FC: Race Across America 2012 Team Osprey's Transcontinental Journey | "I Won't Be Sleeping Anymore"
1: Twas the Day Before RAAM When All Through Oceanside... | "What, me worry?" | As tradition dictates, Bill and Janet flip a coin to see who rides. As always, Janet loses and Bill gets to be Crew Chief/Janet has to ride again. | A moment of relaxation after a day of registration, interviews, inspection, photographs and last minute preparations...
2: Well wishers, friends and media at the Start Line | Right: 10 am at the Pier. Janet, Greg from the RAAM 2009 crew, and little Cooper. Check out Cooper wearing Janet's Barbie sunglasses. This is the first time he was willing to wear sunglasses! | "Alright quit procrastinating, and get over to the start line already!" | Above: Rhoda, Janet and Co crew chief Kathryn (note the pigtails) fashionably attired in Osprey Wear.
3: Above left: RAAM media getting in a last few words with the Osprey at the start line. Behind us is Cassie Schumacher, friend and fellow solo rider. Above right: Candace of the RAAM organization checking last minute details. | "Start your Engines!" | And they're off! | Final thoughts....
4: After a scant 100 miles of riding RAAM riders and crew are in the brick oven heat and rough roads of the Sonoran Desert. | Day 1 - Coast To Desert! | The lumpy road out of Borrego, with the Montezuma Grade in the background. | Note the dust mask on the Osprey. This helps keep the throat and lungs from getting excessively irritated and dried out by the intense desert conditions. It also prevents the lower lip from getting cracked from the sun That is if you wear it (the Osprey got very chapped lips during RAAM). | Note the sign at right. "There's a library around here?!"
5: Below: The road to nowhere, from nowhere, out in the middle of nowhere... the tiny dot at the far end of the photo is the Osprey | Left: "Let's see, we could count the telephone poles..." Below: effect of flash floods and general erosion on the road surface. | Below: At last we reach the foot of Yarnell Grade and will be exiting the desert for cooler elevations. The Congress 'Hotel' offers the riders a dip in their 'pool'. I had hoped to stay longer to play with the rubber duckies but no such luck... | Day 2 - More Unrelenting Desert
6: Day 3 - The Osprey Almost DNFs | The road from Tuba City to Kayenta in Northern Arizona would suck the life out of any bike ride (and rider). On this day it was a hot, headwindy, and grindingly uphill ride to the Utah border. Most RAAM riders struggle to cope with this stretch and third day of triple digit temps. | Right: Woo woo! Check out the little dust devil! | Above left: I wish I could say Bill was running very fast, but he wasn't. At this point it was getting to be a struggle. The sun was cooking the back of my legs all afternoon. After this day, I would be wearing full coverage of arms and legs. Not quite visible in this photo are the lovely 2 inch seams in the road (ow) about 10 yards apart along much of this 70 mile leg.
7: Day 4 - Utah At Last | Above: Good morning Sunshine! (Anybody seen her comb?) | Left: The Osprey with night crew Jackson. A little stretch before we push off! | Are you happier now, Janet? | Above: With the beautiful monuments in the background, the Osprey is thinking she could possibly find a smaller country to ride across.... | Breathtaking Monument Valley!
8: Road Hazards on the RAAM Course...not just for the Rider! | Underside of the damaged van. "Guess what happened to us on the road into Durango!?!" | Crew Chief Bill replaces a leaking tire. Crew chief job description: jack of all trades and doer of all things as the need arises. | After dark, heading into Durango, CO, a large bear wandered onto Highway 160 which is an undivided road. Bill and Kathryn were in the secondary crew vehicle and were unable to avoid hitting it. They then swerved into oncoming traffic after sideswiping the bear (who was on his way to God). Bill somehow managed to recover control of the vehicle to get back on the his side of the road, *without* rolling the van. | Kathryn was in the back being hurled from one side of the van to the other while all this was happening. Luckily she suffered only a few bruises, and no doubt a bad scare.
9: Sun up and Sun Down Across the USA | Above: A sunrise in southern Ohio | Below: Sunrise in the West Virginia mountains | Above and below: There were many gorgeous sunsets on the RAAM route. This could be Indiana, Missouri or Pennsylvania.
10: Day 5 - Big Bad Wolf Creek Pass | Wolf Creek Pass is an 8 mile climb averaging 8 percent. Note the sign at upper left indicating not one, but *two* runaway ramps. This is a major trucking route as it is the only major road though southern Colorado. | At night Wolf Creek Pass can be quite cold and windy for sweaty and shivering RAAM riders! The Osprey was lucky to hit it at midday but in previous years has gone over the summit after midnight. Burrrrrr! | This day featured 3 major climbs over the Continental Divide: Wolf Creek Pass summitting at 11,000', La Veta Pass at 9,400' and Cuchara Pass at 10,000'. Left: A double rainbow over La Veta Pass
11: Cuchara Pass on the Highway of the Legends is my favorite part the RAAM route and features unique stone wall formations. We hit it right at sunset but alas nobody was snapping photos. The photo at right below is purloined off somebody's web site. | Right: Around mid afternoon some very unstable weather, complete with a wall cloud and radically shifting winds (not good!) moved in. But after only a light rain going over the La Veta Pass, the sun broke through and gave us an breathtaking evening for the last of the Rockies. | Above: unstable weather moving in. Left: A double rainbow approaching La Veta Pass | Above: The stone wall formations over Cuchara Pass: "Dakota era sandstone", whatever that means.
12: Days 6-7 - Ahhh the Midwest Plains | Eastern Colorado is a rolling treeless landscape of hard scrabble farms and ranch country. In RAAM 2012 it was the first day of blessed tailwinds. But not much relief from near triple digit heat. Kansas in contrast is corporate agriculture with huge farm equipment and multistory structures. | A new feature is seen in the landscape...the color green - as well as a new feature in the weather , humidity! | Horses started running at the site of the Osprey riding by. "Hey, wait for me!"
13: Sign at right: Endless summer? | Above: "Well, there are lots of corn fields to look at..." Right: tired crew outside the Kim, CO convenience store, the first store in 65 miles! | Not quite in Kansas yet: The RAAM route bids adieu to the last of the Rocky Mountain foothills to the north as it heads into eastern Colorado. | ...Absolutely no idea what this is..
14: One Beat Up Osprey | All RAAM riders develop puffy eyes, paunchy looks and swollen hands and limbs. They take longer and longer each day to remount the bike after a sleep break. Note Justin checking his watch. A RAAM crew must develop the ability to look at the rider with fixed smiles on their faces, no matter how awful their rider is looking. The rider will eventually get rolling and almost feel normal within an hour or so of getting on the bike, no matter how stiff and sore they felt on waking.
15: "Aw c'mon Janet, smile! That's better." | Above: Not sure why Bill needs to hold the bike here, but this became increasingly common as my balance and coordination deteriorated | Below: Note the chapped lower lip in spite of copious applications of chapstick
16: Days 9-10 We are in the Eastern USA and EST Time | Left: Illinois - small town main street. Note the broad leaf trees. We're back east now! | Above: Indiana welcomes RAAM riders with friendly honks and humid skies. Temps still warm but only just above 90 now. | A beautiful quiet back road in rural southern Indiana (Indiana ain't flat!) | Ohio is a great state along the RAAM route. Locals will ask riders to autograph their kid's sweat shirts, or to shake the rider's hand. They also line the entire RAAM route with signs for "Race Across America."
17: Southern Ohio becomes increasingly hilly and rural as we approach the Appalachians. Above, Team Osprey encounter a pack of wild dogs around 5 or 6am. Jackson seems to think that water mister will scare them off. The Osprey thinks she'll have better luck with her water bottle.
18: Above: We went through here in the heat of the day. The last couple miles had road construction that forced me to dismount and walk over a particularly rough road surface for the last mile. | Above: "Truck cheese, a welcome sign! We are leaving the Appalachians. However, not much rest for the weary. The hills of western Maryland lie ahead... Left: Aaron does a 'water bottle' hand off. | Day 12 - West Virginia, "Wild and Wonderful!" | The Appalachian stretch of the RAAM route is considered the most demanding part of the entire RAAM route by most RAAM riders.
19: Below: Western Pennsylvania and western Maryland are both lovely rural rolling landscapes. This was our last night of RAAM 2012. | Left and below: A series of long steep hills completes the EXCESSIVELY hilly region between West Virginia and Maryland. In 2009 the Osprey fumed this many hills "should be illegal". Her crew sympathized while somehow managing to keep a straight face. | Maryland - "Little America" | Above: This was the first overcast day of the entire RAAM as temps finally dropped below 90 degrees. Actually it's not that overcast. These are b/w's. | The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania | Right: Jackson stands atop a Gettysburg monument and makes SURE the Osprey does not miss the turn.
20: Day 13 - A Mad Dash to Annapolis | The light comes up on the last day of RAAM. The Osprey finally comes back to life after hours of "sleep riding" all night. No need for caffeine now...! | Note the lengthy backlog of morning traffic behind us. | We narrowly make the Mt Aery time station cutoff. But Osprey and crew have to stay on pace to make the Odenton time station cut off, and are now tangled up in commuter traffic on narrow hilly roads. | Impatient commuters were making dangerous crosses over the double yellow lines, desperate to get around us in spite of blind hills and curves and oncoming traffic.
21: And finally into the streets of Annapolis... | Above: We're finally off the narrow roads! "Which way to Annapolis?" Above right: The road is wider and much safer, except now we're contending with traffic lights. The Osprey crew drove ahead and marked the turns. A wrong turn now could spoil their chances for an official finish! | Right: Ahhhh, this is much better. We reach Odenton with time to spare.
22: Annapolis - Finish Line Fun! | At right, the Osprey changes her 'ensemble' for the ride down the finishing chute. Check out the mangled feet. Kathryn was very brave to even go near them without latex gloves. | RAAM facebook: "We may be going out on a limb here; but we're going to state that in the 31 year history of RAAM no rider has ever stopped short of the finish line to have his/her crew outfit him/her in a pink feather boa, pink "Barbie" sunglasses and a pair of red LOOK clipless pumps...complete with cleats. Please contact RAAM if you have information otherwise. Thank you." | Left: Yes, that is my crew chief holding me up from behind. Below: "Wow, walking upright feels weird"
23: Pop quiz: Which of the three pairs of legs just rode 3000 miles? | Left: I don't think George Thomas can quite believe what he is seeing but he keeps his commentary going anyway. | Above: One very relieved crew chief. "Is the RAAM bug squished for good now, Janet?" | And one very proud older sister. | Right: First place solo woman, and 6th overall (!) Trix Zgraggen seems to like my boa. She finished in just over 10 days, the fastest solo woman in almost 20 years (and mother of three)!
24: Left: The daytime crew, David, Ellen and Aaron. David is the team photographer, Ellen and Aaron are from Calgary, Canada ("eh?"). | Right: Um, the Clyde Barrow Gang...? Nope, this is the night crew, Jackson, Justin and Vicky. | Left: The day before RAAM, some of the crew (Ellen, Aaron and Bill) are a bit under occupied (that won't last for long). In the background, RAAM media is interviewing riders.rs. | Meet The Osprey Crew! | With the exception of crew chief/co crew chief Bill and Kathryn, the Osprey crew were new to crewing, had never previously participated in RAAM and only joined the crew a month before race start. A very steep learning curve!
25: The Crew Chiefs | Bill and Kathryn have been on all four of the Osprey's solo RAAM attempts. And they like each other alot too! Please excuse Bill's unshaven appearance. He was up all night the previous night being the "meltdown net" | Right: Who's that good lookin' guy? Crew Chief Bill is a creative idea engine, a highly sought after crew chief, devoted friend, and author of "Planet Janet" (sung to the tune of...?) | Right: Kathryn is the logistics ace of Team Osprey. Do not make a move without running it by her. Also former head of the San Diego County Chapter of Girls on the Run.
26: Dave is a local guy from La Jolla, CA and was the team photographer. As such we don't have many photos of him. Which is ok because he's kind of a behind the scenes guy. Right Dave? | Vicky overcame flying anxiety to board a transcontinental airliner to San Diego, only to turn around and drive really slowly on secondary roads back to the east coast. She was the team PT and massage person. | Being a survivor of many things including cervical cancer, it was still difficult for her to watch the ridiculous risks we took and to watch me get so physically and mentally beat up over the 12 days of RAAM. | Left: The crew has fun on Vicky's "Bike Friday" during a RAAM practice session to learn bottle hand offs and driving the follow van behind the rider. This took place in the Qualcomm Stadium parking lot. Go Chargers!
27: Aaron is a motorbike sports guy and through great unselfishness was willing to leave his beloved hobby and spend his vacation time crewing for Team Osprey. He was the team inventor, and built a Shermer neck brace and ice "back pack" out of whatever materials he could find. | The ice pack got a lot of use for the many hot afternoons on the RAAM course. Fortunately the neck brace was not needed. | And yes, Ellen and Aaron also like each other alot! | I asked her to come up with some stuff to read to me during RAAM but such was my state of mental deadness it never got read. Sorry Ellen! | Ellen is an elementary school art teacher, (so used to dealing with little children which is a useful RAAM crew skill). Ellen was also tasked with making sure Aaron and Dave behaved on the day crew.
28: Jackson is a graduate student in marine biology, and the crew expert on yoga. Namaste, man. When he gets back from his endless summer of retreats and seminars, he will take us all out to an authentic Dim Sum bar in LA. Apparently the Annapolis/Washington DC area is lacking such establishments. | Justin was our crew mechanic and chef in training. During this year's RAAM he discovered he was also an expert night follow driver and charismatic radio talk show host. On more than one night he talked the Osprey through some pretty rough stretches. Beyond RAAM, this Renaissance man is searching for his next endeavor.
29: Left: Special mention for our Cheech and Chong act! Jackson, Justin, and usually Vicky put on a fabulous series of road side skits to keep the Osprey very entertained. | The daytime crew were also able to keep the Osprey smiling with roadside antics. Below, Janet gets a pretty sizable water hand off from the day time crew. "Very funny, Aaron. Ha ha" | Right: Mystical Jackson holds the Mexican Hat rock formation in the palm of his hand. This famous sombrero shaped rock is in (you guessed it) Mexican Hat, Utah which the RAAM course passes through.
30: Clockwise from far upper left: "Hail my crew down when they pass by! "; checking in with Joani; "Let's just ride for a while."; Ok, now she's finally smiling. Her crew is looking a bit relieved. RAAM messes with the rider's mind as well as the body. | Right: The next day Rider 441 has caught up with me. "Good Heavens Joani, what're you doin' up so early this fine mornin?'" She is riding very well and looking the most relaxed we've seen her the entire RAAM. | Miserable Joani
31: Quirky Janet | An alien Janet sighting! | "David, are you going to do any serious work or play with that camera the entire trip!?" | Below: That's not an Osprey... | This is an Osprey! | When you're a jet, you're a jet all the way. From your first cigarette to your last dying days.... (Jet Song - West Side Story ) | Another one! The two pretzel sticks poking out of her helmet are supposed to be antennas for receiving messages from the mother ship.
32: 'Quirky' USA | Stuff you never see anywhere else but RAAM... | Sharing the road with some mighty big rigs. My advice: don't quibble, move over, way over! | Whoever said flying was safer than riding has never been to Congress, AZ | Welcome to Congress, AZ! Besides flying witches, it is home to the world's smallest hotel, seen in the background, and which also serves as general store, post office, and restaurant. Not shown: 10 foot kiddie pool for all guests and RAAM riders. | From western Pennsylvania: Easy to remember road names!
33: An Inside Look in a RAAM Van | The Osprey crew had a primary van, a secondary (chore) van, and a crew transport sedan. A crew coming on shift used the sedan to go from their motel to catch up to the rider and primary van. Then all crews swapped vehicles. The on shift crew moved into the primary van. The primary van crew moved to the chore van and the chore crew moved to the sedan and drive up the road to find a motel to sleep for 4-5 hours (ahhhh!). Chores are typically shopping, laundry, and whatever comes up | Things are packed in pretty tight. There's a lot of inventory and not much room. Looks like somebody's already goofin' off | Left: Note the gerry can on the roof. There are very few all night gas stations in middle America. Right: bikes usually go on the roof to save space.
34: The Osprey Crew in Action
35: Life on the Road | My habitat | Meals on wheels. You get good at doing pretty much everything on the road, eating, brushing your teeth, whatever it takes to keep rolling. | Sleeping quarters: Not exactly the Hilton, but you can stretch out comfortably enough. Not shown: the portable toilet (for obvious reasons).
36: Some Special Friends of Team Osprey | Media Bob: Team Osprey caught the attention of RAAM media photographer in 2008 when the Osprey rode by wearing double shorts, the outer pair inside out. "This will be the trend in RAAM fashions" declared the Osprey as she rode by. Media Bob was intrigued and has been a friend of Team Osprey ever since. | Needless to say this fashion did not become the trend. In fact, Kathryn, then a day time crew person, commented that the inside out chamois made the Osprey look like a baboon from behind. "Thank you, Kathryn." | Right: Sheila and Fred Boethling. Fred is the owner and business manager of RAAM. Sheilah has been a RAAM official for many years, and ardent supporter of Team Osprey. She met the Osprey in her first solo attempt when poor little Osprey got separated from her crew right out of Flagstaff and had no means to contact them. Sheilah calmed the panicky Osprey down and notified RAAM headquarters of the situation. | "Attention all RAAM crews: there is a lost little RAAM rider stranded on Route 89A. Please contact RAAM headquarters."
37: I was feelin' pretty good When you knocked me off my feet I tried to dodge the blows Tried to turn the other cheek But you were much too quick for me You were so much quicker than me And you had such determination Well I could travel on But I have to make a fuss I've been shutting out the lights too long Been dreamin' way too much I'd like to face the facts But they're changin' every minute And I'm sick of information I know the whole world is not out to get me But I won't be sleeping anymore I might look terrible but you'll have to let me Cause I won't be sleeping anymore No I won't be sleeping anymore My body's gettin' strong my heart is still a little weak If what you say is true Then you've been lyin' through your teeth I'm not the simple kid I was I'm not the easy mark And there's so many complications I know the whole world is not out to get me But I won't be sleeping anymore I might look terrible but that won't upset me Cause I won't be sleeping anymore No I won't be sleeping anymore There were times when I thought I was doin' my best But I made a mistake, I was never awake Yeah I walked through the valley of the shadow of death And I wanna come back I'm not ready for that "I Won't Be Sleeping Anymore" Stewart Copeland