Jure Robic Dies in Accident

September 24th, 2010

Jure Robic

There’s some very sad news in the ultracycling world today. Five time Race Across America winner, Jure Robic, has died from a collision with a car. I haven’t found much information yet on the accident but according to an article I found he died at the scene of the crash. Here’s a link to the Google translation of the article.

Robic was known for how little sleep he could get by on in RAAM. In 2004 it was reported that in almost 9 days he had slept a total of 8 hours. The RAAM movie Bicycle Dreams showed how hard he raced.

He’s married and if I remember correctly he has one child. I pray for his family through this terrible tragedy.

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Race Across America 2010

June 11th, 2010

Race Across America

The Race Across America started this week. It’s a 3,000 mile non-stop race across the US that has interested me for over 20 years. The course currently starts in Oceanside, CA and finishes in Annapolis, MD.

The long distance with little sleep is made tougher by tight time cut-offs across the country. In a typical year about half the racers that start make it to the finish. In 29 years, fewer than 200 have finished. My 2006 solo RAAM attempt ended at the Mississippi River after 2,000 miles of riding.

The solo women and Dex Tooke in the 60+ solo men category started on Tuesday at noon Pacific and the rest of the solo men started at noon on Wednesday. The relay teams will start on Saturday afternoon at 2 PM.

Once again 4 timer winner Jure Robic has opened up a good lead over his closest competitor. He has almost caught all of the women that started a day ahead. Robic said last year he wouldn’t race again after dropping out after claiming an unfair advantage was given to winner Dani Wyss.

Interestingly the solo womens class is lead by Barbara Buatois on a recumbent bike. Although a recumbent bike can be an disadvantage with lots of climbing, she has made it into Colorado and only has a couple big climbs before hitting the flat lands for many miles.

You can follow the race on the Race Across America website, the RAAM Facebook page or the #raam2010 hashtag on twitter.

In addition to RAAM, there’s also the Race Across the West (RAW). It covers the first 860 miles of RAAM from Oceanside, CA to Durango, CO.

Also check out my Race Across America FAQ.

Current Solo RAAM Standings After Almost 48 Hours

Solo Men

  1. Jure Robic – 814.03 miles – 18.82 mph
  2. Gulewicz Gerhard – 763.89 miles – 17.61 mph
  3. Mark Pattinson – 724.30 miles – 16.27 mph
  4. Rob Morlock – 679.68 miles – 15.64 mph
  5. Matthew Warner-Smith – 679.68 miles – 15.39 mph
  6. Georg Payer – 607.86 miles – 14.57 mph
  7. Tony O’Keeffe – 607.86 miles – 14.32 mph
  8. Julian Sanz – 607.86 miles – 14.31 mph
  9. Ian Fillinger – 607.86 miles – 13.83 mph
  10. Dr. Michael Nehls – 607.86 miles – 13.82 mph
  11. Ferenc Szonyi – 607.86 miles – 13.63 mph
  12. Ross Muecke – 607.86 miles – 13.38 mph
  13. Kevin Kaiser – 607.86 miles – 13.31 mph
  14. Thomas Strebel – 536.11 miles – 13.32 mph
  15. Samim Rizvi – 536.11 miles – 11.72 mph
  16. Holger Roethig – 536.11 miles – 11.62 mph
  17. Eric Dufor – 441.65 miles – 9.98 mph
  18. Scott Dakus (DNF) – 441.65 – 14.19 mph

Solo Men 50-59

  1. Timothy Woudenberg – 607.86 miles – 13.18 mph
  2. Team AFU/Rex Racing – 536.11 miles – 12.02 mph
  3. Paul Carpenter – 536.11 miles – 11.08 mph
  4. Gregor Komescher – 536.11 miles – 11.75 mph
  5. Michael Dunlap – 482.88 miles- 11.01 mph
  6. Valerio Zamboni – 441.65 miles – 10.03 mph

Solo Men 60+

  1. Dex Tooke – 763.89 miles – 11.58 mph

Solo Women

  1. Barbara Buatois – 857.68 miles – 12.61 mph
  2. Michele Santilhano – 857.68 miles – 12.39 mph
  3. Sandy Earl – 763.89 miles – 11.49 mph
  4. Amy Xu – 763.89 miles – 11.19 mph
  5. Sabrina Bianchi – 763.89 miles – 11.18 mph

See the latest standings on the 2010 RAAM Leaderboard.

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Wyss Wins RAAM, Robic Drops Out!

June 25th, 2009

Wyss has won the 2009 solo RAAM. He raced 3021 miles in a time of 8 days 5 hours 45 minutes. His average speed of 15.28 mph wasn’t much slower than the record of 15.4 mph. Pete Penseyres set the speed record in 1986 and no one has been able to break it.

In a very disappointing end to the extremely close battle between Wyss and Robic the last couple days, Robic dropped out of RAAM with 54 miles to go. Here’s what’s posted on Robic’s blog

Jure was the fastest cyclist on this years RAAM. On the last time check TS51, he came few minutes before Dani Wyss. Because of the penalties, issued controversially, because of the rules not aplied always in the same manner and because of not issuing penalties to others, Jure and his crew decided not to finish the race as 2nd, but step out of it on TS51.

Today it was written the history of RAAM. Jure and Dani staged the toughest fight ever and on the end the fastest didn’t won.

Robic’s 2 penalties on the road seemed legitimate. My RAAM update yesterday has more details on the penalty Robic received yesterday. The only thing I’ve found about the one at the start was that someone saw him urinate at the side of the stage and thought he might have gotten a penalty for it. I don’t know for sure.

His crew claimed that Wyss ran a stop sign and didn’t get a penalty. Of course when Mike Trevino was close to Robic in 2004, they accused him of cheating. Trevino actually stopped but finally was convinced to continue but never was close to Robic again.

Whether or not the penalties were fair, I think it’s poor sportsmanship to just quit. Still no official word from RAAM so there may be more to the story.

Update
Robic didn’t change his mind and received a DNF. Jure Robics crew has posted a few videos that they claim show reasons Wyss should have been penalized and wasn’t. Because of the way he feels he was treated this year, he says he won’t be back to RAAM.

In the video I’ve embedded below, it does seem that Wyss made a right turn at a red light, did a u-turn and then turned right to avoid the red light. This is against the rules. I had to watch it a couple times but then it seemed clear what he had done. RAAM officials thought it may have been accidental and gave a warning instead of a penalty.

They have a video showing Wyss over the double yellow line. From what I can see, he’s staying in the center out of the way of traffic when he pulls out until his follow van comes in behind. It seems like a safe thing to do and no penalty should have been given.

In another video he grabs the butt of a girl cheering him on. You can argue about tastefulness of it but I don’t know of any RAAM rule against it.

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Close 2009 Solo RAAM Race

June 24th, 2009

Jure Robic and Dani Wyss

Update: Wyss Wins, Robic Quits!

The last couple years, Jure Robic has dominated the Race Across America. Robic has won 4 out of the last 5 years.

Robic didn’t win in 2006. That year Dani Wyss won. Robic was taken off the course by ambulance in Pagosa, CO with respiratory problems.

2006 was the year I raced and I remember RAAM legend, Danny Chew, telling me all I had to do to be one of the few to beat Robic was to finish. I ended up dropping out at the Mississippi due to a leg injury though.

This year Robic and Wyss are locked in battle. It was long been said that the race doesn’t really start until the Mississippi. In the race from the Mississippi to the finish, Robic started with about an hour lead over Wyss.

Now 2500 miles into the race, Wyss has closed the gap and Robic and Wyss are trading the lead on the road. In reality Wyss has the lead. Robic has 1 hour of time penalties and Wyss has none.

Robic’s latest time penalty was from taking the wrong route to time station 40. There was difference between the GPS file and the route book. RAAM rules state that the route book is the official route and GPS is only provided to assist crews.

If a racer goes off course, they must go back to where they went off course and continue riding the course. They can be shuttled back to that point by vehicle. Apparently it was quite a ways back to where Robic went off course and his crew chose to take a 30 minute penalty instead.

Robic wasn’t the only one to have route issues yesterday. Earlier in the day, Wyss rode 9 miles off course before being taken back to the course. His crew estimated he lost 45 minutes from the route mistake.

With 500 miles left to race, both riders and their crews will have to manage their sleep breaks very carefully. Sleep too much and they could lose the race. Not sleep enough and they could crack and lose the race.

It seems that Wyss has been riding faster the last couple days but also taking longer sleep breaks. Maybe he’s more rested. Robic though is known for not needing much sleep.

Dani Wyss’ blog (Google translation) has interesting graphs comparing the average speeds between time stations 24 and 40

Robic Avg Speed

Jure Robic Average RAAM Speed

Wyss Avg Speed

Dani Wyss Average RAAM Speed

The solo women’s race is also close. Janet Christiansen and Daniela Figueiredo Genovesi are about 30 minutes apart a few miles past the Mississippi. The have a little over 900 miles left to race.

In the women’s race, Christiansen has no penalties and Genovesi has 30 minutes so that extends Christiansen’s lead. It does seem though that Genovesi has been riding better the last day so it’ll be interesting to see how the race plays out.

Update: Wyss Wins, Robic Quits!

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Top Racers Have Finished Race Across America

June 20th, 2007

As expected Jure Robic won the Race Across America yesterday morning. Including his time penalties it took him 8 days, 19 hours and 33 minutes for an average speed of 14.38 mph. Wolfgang Fasching held onto his 2nd place and Gerhard Gulewicz finished out the top 3. Last year’s winner, Daniel Wyss, struggled near the end and finished 4th.

Kerry White, the only remaining women officially, was unable to make the time cut-off in Indianapolis and was cut from the race. All the remaining men made the Indianapolis time cut-off but I think at least the last 5 riders are in danger of not making it to Atlantic city in the required 12 days and 5 hours.

It looks like push-up champion Attila Kaldy will round out the top 5. This is his 3rd RAAM and the best he has ridden. Last year I saw him a few times the first 2 days. In the evening on the first day, I was surprised to see him stopped sitting in a camp chair enjoying a bowl of something. He really didn’t look in a hurry to go anywhere. We were actually back and forth because of sleep breaks until he passed me while I was sleeping in Trinidad, CO and I never caught him again since I had the trouble with my leg.

Richard Vollebregt is only 1 1/2 hours behind Attila Kaldy and is riding well. They only have 64.9 miles left to the boardwalk so I doubt they’ll change positions.

Race Across America Day 9

June 18th, 2007

Most years just over half of the solo Race Across America racers make it to the finish line. Amazingly nobody has dropped out in the last 24 hours. In the men’s race, only 5 out of 25 races have dropped out. A few are very close to the time cut-off and are in danger of being cut from the race in Indianapolis. It still seems like a high finish rate is possible this year.

Jure Robic only has 110 miles left to Atlantic City. His closest competitor is over 100 miles behind. Unless something goes wrong, he’ll probably be celebrating his 3rd Race Across America victory by the time I get out of bed in the morning. Wolfgang Fasching is still in 2nd place but Daniel Wyss and Gerhard Gulewicz are less than 2 hour behind so sleep breaks could determine who pulls off 2nd place. Fasching is said to be suffering but so are the other 2. Fasching has won three times so I believe he’ll use his experience to hold onto 2nd place.

Race Across America Day 8

June 17th, 2007

On the 8th day of racing in the Race Across America, Jure Robic is continuing to build his lead. The three riders behind him are suffering. Wolfgang Fasching is holding on to 2nd place but Gerhard Gulewicz is close behind. Fasching is reported to be suffering from Shermer’s neck and electrolyte problems. Maybe he doesn’t know about Endurolytes. Shermer’s neck is named after the original RAAM racer that had his neck muscles give out so he couldn’t hold his head up. Last years winner, Daniel Wyss, has dropped to 4th place.

At the other end of the race, Lou Lamoureux and Patty Riddle were dropped from the race because of missing time cut-offs. Word is that Patty is continuing to ride unofficially.
Lou made it much farther this year than last year and gave all he had. He’s riding with a donated kidney. There’s a great post by someone on his crew about the experience.

Tom Seabourne missed the time cut-off in El Dorado by 4 hours and Kerry White missed it by 6 1/2 hours. They both were allowed to continue riding but Tom has since dropped out. He seemed to be moving really slow today. Kerry is the only woman left officially and has been able to pick her speed up slightly. She is a diabetic so another impressive effort by someone with an extra challenge.

Race Across America Day 7

June 16th, 2007

With the Race Across America in it’s 7th day, Jure Robic has extended his lead over Wolfgang Fasching to 100 miles. Daniel Wyss is in 3rd place, a 150 miles behind Robic. Although there still is a lot of racing left, it will be hard for anyone to catch Robic unless he has a total melt down. He’s won twice before so the chance of that seems slim. Robic has now ridden over 2237 miles which is more than the Tour de France riders do in 3 weeks.

Of the 5 women that started, only Kerry White is officially left. Lauren Fithian and Caroline van den Bulk have dropped out since they won’t be able to make the time cut-off in El Dorado, KS. Patty Riddle seems to still be riding in central Colorado.

Lou Lamoureux is still riding near the Colorado and Kansas border although he won’t make the time cut-off in El Dorado. Tom Seabourne also doesn’t seem to chance at making the time cut-off and a couple others will be close.

Race Across America Day 6

June 15th, 2007

Riding in Kansas, Race Across America 2006

The 2007 Race Across America is now into it’s 6th day. Jure Robic has continued to build his lead at the front and now has nearly a 5 hour lead over Wolfgang Fasching. It’s still over a 1,000 miles for them so anything could happen. According to a report on the RAAM website, Robic has had only 6 hours of sleep so far.

So far today, there haven’t been any more DNFs. Even Patty Riddle continues to ride even though she’s only made it to Pagosa Springs and can’t have any hope of an official finish. Lou Lamoureux is staying positive even though it’ll be tough for him to make the time cut off in El Dorado, KS. He’s also in need of more crew so if you need something to do for the next several days, you should give him a hand.

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Race Across America Day 5

June 14th, 2007

Riding in Eastern Colorado, Race Across America 2006

t is now Day 5 of the 2007 Race Across America. Yesterday saw the leaders finish riding across Colorado and well into Kansas. Robic is still leading and increasing his lead. He should be into Missouri soon after dark tonight. Solo racers are now scattered all the way from western Colorado to eastern Kansas.

Yesterday saw the first DNFs of the race. Hana Ebertova dropped citing exhaustion and Fabio Biasiolo from a medical issue. Walter Blaettler didn’t pass any time stations after yesterday afternoon and today he was listed as a DNF from a vehicle accident. Latest report from the live updates on the Race Across America website says he was taken to a hospital and released so nothing too serious but enough to put him out of the race.

Lauren Fithian and Alessandro Colo passed through Cortez over half an hour after the official time cut off. I think adjusted for the staggered start it was around 10 minutes. With the teams still behind them and not being over the limit by much, I’m not surprised that they appear to have been allowed to continue. Lou Lamoureux came in nearly 11 hours over the limit. According to a post from his crew, he had been exhausted and was out of the race but he got energized and is back in the race. It will be very hard though for these racers to ride fast enough since everybody normally gets slower. Patty Riddle appears to still be riding and going through time stations although the next one is Cortez where she should have been yesterday.

I first became interested in RAAM about 20 years ago when I was 15 or 16. I began dreaming about doing it although for a long time I didn’t think I’d ever actually do it. Once there was a website, I would keep close track of the race as it happened. This year I thought it would be pretty much the same.

After my DNF last year, I didn’t think I’d be able to afford to do it again any time soon. There were other things I was interested in. I mentioned in a post a few months ago there was something else probably even harder than RAAM that I wanted to do. I started writing a post about it but things got crazy at work and that post is still just a draft. I thought I had moved on from RAAM but keeping track of the race the last few days has brought back so many memories. I’m not sure how I’ll pull it off but I now really hope to be back to RAAM sooner than later.

I won’t keep you wondering what else I’m interested in that I think is tougher than RAAM. It’s the Great Divide Race. This year’s race starts tomorrow. Text updates and audio updates will be posted as riders check in when they get places civilized enough to have a phone.

My friend Larry is planning on doing it next year. It would be great to do it at the same time he does. We could train and plan together. There’s a lot that would have to come together for me to be able to do it next year. It would also mean longer before I’d get back to RAAM.

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