Race Across America Day 4

June 13th, 2007

Climbing Wolf Creek Pass, Race Across America 2006

The 2007 Race Across America is into it’s 4th day. The team racers started yesterday. The solo leaders made it through most of the Colorado mountains yesterday and will be headed across the southeastern plains of Colorado into Kansas today. Most of the racers will be riding the Colorado mountains today including Wolf Creek Pass which is the high point of the race at 10,850. You can get the current standings and the latest race news on the Race Across America website.

Unfortunately it looks like Lou Lamoureux, Hana Ebertova and Patty Riddle will be cut in Cortez. They have to reach it today before 2 PM race time which is always Eastern Daylight Time. Lou crashed out last year between Flagstaff and Tuba City so he has made it a little farther this year.

Last year I got to Durango just after it got light and took a sleep break. I was doing the Enduro division and we were required to stop for a minimum of 2 hours in Durango. After suffering in the desert, I was happy to be in Colorado. I knew exactly where I was and where I was going and it was cooler.

Shanna Armstrong, Race Across America 2006From Durango to the start of Wolf Creek, it’s gently rolling and a good bit of the course is on a quiet back road. I was back and forth with Shanna Armstrong until she stopped to take a nap in Pagosa Springs. It was nice to have someone else in sight since most of the time I rarely saw any other riders.

Climbing Wolf Creek Pass, Race Across America 2006I had never ridden Wolf Creek Pass before but I think I’ve been over it in a car at least once in each of the last 20 years. Although it is a long climb, it’s never really steep and the grade is very consistent making it easy to get into a groove. I just rode a comfortable pace and took my time and enjoyed being in the mountains where I felt at home. I also thought about the great decent that was waiting for me.

Once off the east side of Wolf Creek Pass, the route crosses the San Luis Valley. This area has some of the flattest and straightest roads in the state. After that it’s up and over La Veta Pass. From the west, La Veta Pass is very gentle and doesn’t climb a huge amount. It was even easier since I had a good tailwind. Next it’s a descent down to the town of La Veta. It was a little past midnight local time when I arrived and I stopped for a 15 minute nap.

From La Veta, the route heads over Cucharas Pass. It’s a hard climb and probably felt harder because I was doing it in the dark. Unlike Wolf Creek Pass, it also doesn’t have a consistent grade. I was very happy to get to the top and get to descend. I was hitting 50 mph in the dark which added to the excitement. Fortunately Tom did a great of driving and keeping me in the headlights. I arrived in Trinidad at 6:30 AM local time and stopped for a much needed sleep break.

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Race Across America Day 3

June 12th, 2007

Riding Near Utah/Colorado Border, Race Across America 2006

The Race Across America is now into it’s 3rd day. Jure Robic and Wolfgang Fasching have been within a few minutes of each other for most of the time but Robic went through Cortez, CO 69 minutes ahead of Fasching. They are now 771 miles into the race.

Climbing the Yarnell Grade, Race Across America 2006Yesterday most of the racers had to deal with the heat of the desert although the leaders had made it to higher altitude before it got hot. Last year I hit the Yarnell grade early in the afternoon when it was really hot. The reward of all the climbing was cooler temperatures especially by the time I got close to Prescott, AZ.

Riding Through Monument Valley, Race Across America 2006This morning a lot of the riders were near Flagstaff, AZ. Although it can be warm during the day, the temperatures really drop at night. I think when I left there just before dawn after a sleep break last year, it was 39 degrees. It felt really cold after riding most of the day before with temperatures in the upper 90 through the desert. By afternoon it was back in the 90s as I rode through Monument Valley.

Climbing Wolf Creek Pass, Race Across America 2006The leaders will spend today riding through the mountains of Colorado while most of the other racers will be riding through the high altitude desert of the four corners region. By evening most of them should be headed into Colorado.

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Jure Robic Wins Race Around Slovenia

May 14th, 2007

Two time Race Across America winner Jure Robic won the first Race Around Slovenia this past weekend. It was 1,100 kilometers. I haven’t found a race report but it was posted to the UltraCycling Topica list that Robic won by a big margin.

Once again Robic is signed up for the Race Across America. Last year he dropped out in Pagosa Springs with pneumonia. Kenny Souza was also having breathing trouble and was stopped about 60 miles earlier in Durango for several hours. That’s when I was feeling great in an area I know well. That’s where I moved into 4th place in the Enduro division. Of course it didn’t matter when I got injured in the fierce wind storm in eastern Colorado and western Kansas. I limped my way to the Mississippi River before dropping out.

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Juré Robic Signs Up For RAAM Enduro Category

April 25th, 2006

Juré Robic is finally on the roster for RAAM. I really thought he’d be doing the Traditional Category but he’s listed in the Enduro. This makes it 17 men in the Enduro and 11 men in the Traditional plus a recumbent.

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Top RAAM Riders

March 2nd, 2006

Today I finally got around to reading an article from the New York Times from a month ago about Jure Robic. It’s called “That Which Does Not Kill Me Makes Me Stranger”. I think that title comes from a quote by John Stamsted. It’s an interesting article and worth reading. You have to be a registered user but it’s free to register. It talks a lot about the mental aspect of ultra racing. It says he is planning to race RAAM this year but he isn’t on the roster yet. I knew his post on 11/11/2005 said he was but I didn’t know if that had changed. Most of his posts aren’t in English so I can’t read them.

Robic will be tough to beat but I’d really like to see Tinker win. I’ve really admired him for a lot of years on the mountain bike circuit. I also have a lot of respect for Allen Larsen. When I ordered one of his videos a couple years ago, his wife took the order and I told her I was planning to do RAAM in a couple years. Allen started asking questions in the background so she just put him on the phone and he let me pick his brain for a while. Kenny Souza should be another top rider. I’m not sure whether these riders are doing the Enduro or Traditional categories. From what I’ve seen my guess would be that Robic and Larsen will be in the Traditional and Souza will be in the Enduro. I haven’t seen any hint as to which category Tinker will be in.

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