Tuesday, June 12, 2007

And they're off!!!

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!


This Weary Traveler said...


The Palms are cheering you on from the comfort of home.

We'll be keeping track online, know that we are thinking of you!

Kate, Jeff, and John

Laurel said...

Bernie, Neil, Tim and Greg...

I hardly slept last night, thinking about you guys riding on the freeway in the dark. You're all so wonderful, and I know you're all doing just fine, but I'm having a hard time not worrying about you all. I looked at the pictures on the RAAM website, and there's one of Neil on the road in the Team En Route section. The pictures that they took of the team and the individual pics of each of you are FABULOUS! I especially like Neil's grin in his individual picture!
Tell Angie that I love her, and I hope that her hands aren't swelling today. Bill, Rick...think happy thoughts. God bless you for making this happen. Tess, Linda...thank you for touching my husband ;-), Brendan and Steph...thank you for the video and still photography. Kristina...I hope you see some really cool plants along the way. Mike and Gary...I thank you for your time sacrifices to help these wonderful men ride their bikes.
May God bless all of you with patience, love, concern, the ability to sleep on the road, healthy bodies, joy, good driving skills, and fabulous experiences.
Neil...are you scratching Bernie's back like I asked you to?!!!!!