen! Good luck to both teams!

Update 10AM CDT: Andy just checked in via cell phone. Spirits are high and things are going well. He reported that as they pulled into the last time station they encountered Team Surfing USA's complete vehicle support fueling up. IF all their vehicles are there, that means their riders are very close too. And wait... checking the leaderboard it appears Team Surfing USA pulled into the last time station only 4 minutes ahead of Team Strong Heart. That means TSH narrowed the gap by about 20 minutes over the last time station leg alone!!

Update 9:45AM CDT: TSH has reach Missouri and TS#30 at Weaubleau, MO. Madonna has now joined up with the TSH. She will be the sole female on the crew living out of an RV for the balance of the race with a bunch of stinky guys. Good luck to Madonna!

Current weather consditions: 85F, light winds from the SE, and a steamy dew point of 72F. There is also a chance of thunderstorms in the forecast.

Last year it was in Missouri were the 08 Team Strong Heart encounterd this scene.

Update 9AM CDT: The RAAM Solo Competition is worth a mention. The race for the lead is virtually a tie right now. Jure Robic who has been dominant the past few years is being seriously challenged by the German Dani Wyss. Robic has not had this kind of pressure over the last few years.

Minnesotan Ben Popp has also been very impressive as he continues to hold his spot on the leaderboard.

Check out the soloist leaderboard here.

Update 8AM CDT: Team Strong Heart is now approaching the Missouri state line. I'm sure like every other team they will be happy to put Kansas behind them. The gap between TSH and Team Surfing USA continues to shrink. At last check there were only 25 minutes between them as they pasted through TS#29 in Fort Scott, KS.

Andy check in via cell phone about 11:45PM last night. They were in El Dorado, KS and had just finished a shift. He was calling from a Walmart while shopping for re-supplies. He reported the teams are feeling the heat!

The states will start to zip by now as they move east. By days end today they should reach the Mississippi River. Today is the day that they also gain a fresh crew member. Madonna Lindgren joins the team at one of the first time stations in Missouri. She has a hotel room waiting with a real shower for when the team arrives. A few lucky team members will get to clean up!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tuesday Update

Photo by Brendon Purdy RAAM - Brett Descends
More Kansas (6/23)
Mid-Kansas (6/23)

Crew readies bike (6/23)
Kansas Sunrise (6/23)

Today marked the half way point as Tem Strong Heart passed through TS#25 in Pratt, Kansas (mile 1500!) at 5:50PM CDT this evening.

Update 10:30PM CDT: Checking in on Team Strong Heart finds them 27 minutes behind Team Surfing USA on the road but with their (TSUSA) 30 minute time penalty that gap is erased and it is more or less a dead heat! The race is on!

TSH is now between Maise, KS and El Dorado, KS and are heading for TS#27. Hot conditions were encountered this afternoon as TSH reports temperatures topping 100F! Current conditions in Maise, KS: 82F, clear, with a steamy 72F dew point! Temperatures will hover in the 70's overnight not offering a lot of relief from the heat. Tomorrow will be another hot day with highs well into the 90's with very humid conditions as the make they way into Missouri.

Update 2:30PM CDT: Just took a call from Andy as he and Brett just ended a shift. The weather is hot, Andy reports 98F!, and the racing is good. Andy and Brett have experienced one flat tire each otherwise it sounds like all equipment is functioning well. TSH has now been racing for over 1400 miles and 68 consecutive hours!

Update 1:30PM CDT: Team Strong Heart has taken the lead! Team Surfing USA has incurred a 30min time penalty which puts Team Strong Heart into the lead. TSH is currently between TS#23 in Plains, KS and TS#24 in Bucklin, KS. Current conditions in Bucklin, KS: 93F, clear, with wind S at 13mph. TSH is feeling a little humidity too with the dew point at 63F.

Update 7AM CDT: Checking in this morning there is a text message stamped 6:51AM from Andy saying they just passed the first (last place) soloist. TSH is now between TS#21 in Clayton, New Mexico and TS#22 at Elkhart, Kansas. To get to Elkhart they will leave New Mexico and ride across the pan handle of Oklahoma. Elkhart sits on the KS/OK border. Current conditions: 66F with calm winds. The temps will climb into the 90's on the route today.

Check the leaderboard sees that Team Strong Heart has trimmed the gap to the leaders (Team Surfing USA) to 37 minutes at the last time station!

Update 12AM CDT: The team has now passed through TS#19 in Cimarron, NM. I think it is Andy and Brett who are on the road now. They took the shift following Steve and Tim's arrival in Taos, NM. Kansas is on tap for tomorrow. TSH should see temps into the 90's with a slight chance of thunderstorms. Winds will continue to be from the south.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Ben Popp RAAM Soloist Update

Minnesotan Ben Popp continues his RAAM journey as a soloist. Team Strong Heart has come to appreciate how hard this effort is after team member Tim Case's successful solo effort last year.

Ben continues to hold his position on the leaderboard as the DNF numbers climb. Out of 21 starters 9 have dropped out thus far. This only makes Tim's perseverance in finishing as a soloist for Team Strong Heart last year more apparent.

Talk about your tough row to hoe! Go Ben!

Monday Update

Steve on the road (6/22)
Veiws from RAAM High Point Manga Pass. Elevation 10,255 feet

Veiw from Pagosa Springs Colorado (6/22 @ 12:30PM CDT)

Driver & Navigator (6/22)
Andy 6/22 @ 8:40AM (CDT)
Gearing up for another shift. Sent by Andy (6/22 @ 6:49AM CDT)

Team Strong Heart has been at it for over 30 hours now, they are more than 680 miles into the race. Monday has the team seeing some beautiful country as they chase towards the east.

Click on each photo above for an expanded view!

Check the RAAM leader board stats here and a progress map here for the latest.

Update 11PM CDT: Team Strong Heart has now passed the 1000 mile mark and are still going strong! That's what a strong four person team can do in about 50 hours! TSH continues to rank high on the leader board, 2nd out of ten 4-male teams to be exact. The gap between the leaders (Team Surfing USA) and Team Strong Heart is currently less than an hour. That is a very small gap by RAAM standards.

TSH is now between TS#18 Taos, NM and TS#19 Cimarron, NM. Overnight they will see temps in the low 50's and it looks like the winds are calm. Tomorrow the team will experience a change in scenery as the leave the beauty of the west and enter in Kansas (bla!). The road will straighten out and flatten out as they cross the plains and continue east.

Update 8:30PM (CDT): Team Strong Heart has now gone over the highest elevation point of the RAAM Route. They passed through TS#17 at Antonio, CO at 5:35PM CDT and are now on their way to Taos, New Mexico and TS#18. The should arrive shortly. When they reach Taos, NM they will have been on the course for over 1000 miles!

Update 4PM (CDT): TSH reached TS#16 at Chuma, New Mexico at 3:08PM (CDT). They are now heading back into Colorado for a short time before the continue back into New Mexico. Current condition on the CO/NM border: 82F and clear with wind out of the SW are 16mph. Andy called just after he and Brett finished their last shift in Pagosa Springs, CO. He said things were going good and everyone was feeling pretty good. During Andy and Brett's next shift they will tackle La Manga Pass topping out at an elevation of 10,255. That is the high point of the RAAM route. Good luck guys!

Update 12:23PM (CDT): TSH has now reached TS#15 in Pagsa Springs, CO. With 885 miles of racing behind them they are about to leave Colorado and head into New Mexico. The weather continues to be very nice with temps in the 70's and 80's expected for the balance of the daylight hours. The sky is clear and the reported wind speeds are light and variable. TS#16 in Chama, New Mexico is the next destination.

Update 8:45AM (CDT): TSH passed through TS#14 in Durango Colorado at 8:45AM. Conditions in Durango at the time: 55F with calm winds. The next TS is in Pagosa Springs, CO were the team with do another shift change. Steve and Tim will be up next!

Update 7AM (CDT): Team Strong Heart passed through Utah over night and has now raced for over 770 miles! They are now between Cortez and Durango Colorado (TS# 13&14). Conditions in Durango this morning: 39F, clear with wind at 5mph from the NE. In a brief text message Andy reports he and Bret will be taking the shift from TS#13 in Cortez, CO to TS#15 in Pagosa Springs, CO. They should arrive at TS#15 sometime between 11AM and Noon (CDT). They should see temps near 70F as they reach Pagosa Springs.

Update 12:22AM (CDT): TS#11 at Mexican Hat Utah has been reached. The gap is only about 45 minutes off the lead! TSH will race their way through Utah in the dark. Conditions as they passed through Mexican Hat, UT: 74F with a SW wind at 12mph. That is about as nice as you can ask for!