Danny's 2002 RAAM Analysis Report 1

Since the new RAAM course favors Fasching's strengths [climbing] and does not prey on his weaknesses [desert heat], I predict he will win by at least one full day. His only real competition will be the clock and comparing his time station [TS] checkpoints/splits to his 2000 victory on a nearly identical route. As of TS#11 in Burley, ID [Hello Muffy Ritzz], he is 80 minutes behind [slower] than in 2000. I do remember though that we had VERY STRONG tailwinds for the first 2 days of 2000, so if the winds aren't as favorable this year, he could be doing as well or better than he did in 2000. I just found out that his goal is to break 8 days which would be AMAZING/PHENOMENAL on a course where most riders [myself included] times are close to a full day slower when compared to the old Southern Route. Why do you think Breedlove chose the faster Southern Route to try to break Tom Davies, Jr. age 50+ record? Because as Sam Beal [Good Luck in RAAM!] noted in the UMCA Mag. RAAM program only 8 riders in 2 years have ridden faster than Davies' 10D 6H record on the new Northern RAAM course.

Going under 8 days on the current 2,992 mile route would net Fasching the new undisputed average speed transcontinental solo record! To tie Penseyres 15.4 mph average speed record set in 1986, Fasching would have to finish in 8D 2.3H, to tie Secrest's 15.2 mph absolute time record of under 8 days set outside of RAAM in 1990, Fasching would have to finish in 8D 4.8H, and to tie Kish's 14.9 mph [the so-called RAAM record because it was done in RAAM and had a lower absolute time that Penseyres longer route], Fasching would have to finish in 8D 8.8H which he came damn close to doing in 2000 finishing in 8D 10H.

The only way to fairly compare all 3 of these records is to rank them by average speed as I have done. Do I think Fasching is capable of doing a sub 8 day crossing on this course? Yes, but the weather [winds and temperatures and lack of precipitation] will have to be in his favor. So the real race will be for 2nd place. I originally was going to pick Kish, but since Fabio and Patten have never placed that high before, I feel they will be hungrier than Kish, so I pick Fabio getting 2nd because he has more to avenge after dropping out last year than Patten does. Patten 3rd place, and Kish 4th.

I really don't know the rookies well enough to make any predictions, but will remind you all that Franz Venier [Good Luck in RAAM!] qualified for RAAM with an impressive 4th place finish in the UMCA 24 Hour World Championships in Iowa in 2000 finishing behind my 508 mile ride, 2nd place Herbert Meneweger, and 3rd place Ivan Dotto.

Can somebody please tell me why Keith Krombel was scratched from the RAAM starting roster?

Only 3 men have ever beaten Fasching in the solo RAAM. Can you name them? Which one beat him twice?

Good Luck all RAAM riders. Your current performances will go into the RAAM history books, so think long and hard if you really want a DNF next to your name. Also, how can you possibly let down your crew who are spending their summer vacations with you, your sponsors, and most importantly yourself by not making it to the finish line? Dropping out of RAAM is the one time where procrastination is preferred. Keep on putting off DNFing [one state at a time] until you reach the end when you can finally dismount your bicycles for good and reflect on a triumph journey well done.

Danny's 2002 RAAM Analysis Report 2

Having dropped down the long twisty descent to TS# 17 in Vernal, UT, Fasching is now 3:15 slower/down on his 2000 RAAM pace. Kish has caught Fabio at TS# 15 in Mountain View, WY. Tuesday the riders passed through Ogden, UT which has a population of about 77,000 making it the largest/biggest city on the entire RAAM route. A far cry from the terrible traffic we used to have to ride through Memphis, TN on the old Southern route.

Of the solo and tandem riders this year, only 9 of them have ridden on part of or all of the Northern Route. Only 3 finishers from last year could afford to return and race again this year. 3 DNF's from last year are back to try to finish this year. 5 finishers and 2 DNF's from 2000 are in the race this year.

I just read the rider's websites, and encourage crews with laptops to read other rider's websites to your rider over the minivan's PA loudspeaker to help pass the time. I had a crew member read Lance Armstrong's entire book "It's Not About the Bike" to me during the 2000 RAAM to keep me awake and riding at night. Last year, Alex Aichner [crewed for Herbert Meneweger in 2000] read the results of some 24 Hour drafting race in Europe which had just finished in which Meneweger did well, but Fasching did poorly after still being exhausted from his Mt. Everest climb. Fasching was quoted as saying that RAAM was tougher than climbing Mt. Everest which I liked hearing because I always wondered which was harder. Muffy Ritz is also in a position to make comparisons with RAAM and Mtn. climbing since she has climbed some 22,000 foot peak in South America. Yeah, but at least in RAAM there is not such great risk/danger as losing your life Mtn. climbing.

What I always liked about RAAM is how TIME seems to go by so much more slowly than in regular everyday life. Most people are so limited in their busy schedules that there never seems to be enough time to do everything they would like to do. Well during RAAM, riders have what seems to be ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD to do what they love to do most - RIDE - so I say to all you riders out there savor each and every minute of your RAAM experience to the fullest extent. TIME can be your enemy on RAAM when you are going through a very HELLISH low period not knowing how long it will last. But there can be no lows without highs to contrast them right?

Some things I used to tell myself during RAAM were: Racing a bicycle all the way across the United States is totally INSANE/MADNESS to which my crew would respond to me that I am the perfect man for the job. The would remind me that I LIVE for the race - THRIVE in it. My brother-in-law would tell me that I must truly be in heaven getting to ride so much and have a crew of people wait on me hand and foot the whole way across the country to which I could not argue with him. I would also tell myself about how much the other riders behind me would love to be up where I am now. Think about how badly the mountain I just climbed is going to hurt them when they do it tomorrow.

Also, I would start craving different foods like V8 juice, fish sandwiches, pizza, and any food a crew member had was fair game for me. Sometimes just the taste of some new/different food in your mouth can be so wonderful. So crew members do not be afraid to give your rider the food that they crave. I also had my 'yellow sheet' onto which I would have my crew write down my 12 and 24 hour mileage splits which I would read off my bike computer to them, and then we would see how close that mileage was with the route book. I would also record the weather, riders who I passed or who passed me, and any other memorable things that happened to me or my crew onto that yellow sheet.
Part of what makes RAAM so hard for rookies is that they do not know how much sleep per night is ideal for them so have to experiment a lot that first year. My first year, I slept too much, and my 2nd year, I did not sleep enough. Studying time station splits, it is fairly easy to tell when most people sleep since they usually stop for a total of 2 hours or more, but when people like Clavadetscher and Fasching only stop for an hour, it makes it much more difficult to tell because that time could have been lost due to a headwind or uphill section.

Finally, crew members do not be afraid to make modifications as often as needed to keep your rider as comfortable on the bike as possible. For example, cut away the whole front toe sections on shoes to keep feet cool and prevent black toenails. Switch over to different pedal/shoe combinations from time to time since each seem to hurt your feet in a slightly different area. It seems like that which you notice the most is whatever happens to be hurting you the most - remember these things will keep changing around from day to day.

Crew, please read my writings to your rider over the PA loudspeakers on your minivan

Danny's 2002 RAAM Analysis Report 3

Fasching still has a commanding lead, and is still about 3 hours slower than his 2000 pace. Exactly 3:13 at TS# 22 in Leadville, CO, but the official distance is 2 miles longer on this years route. One fun thing for multiple RAAM riders to do is compare their times over the same course from previous years. I will do that here for the 8 multiple RAAM riders in this years race. The times on the table are from this years race compared to the 2000 and 2001 RAAMs on an almost identical course. So 3:13 slower means Fasching's 2002 time is 3:13 more than his time in 2000 at TS#22, and Kish's 6:49 faster means that his 2002 time is 6:49 less than his time in 2000 at TS#20, and Kish's 2:42 faster means that his 2002 time is 2:42 less than his time in 2001 at TS#20.

Rider Name       Time Station #          2000 RAAM           2001 RAAM

Fasching                     22                    3:13 slower
Kish                           20                    6:49 faster               2:42 faster
Biasiolo                      18                    5:42 slower             DNF at UT/CO state line
Virag                          18                   15:57 faster             11:57 faster
Moonen                      18                                                   1:46 faster
Patten                         18                     8:25 slower             1:45 faster
Rieper                        15                    DNF after 500 miles in ID
Vincent                        9                                                   DNF after 400 miles in OR
Thomas[tandem]        17                      2:23 faster

At TS# 22 in Leadville, CO, my 2001 time was 12:20 slower than my 2000 time which was very depressing to me even though I knew strong tailwinds the first two days in 2000 accounted for much of that difference. The advantage of being say 10 - 14 hours ahead or behind of a previous year is that you get to see that part of the course that you may have missed the year before because you rode it at night or during a HELLish low period which you remember very little from. Riding through the cold high altitude parts of the race during the afternoon in warm temperatures is an advantage and a lot more fun than riding through them at night in the cold. Biasiolo, Buckley, and I FROZE in 32 degree F temps over Tennessee Pass and through Leadville in the 2000 RAAM while leader Fasching rode this section in the warm afternoon. Looks like Fasching may have lucked out again this year as he crested Tennessee Pass and got through Leadville at 8:50 local time close to sunset. Looks like Larsen and Kish will not be so lucky this year. In 2000, FREEZING over Tennessee Pass and through Leadville was probably the single most difficult part of the race for me that year. I was ready to go down for a sleep, but somehow my RV was nowhere around forcing me to keep riding VERY MISERABLE! I had to keep telling myself that at least I am not going to freeze to death like people do on Mt. Everest [Did I really mention that Fasching said RAAM was tougher than climbing Everest?] everything is relative and you can probably always find some poor bastard who has it worse off then you do. When I finally hooked up with them, I quickly got inside the RV and ate warm soup while my feet thawed out enough to allow me to take a shower before bed. However being over 12 hours slower in 2001 allowed me to totally enjoy the AMAZING scenery over Tennessee Pass and through Leadville in warm afternoon temps.

The first rider to drop out this year is Jack Vincent, but at least he made it 175 miles farther [to Bliss, ID] this year than he did last year. I haven't mentioned the rookies yet because what they do in the first 1,000 miles doesn't guarantee that they will even make it to the finish line. Still, I am very impressed with Allen Larsen who I thought Kish was going to catch today, but Larsen had a solid 36 minute lead over Kish going through TS#20 in beautiful Steamboat Springs, CO. Just after this town in 2000, I passed Herbert Meneweger who looked pretty bad [after riding near the front of the race up until then] and soon after dropped out in Wolcott, CO. Rookie Stefan Lau is also riding well. At TS#19 in Craig, CO he was about 3.5 hours behind Kish. Fabio should have gone through there about an hour behind Lau at 19:00, but he is still not reported in yet meaning either his crew didn't report his time in or he had a long stop losing at least 4 hours. Being a good friend of mine, I hope he is not in serious trouble. GO FABIO!!!!!!!!! I think that the 85.5 mile stretch between Dinosaur [TS#18] and Craig [TS#19] may very well be the toughest of the entire course because it is so long and desolate with no real towns anywhere along the route, but both years I have ridden that section in the hot daytime - perhaps it is best ridden at night?

The most difficult aspect of RAAM is probably dealing with the sleep deprivation aspect which can cause hallucinations. Last year near the Time Station in Craig, CO, it was dusk in Hayden, CO, and I had a vivid hallucination that some trees ahead of me were camouflaged army war planes with shark-like teeth on them. Shortly after that just before Steamboat Springs, CO, I "saw" people stick figure outlines all over huge rock walls alongside of the road.

There are too many HIGHS and LOWS to pinpoint any one thing as the toughest problem. Riders are thinking [even KISH!!] why did I get myself into this? It seems to be taking forever. Maybe just before the halfway point is toughest because they are very tired by then, but not even halfway done yet. Visualization of making it to the finish line in FL. When I am very tired/sleepy at night, I often imagine myself crashing and how painful it would be to have to shower with those open wounds for the rest of the race in order to keep alert enough to stay upright on the bike.

More on night riding. As I am riding through I know is open space in say Oklahoma, I often imagine there being huge nearly vertical hillsides on each side of the road since I can only see the small section of area which my follow vans headlights illuminate. Out West with very far away [BIG] vistas, night time is excellent to see the flashing lights on the follow vehicle of a rider who might be at least an hour ahead of you. It can also be very discouraging to see the lights of a town in a valley ahead off you, and then having it take you like 3 hours to get there when you feel as though you should have been there in say half an hour.

I also can't emphasize enough go out of your way to give your rider the food they crave! If you have an RV, fully utilize the kitchen in it. Last year Alex Aicher cooked me up tasty pasta, rice pudding, scrambled eggs and ham/bacon, and potatoes which I all [except for the potatoes] out of a cup which I shook into my mouth while riding. A RAAM rider has to pretty much learn to do everything or quite simply LIVE ON THEIR BIKE! After the scorching sun [I often felt as though RAAM was nothing more than a WAR of rider against the sun] drops low on the horizon in the evening, hand your rider a small wet towel or washcloth so they can wipe the days sweat and grime off of them while they are coasting downhill - small things like this may seem almost trivial, but if they make your rider feel better is he/she not going to ride faster? You want to maximize the % time you are sleeping when off of your bike. I think 65 - 75% is good, but closer to 80 - 90% would be ideal.

If riding fast/hard is known as hammering, than I told me crew that riding easy should be known as lightly tapping the pedals after which a crew member told me to think of RAAM as nothing more than a long tap dance all the way across the country. I think at that every RAAM rider experiences some kind of meltdown in which the crew needs to give them such a good pep talk that the rider breaks down in emotional tears telling the crew how much they love them and the crew telling the same thing to the rider - thus this is why such a tight bond is formed between rider and crew on RAAM! The crew has to make the rider believe they can accomplish such a very difficult goal as finishing or winning RAAM.

Riders can get so far apart in the second half of the race that you can go for days without seeing another solo rider. Big time gaps are almost impossible to close unless you have the speed in your legs of a RAAM team. Gerry Tatrai had just that when he went from being some 17 hours behind the leader in CO in the 1999 RAAM to passing me just after I stopped for a sleep in AK to take the race lead. Gerry was posting time splits as fast as the teams, and when a rider is riding this well, a crew gets so totally charged our of it [just ask Gerry's crew chief Chuck Giles about that] that the crew is actually far more excited than the rider is when the riders catches and passes another rider. I call this a BLITZ MODE into which the crew transforms. I think that 1999 RAAM with 3 riders [myself, Fasching, and Tatrai] being together at the TN/GA state line with less than 400 miles to go was the most exciting RAAM which I have ever experienced.

Certain riders have different styles of winning RAAM. Clavadetscher and Fasching seem to win by huge time margins, whereas both of my RAAM victories were considered very close with 2nd place being within 3 hours.

I just want to thank all of the people manning the RAAM time station data and the RAAM webmaster for doing such a terrific job. Often I notice updates on the website within an hour of real time, and sometimes even within 20 minutes!

Danny's 2002 RAAM Analysis Report 4

Fasching's cumulative average speed has finally dropped below 15mph for the first time in the race. Posting a negative split [faster 2nd half than first half] is very rare in RAAM because of the cumulative fatigue and sleep deprivation taking their toll on the riders. I must commend Cassie Lowe for being able to do this! I have tried, but have never been able to do it. The fact that 70% of the climbing occurs in the first half of the course certainly should help riders go faster on the flatter 2nd half, but in the middle part of the country [especially OK] prevailing winds are often South in the riders faces since the course heads Southeast much of the time. At Time Station #28 in Springfield, CO, Fasching is now 5:17 slower than his 2000 pace. That is a lot of time to make up, so it looks like he will not be able to break 8 days, set a new average speed record, or beat his own time from 2000. This may deal him a big mental setback [if he was hell-bent on going sub 8 day] perhaps giving Kish some hope of catching him especially if it is extra hot and humid [which Kish is used to] for the rest of the race. Kish is about 8-9 hours behind Fasching.

I checked the weather for Trinidad, CO today, and the wind was blowing out of the North at 9mph at 9:00 race time, and blowing out of the South at 21mph at 21:00 race time giving Fasching a distinct advantage over Kish on the due South stretch on Interstate 25 from Walsenburg to Trinidad. One note her about how in 100+ degree heat staying down on the aero bars can really cook you because you have less wind blowing on you to 'cool' you. Kish passed rookie sensation Larsen today to move into 2nd place, but I read that he was sleeping when it happened. Getting passed by another rider when you are sleeping is not nearly as bad as getting passed on the road - the CARDINAL SIN of RAAM! The passer gets a tremendous charge out of both catching and dropping their prey. While it can be terribly demoralizing to the rider being caught. Crews have even been known to pull their rider off their bike as to not make the rider have to suffer through it. Since I tend to sleep more than most riders [3 hours per night] I often get passed while I am down, but once I awaken I then have a rabbit in front of me to chase down. This has happened to me several time with Kish, and last year with Mark Patten who sleeps much less than me. And in 1999 against Fasching who was also sleeping much less than me. In fact, knowing that I was getting more sleep than him and still being able to catch and pass him was so demoralizing to him that the next year in 2000, he specifically asked his crew to tell him NO TIME SPLITS for the entire race. Whether he is also doing that this year, I do not know. Larsen is in 3rd place about 3.5 hours behind Kish, and Stefan Lau is in 4th place about 2.5 hours behind Larsen. Compared to some RAAMs I have been in, this is a pretty close race this year for 2nd place. After passing Tom Buckley at the halfway point in the 2000 race, I did not see another solo rider for the rest of the race.

I got an e-mail today from the races first DNF Jack Vincent who told me that his crew abandoned him at TS# 9 in Bliss, ID. The same thing happened to Cindi Staiger many years ago, but she returned with a family crew to avenge her DNF with a sweet victory. In more recent years Cindi has been a race official and crew member of mine and other riders. Could DNFs possibly be contagious? Nobody wants to be the first person to do it, but after riders hear about so and so dropping out, I think it might put ideas in their heads that they might be the next one to go. A day after Jack's DNF, Fabio dropped out at the same location [Dinosaur, CO] as last year with the same problems - saddle sores. Fabio now has 3 RAAM finishes in the past 7 years. Next it was Sandy Earl to drop out in Manila, UT. Finally, Mark Patten dropped out in Wolcott, CO just before the long climbs up to Tennessee Pass and Leadville [a town at over 10,000 feet]. None of these 3 riders were even in last place when they arrived at the time station which they quit at. I think riders should not be permitted to drop out unless they are in very last place or in danger of not making the finishing time limit. My own philosophy on dropping out is as follows. I have always felt that the farther I made it into the race, the bigger investment I had in the race so the less likely I would drop out after coming this far already.

I am always amazed at how fast the lead teams go across the country compared to the solo riders. The leading team Royal Air Force [RAF] made it into CO before the solo leader Fasching exited the state - what I call a stating the competition. RAF's average speed [21.7mph] is more than twice as fast as the last 3 solo riders, and as I write this they are probably passing the Thomas/Gooch tandem and FREEZING up the climbs to Tennessee Pass and Leadville. The excitement of getting caught by a team I found motivating, and sometimes I would surf [staying behind, but within sight of them] for long stretches - more so with the slower teams which average closer to 17-18 mph, but the time that I gained using the teams was probably soon lost after exhausting myself would catch up with me causing my pace to slow or requiring a long sleep break.

One year after a sleep break, my crew and I were so disoriented that we started down the road in the wrong direction. A trick I sometimes use on RAAM is to move my sleep time back an hour earlier each night so that I make 23 hour days instead of 24. I like to make sure I am tired enough when I finally do go down so I have my RV and minivan stay real close together and might have the RV drive 5-10 miles up the road to find a nice level spot to pull off on, but I might make them do this 3-5 times before I am ready to stop riding which can piss them off! I like to call all off my own shots throughout the entire race. One year I had a diesel RV which fumigated me every time they would drive past.

A word about rookies and how high the current era winners have placed their rookie years. Kish finished unofficially in 8th place in 1985. Gerry Tatrai finished 3rd in 1991. I finished 4th in 1994. Fasching got 3rd in 1996. Clavedetscher finished 6th in 1998. Rookies Larsen and Stefan Lau riding in 3rd and 4th places are very impressive. Finishing there would be quite an achievement, though this year there seemed to be an extra high % of rookies riding. It is rather odd that of the 4 riders who have already dropped out, only one of them Sandy Earl is a rookie. Perhaps knowing how painful and difficult a race RAAM is can actually work against a rider who knows exactly what to expect.

Danny's 2002 RAAM Analysis Report 5

The tough headwinds in Oklahoma are taking their tolls on the fatigued rider's average speed. Fasching's cumulative average speed has fallen to 14.52mph. Kish was only able to average 12.1mph for the 78 mile stretch between TS#30 [Slapout] and TS#31 [Mooreland]. The lead RAF team was only able to average 19.3mph for the 61 mile stretch between TS#29 [Boise City] and TS#30 [Guyman].

Kish is about 9.5 hours behind leader Fasching. Larsen is about 6 hours behind Kish. Stefan Lau is about 3.5 hours behind Larsen. Koning is about 1 hour behind Lau. The lead RAF team went through TS#30 [Guyman] just 8 minutes behind Larsen so it is most likely that they have caught and passed Larsen by now. RAF should catch Kish around sunrise Saturday morning, and they should catch Fasching on Saturday night around the OK/AR state line.

At TS#32, Fasching is 8:15 slower than his 2000 pace, 1:20 faster than my 2000 pace, and dead even with Clavedetscher's 2001 pace. At TS#31, Kish is 5:00 faster than his 2000 pace, and 0:30 faster than his 2001 pace. At TS#28, Virag is 15:00 faster than his 2000 pace, and 14:30 faster than his 2001 pace. Making it to TS#26 is farther than Moonen's DNF at TS#20 in 2001. Making it to TS#21 is farther than Rieper's DNF in ID in 2000. At TS#25, George Thomas is 2:00 faster than his 2000 tandem pace with another partner [Katie Lindquist].

Patten dropped out at TS#21 in Wolcott before the beautiful climbs up TN Pass and through Leadville. This is the same exact place where Herbert Meneweger dropped out of the 2000 RAAM after riding near the front of the race early. I've got to give Kish credit for finishing 8th in 1999 and 6th in 2000. I mean going on behind many riders he had beaten before couldn't have been an easy thing to deal with mentally. Kish had placed 8th overall though two other times. In his 1985 rookie year, and again in 1989. He has placed everywhere in between 1st and 8th except for 4th and 7th.

I always got depressed upon leaving the beautiful Rocky Mountains behind. The difference between Western OK and Eastern OK is like night and day. Western OK is dry, windy and barren while Eastern OK is humid and lusciously green with many trees and insects from abundant rainfall. All of a sudden you feel yourself drenched in sweat. One of my great pleasures of RAAM is to remove my jersey in the evening after a scorcher of a day and ride bare topped until my sleep break. In the Eastern half of the county where it is so humid, I would get very slimy to which bugs would stick to me. A RAAM rider gets extra strong stinky smelling sweat which must totally dominate their poor crew if they get too tired to keep the RV and minivan clean. Also because of a loss in body fat, cold temperatures at night seem some 15-20 degrees F colder than nonRAAM conditions. Because of this, it is important for the crew to keep their rider dressed warm enough at night.

I really like the town of Glenwood, AR because it is small and has a bridge crossing the beautiful Caddo River in which you see locals swimming in. It is extremely tempting to stop for a swim, but then you are reminded that RAAM is a race and time would be lost doing such a FUN activity.

Knowing riders sleeping Patterns makes it much easier to analyze time station data. For example, Fasching usually sleeps much earlier in the night than Kish does, and Fasching usually sleeps less than Kish. Rider position changes are HUGE in RAAM especially if they are for the lead. Passing your competition simply because they went down for a sleep break sooner than you did is not really a valid position change because when you go down for your sleep break you will usually wake up behind them.

Sometimes I will tell my minivan crew to leapfrog far ahead/behind me so that I can enjoy total peace and quit [if I am on a back country road] to end the stress of the race which a rider can feel when their crew is with them. A rider can get very sick of their crew after many days into the race, but this does not mean that they don't still need the crews help. One year I nicknamed a crew member [Tom Holland in 1996] the Hydration Enforcer because he made sure that I drank enough in the hot afternoon heat giving me Camalbaks often and saying, "I want to see a piss out of you Chew at least every 90 minutes." At times he would actually over hydrate me making me piss every 30 minutes which gave me bladder muscle cramps. But better to be over hydrated than under. Another year I nicknamed a crew member [Roger Lomshek in 1999] Mr. Freeze because he would keep me wetted down often to beat the tough afternoon heat.

At times in RAAM I have though as myself as a lab rat or guinea pig which my crew is using to conduct an experiment on. Lets see what happens to him when he rides over 300 miles per day on very little sleep for over a week. When I get so extremely tired that I have almost no energy to put into the bike to pedal it forward, I imagine myself as a ball bearing rolling down a runway or inclined plane all the way to the East Coast.

Isn't it strange how contestants on some reality TV show such as "Survivor" which is far less difficult than RAAM can win so much more money than RAAM riders win, and become famous celebrities while a RAAM winner like myself can virtually be seen almost anywhere in the world and not be recognized by the noncycling community - even the USCF and Mtn Bike population? RAAM is loved and known about only be a very small segment of [wo]mankind.

Danny's 2002 RAAM Analysis Report 6

3[4] more casualties of RAAM today [Saturday]. Ish Makk dropped out at TS#24 in Westcliff, CO. Bryon Rieper dropped out at TS#21 in Wolcott, CO - a lot farther than where he quit in ID in 2000. The 2 person mixed Team Two Roads dropped out at TS#20 in Steamboat Springs, CO - Tracy Fawns was probably reminded about having to watch the rider she was crewing for - Energizer sponsored Andrew Otto DNF in CO in 2000. Makk and Team Two Roads were both on pace to beat the Friday, June 28th Noon deadline for all RAAM riders when they dropped out, yet Kulow and Arap are not on pace to finish before then, yet they keep on moving Southeastward on two wheels rotating their legs [cycling is nothing more than repeated Leg Rotation or LR for short] refusing to give up. I think DNF is a state of mind. How else can you explain some people like Kish who does not have the word DNF in his vocabulary? He 'finished' unofficially in his very first RAAM way back in 1985. This whole official finisher thing on RAAM has always been ambiguous. What is the point of calling a rider a finisher if it was unofficial? Listen here all you RAAM riders still in the race, if your heart tells you to finish no matter what, do not let the time deadline deter you from reaching the Gulf of Mexico in Florida. RAAM riders are enough of an honest bunch of people that even if there are no officials around to record your arrival time, we will take your word for it as to when you finished. Has Kish given up in his first 1985 RAAM, he may have never raced again.

Fasching's average speed has decayed to 14.28mph. He is still about 8 hours slower than his 2000 pace, and half an hour faster than Clavadetscher's 2001 pace. Kish is about 11-12 hours down on Fasching. He is about 1.5 hours slower than his 2001 pace, but 5 hours ahead of 2000. Larsen is about 6 hours behind Kish. At TS#33 in Lahoma, OK, Stefan Lau is nearly 5 hours behind Larsen. Koning is about 3 hours behind Lau. At the front of the race, riders are starting to get spread far enough apart that hopes of catching the person in front of you greatly dim. I call 2 hours the time range which keeps you motivated to catch the rider in front of you. It is reasonable to make up that amount of time, but more than that and you are stretching it. I can remember going after leader Kish in the 1995 RAAM when I was about 1.5 hours behind him in Conway, AR. My minivan stopped to fuel up at a gas station, and I kept riding straight and missed a turn. I must have ridden about 5-7 miles before I stopped and waited for my crew which showed up about 5 minutes [the longest 5 minutes of my life] later and shuttled me back on course. I lost a total of about 45 minutes putting me 2:15 behind Kish after I had been working so hard to close that gap down to an hour - I was DEVASTATED!!!!! Late in the race [120 miles to go] I got to within 15 minutes of Kish, but he had just woken up from a sleep break and I hadn't slept in over 20 hours so was toast. I was willing to risk my 2nd place overall to go for the win. I was so exhausted that with only 25 miles left in the race, I had to stop for a 2 hour sleep break in the minivan. After that, I was able to finish very fast, but 3rd place Gerry Tatrai finished less than an hour behind me. If possible, I highly recommend that you rest up enough before the end to have a very enjoyable fast finish so that you remember that instead of crawling in dead on your hands and knees at a snails pace. A RAAM rider needs MORE[not less]sleep towards the end of the race, yet many crew chiefs will cut back the amount of sleep their rider gets in the last couple of days. Remember more sleep means faster on the bike and that means a happier more motivated rider.

Virag must be in good spirits if he considers he is still more than 16 hours faster than both his 2000 and 2001 paces. Tandem George Thomas is still about 2 hours faster than his 2000 pace. You can see that there can be both advantages [if you are faster] and disadvantages [if you are slower] to comparing your pace to previous years.

Fasching made the last time station [#37 in Yanush] in OK about the same time I did last year - at nightfall - but a full day ahead of my last years pace. You drop down off a mountain into the tiny little town, with the roaring [almost deafening] sound of insects croaking. If Fasching makes it to the MS River tomorrow around the same time of day that I did last year - just after dark - he will have to ride through some of the worst bugs/insects that I have ever ridden through alongside Oxbow Lakes [formed after the MS River changed its course] on the AR side of the mighty river. It has been said that the race starts at this river. It used to be that there were some 700 miles remaining [when we crossed it at Memphis], but now there are less than 500.

I want to thank the good people of Kosciusko, MS [TS#45] for being so in tune with RAAM. At a parking lot in a park there, a man announces to a crowd [gathered to see the RAAM riders go by] what time the next rider is expected to arrive, and has the crowd cheering for you as you ride past. That was a key point in the race last year as I had been going back and forth with Mark Patten [under sleeping me]but never seeing him, and I finally passed his support crew on the shoulder of the road just before the time station which I learned that he hadn't gone thru yet. He was at either a motel or hospital dealing with some sort of nutritional problem which would cause him to give up 3rd place to me, and 4th place to Cassie Lowe. Patten has had a rough RAAM career placing 10th in 1998, dropping out with about 200 km to go in 1999, placing 8th overall in 2000, 5th overall in 2001, and dropping out at TS#21 in Wolcott, CO after putting in an over 2,000 Km investment in the 2002 RAAM.

RAF team went through TS#37 in Yanush, OK 3:05 after Fasching did. So they will obviously catch and pass Fasching before daybreak in AR on Sunday morning unless Fasching doesn't sleep which seems unlikely. If Fasching's total sleep stop time is 2 hours, it's possible that he could be passed just after he gets up from his stop and begins riding. The mechanic who works on the riders bike while they are sleeping has to get the bike done ASAP in case the riders wakes up early to ride. Also, the mechanic can watch and note any other riders who may pass by while their rider is sleeping. Mosquitoes can eat an outdoor crew alive on humid warm summer nights in the East.

The time and distance you are behind a rider can suddenly CHANGE unexpectedly in your favor if the rider ahead of you takes a surprise mid-day sleep break. You can suddenly go from being 1 hour behind them to one hour ahead of them. In the 1999 RAAM, I would get the lead from both Fasching and Clavadetscher in this manner.

Danny's 2002 RAAM Analysis Report 7

Fasching's cumulative average speed has fallen to 14.02mph, and Kish's below 13. At TS#43 in Parkgate, AR, Fasching is 11:28 slower than his 2000 pace, and 2:20 faster than Clavadetscher's 2001 pace. Kish is now 4 time stations or 184 miles behind Fasching. Looks like it would take some sort of catastrophe on Fasching's part in order for Kish to catch him. Kish is on his 2001 pace, and about 8 hours faster than his 2000 pace. Larsen is about 5 hours behind Kish. Stefan Lau has moved to only 2 hours [that critical time limit I speak of] behind Larsen in the fierce battle for rookie of the year title. About 6 hours behind Lau, the battle is on for 5th place between Koning and Virag who gained a big mental advantage by catching and passing Koning today. Going for 7th place, Sam Beal is only 2:03 behind Franz Venier at TS#35 in Bristow, OK.

The 2nd place 4 person Team Swiss Academic Skiclub has caught Kish and are chasing Fasching. I learned that the reason the Mixed Two-Person Team Two Roads had to drop out was because Stuart Nibbelin caught an pneumonia. Sorry about that Tracy.

Would somebody [Scott Johnson of TV film crew] please ask Fasching at the finish line why RAAM is tougher than climbing Mt. Everest while RAAM is still fresh in his mind? Use a translator since Fasching's English is not that good. But Fasching speaks the language of cycling very well. Letting his riding and results do the talking for him.

What are riders experiencing now after living on their bikes for more than a week? Strangely enough other things are probably hurting them more than their legs. Like their necks, shoulders, backs, feet, skin from sunburn, and rear ends. They have gotten to the point where there is no longer any comfortable position to sit on the bike. You tend to notice that thing which is hurting you the most at the time, and it can change daily. Also, riders may be experiencing difficulty eating due to an either alkaline or acidic chemistry giving them sold sores in their mouths and on their tongues. Brushing your teeth and gargling with Listerine can help this problem. Also, heat rashes on the inside of their thighs and behind the knees are common.

"When the going gets tough, the tough get going" is certainly applicable in the last 1,000 miles of RAAM. Those people who want to finish badly enough must focus out these discomforts and realize they are the result of their great achievement of already riding over 2,000 miles. In my 1996 RAAM, I developed saddle sores so badly that I had to climb all hills seated because if I stood, the Bag Balm bond between my shorts and skin would be broken causing extreme pain. My feet were so bad [this was before I cut the whole front toe section out of my shoes] that I tried to pull up on the pedals when riding over bumps but this meant pushing down on my saddle sores. You must tell yourself your body will have lots of time to heal and rejuvenate itself after the race is over.

There is a way for a rider to totally get away from the race - while they are sleeping [and I don't mean while riding]. I would sometimes have these dreams that I wasn't in the race which were very pleasant, but when I awoke, the nightmare called RAAM was upon me again. Seana Hogan once called RAAM an emotional roller coaster because of such extreme highs and lows. For every wonderful memory of RAAM I have, there is also a terrible/horrible/dreadful one to go along with it. There can be no highs without any lows right? The only advantage of feeling awful might be that there is nowhere for you to go but up.

The key to riding consistent/steady in RAAM is to even out these highs and lows so that you do not ride too fast during a high or too slow during a low. Since riding too fast for too long can send you into a low.

Danny's 2002 RAAM Analysis Report 8

The RAF team finished in 6D 0H 45M over 16 hours slower than their 2000 course record, and over 18 hours slower than Kern Wheelman's 4 man team RAAM record set in 1996 on a different course, but they lost a man after he crashed in Kim, CO. Fasching is expected to finish in 9 days - same time as Clavadetscher did last year, and some 14 hours slower than his 2000 course record. Kish is now about some 16-17 hours behind Fasching. He has fallen behind his 2001 pace slightly, but is still well ahead of his 2000 pace. At TS#44 in Belzoni, MS [poor Fabio will not get to see this town that he rode though in 2000 on his way to a 3rd place finish], Larsen is 3:35 behind Kish. Looks like his choice to forgo sleep last night [which brought him to within 2 hours of Kish this morning] did not work. Somehow he has lost about 90 minutes on Kish today - either by taking a nap or riding extremely slow from not sleeping last night.

Looking at the race photos, I saw some sort of neck brace being used by Larsen. He had duct tape [I knew there were 1,001 uses of duct tape, but used as a solution to Shermer Neck I hadn't heard of before] wrapped around his helmet with what looked like some weighted device hanging down his back to hold his neck up. I thank his crew for coming up with such a contraption to keep their rider on his bike. Shermer Neck seems to be a highly individualized problem plaguing some riders terribly and leaving other riders unaffected by it. I seemed to have it a lot worse on the new Northern Route where COLD night time temperatures play havoc on my neck muscles.

Stefan Lau is about 4 hours behind Larsen. Virag is about 6 hours behind Lau. As if being passed by Virag and Venier wasn't enough, Koning was also passed by Sam Beal perhaps during an extra long sleep break taken by Koning. George Thomas is on even pace with his 2000 tandem finish.

When there is such a strong Rookie field like in this years race, it can be tough on the veterans. Of the recent RAAM winners [Clavadetscher, Fasching, Chew, Tatrai, and Kish], only Kish and Tatrai have been beaten by rookies. The most recent rookie to beat Kish was Martin Lorenz in 2000. Tatrai was beaten by me [as a rookie in 1994], and all the other RAAM finishers since he dropped out that year. Some people seem to question whether a person is truly beaten by all the finishers in a race when they drop out. Consider this: When the ultimate goal is to finish the worlds toughest race, should those people who made it to the finish line not be given more credit to than those who did not?  Therefore, Seana Hogan also beat Tatrai in 1994.

Being led by a bunch of rookies can be quite demoralizing to a veteran, even though us veterans know what a very long race RAAM is with plenty of time and distance to catch riders ahead of us. Kish doesn't seem to care what rookies he is behind if it is still fairly early in the race. I can remember still being behind rookie Mark Patten in the 1998 RAAM in New Mexico. A rookie having an excellent race like Larsen is doing this year makes it a tough act to follow, but on the other hand gives him confidence to come back and one day win the event.

If your specialty is flat terrain in hot, humid weather like Kish, the mountains in the first half of the race may take so much out of you that there is really no recovery after them so that you are too exhausted [TIREDNESS BEYOND BELIEF is what I use to describe a riders condition after day 3] to capitalize on your strengths. Perhaps this explains why Kish is unable to close on Fasching in what should be his "ideal" riding conditions. Or could it be the 15 year age difference between them?

One trick I have learned to heal up the heat rash that forms on my thighs where the gripper at the bottom of my shorts is to turn that section of the shorts inside out so that the gripper is facing outward. Ride this way all night long and the rash should be gone by morning, but remember to make sure the scorching sun is at a low nonburning angle while you expose white skin this way.

Last night I got a phone call from my friend Bob Rich [I met him at 1999 Hell Week and he was on my 2000 RAAM crew] who is crew chief for Michael Lau. They were sitting in 10th place in OK when Bob called. Bob said it was so windy that he was almost knocked over just walking outside. Bob had to fire a crew member leaving them spread rather thin with just 7 remaining crew members and 3 vehicles. Bob said he was only averaging 2 hours of sleep per night. They were ahead of the Thomas/Gooch tandem - the last riders in the race who have a high enough cumulative average speed to make it to the finish line inside of the 12 Day 3 Hour time limit.

One of the most exciting things on RAAM [besides finishing] for a rider and maybe even more so for their crew is catching another rider towards the end of the race when most riders are spread out very far apart. You may have been chasing this rider for days, watching the time gap between you diminish, and then the climax of seeing the other rider is AMAZING - extremely uplifting! Unfortunately, these moments are not always caught on videotape since the TV film crew has to cover such a vast distance to go from the front of the race to the rear near the end.

I do not know everything by just looking at the time station splits. A rider catching and passing another rider may never show up on the splits because the rider was caught and passed by the rider they just caught and passed. Or perhaps after catching and passing a rider, you get lost going off route losing lots of time which means you get to the next time station well behind the rider you caught. Maybe you stop for a sleep break after you catch a rider, but before the next time station.

An interesting proof that you are crossing the country is to observe that the sun seems to set about 15 minutes earlier each night so the first night it sets at about 23:15 race time, and the last night it sets at about 20:30 race time. As the race went on, I would think back to where I was on the route each previous night at sunset. As you become progressively more tired during the race, you begin to dread the nights more and more as it becomes harder and harder to stay awake. I can remember asking my crew what time it was like every 5 minutes.

Danny's 2002 RAAM Analysis Report 9

All three of the 4 man teams beat Fasching to the finish line. The first 4 person mixed Team No Limits finished on Tuesday evening just before sunset. Fasching finished at 12:38 on Tuesday afternoon winning his 3rd RAAM tying Kish's 3 RAAM win record. Fasching's average speed was 13.62mph. His finishing time of 9D 3H 38M is 17:19 slower than his 2000 time, 3:21 slower than Clavadetscher's 2001 time, and 4:39 faster than my 2000 time.

Kish is expected to finish about 13-14 hours behind Fasching very early on Wednesday morning. Larsen is expected to finish some 6 hours behind Kish. Please go to the RAAM website and click on updates and Kosciusko, MS articles link to see a good photo of Larsen looking RAAM tired [few people will ever experience this sort of feeling in the whole lives] with his Shermer Neck remedy apparatus. I like photos like these which show just how taxing and event like RAAM is on a person. Larsen had to work very hard for over a week to get himself in this condition, so he and his crew should be very proud of it.

At TS#50 in Camden, AL, Stefan Lau is only 1:54 behind Larsen so there is a possibility that Lau may catch Larsen by the end. Both crews will be in frantic mode on their toes all night long very carefully watching exactly what the other rider does in terms of sleeping. I have found that if it comes down to a night finish with Kish, he can always get/beat me on sleep deprivation. In the 1998 RAAM we were battling it out for 3rd place. I had done a 20 hour charge to catch and pass him just after Midnight, but I soon came off of my high [I felt as though I was watching myself from outside of my body, and I wanted to fast forward to the finish line but I was stuck in slow motion] and could not even stay awake to ride the last 100Km of the race, so had to stop and sleep giving 3rd place back to Kish. So is the nature of RAAM - finding the perfect amount of sleep for a minimal time crossing. Sleep too little, and you will crawl on the bike, but sleep too much and you lose too much time to make back up by riding faster.

Virag is expected to finish some 14 hours behind Stefan Lau. In the battle for 8th place, at TS#42 in Monticello, AR, Michael Lau is only 2:08 behind Gus Moonen, and has over 500 miles [well over enough distance] to catch Moonen. They are approaching the mighty MS River where 'The Real Race Begins' right? At TS#40 in Arkadelphia, AR, the Thomas tandem has fallen 50 minutes behind George's 2000 pace. Their average speed has dropped to 10.5mph putting them on a pace to finish nearly 6 hours after the Friday Noon finishing time deadline. If ever there was a need to pick up their pace, now is it!

Looks like Koning was in serious trouble [to have been passed by 4 riders in about a day] since he dropped out at TS#38 in Mena, AR with just 700 miles to go. Since his average speed was still well enough to make the official time limit by over a full day, he should have taken another very long sleep break and mounted the bike again after that before dropping out. If there is anything that is FINAL in this world, it is a DNF in RAAM! Once done, there is no turning back, no second chances. Kulow and Arap were over a full day behind [well over the RAAM official time limit pace] Koning when he quit, yet they are still riding at a very slow pace which must be making some race officials angry if these officials suggested that they quit because of being so far behind. I think that since RAAM riders sink so much money into their RAAM effort, they should be allowed to continue riding knowing very well that their finishing time will be 'unofficial'. BUT where do you draw the line between RAAM and an elite PAC Tour where riders average close to as many mile per day as Kulow and Arap are doing? Considering the integrity of RAAM, is it really right to let slow riders turn the Race Across AMerica into the Ride Across AMerica?

Usually a crew will reserve hotel rooms at the finish line based upon their rider getting there in the fastest time possible. So when the crew sees that their rider will actually finish 1-2 days later than this, they have to call the hotel to cancel the rooms to keep RAAM expenses down.

The later/farther a rider drops out of RAAM, the tougher it is to cope with because of the "almost there" aspect. For a rider and crew to be denied a finish when they are less than a day away [or even closer in Patten's 1999 DNF] must be truly devastating! Would any RAAM rider ever be crazy enough to intentionally stop riding with less than a mile to go in RAAM to make a statement: I now hold the new record of being distinguished for dropping out of RAAM with the fewest miles to go or left in the race?

Austrian Hansjoerg Franz [who finished the 2000 RAAM in 14th place overall at age 25] has been translating the updates on Fasching's website for me. Fasching had to serve 30 minutes of penalties for his crew incorrectly parking their support vehicle. It sounded like officials made him serve the penalty right then and there. What happened to the old rule where riders served all of their penalties at the last time station before the finish line? Since he has such a huge time gap on Kish, Fasching has been eating any and everything no longer worried about possible stomach troubles.

Before Fasching leaves for Europe, please make sure that somebody asks him WHY RAAM is tougher than climbing Mt. Everest while RAAM is still fresh in his memory. I want a list of 10 or so reasons documented on either film or in writing! More people know about climbing Mt. Everest than RAAM.

On Saturday, June 22nd at Noon EST, Dr. Bob Breedlove left the Pacific Ocean in CA on his 7th transcontinental crossing to set a new record in the 50+ division. He is going after a record 10D 6H 14M which Tom Davies Jr. set in the 1995 RAAM. Including all stops, Bob will have to average 11.8mph to tie Davies record. In the latest update [June 25th at 9:15EST] on his website at:


Bob was 1,075 miles in Texas with an average speed [including all stops] of 14.29mph well ahead of 11.8, but we all just witnessed how fast riders cumulative average speeds can fall in the later part of a crossing especially when pumbled with head/cross winds. Luckily, in the middle section of the country [where predominant winds are South this time of year] Bob will be heading Northeast instead of Southeast like the RAAM riders did.

Breedlove placed 7th in his rookie RAAM in 1988. In 1989, he set the still standing double transcontinental record of 22D 13H 36M by first riding from his home in Des Moines, IA to Irvine, CA as a warm-up for a 3rd place finish in RAAM that year, followed by a cool-down ride back home afterwards. In 1990, he won Tandem RAAM with partner Roger Charleville - their time was 46 minutes faster than solo winner Bob Fourney. In 1992, he won Tandem RAAM with partner Lon Haldeman - their time would have placed them 4th among the solo finishers. In 1994, he placed 2nd in RAAM ahead of me [4th place and rookie of the year]. So clearly you can see that he has a lot of transcontinental crossing/racing experience.

The youngest rider to ever finish RAAM was 20 year old Chris Kostman [he now runs the Furnace Creek 508] placing 9th in 1987. Who was the youngest rider to ever win RAAM? Who was the youngest woman to ever finish RAAM and how old was she? Who was the youngest woman to ever win RAAM and how old was she?

Danny's 2002 RAAM Analysis Report 10

Very early on Wednesday morning, Rob Kish finished his 17th RAAM in 9:17:35 nearly 14 hours behind winner Fasching, 3:43 faster than last year, and 8:55 faster than his 2000 time. How does a guy keep getting faster as he gets older? Tell us what your secret is Rob? Rookie of the Year Allen Larsen finished in 10:01:05 about 7.5 hours behind Kish, but 2:02 faster than my time last year. With just over 600 miles left in the race near Arkadelphia, AR in the middle of the night, Larsen got to within 5 minutes of Kish but Larsen's rookie crew did not even know it so therefore neither did Larsen. Had Allen known this he may have been able to catch Kish and ridden that temporary high for a while, but having caught Kish simply because Larsen did not sleep and Kish did is not really a valid pass, and would have caught up with Larsen like a ton of bricks. As I know from first hand experience in the 1998 RAAM and Cassie Lowe in the 2000 RAAM, catching Kish late is the race is no guarantee that you are going to beat him. One thing I know for sure if that would have been Kish instead of Larsen about to catch a rider ahead, the well oiled Kish Krew would have been on top of it giving Rob exact time splits until he caught the rider in front of him! At the end of the race, Fasching said, "Kish's Krew followed me [more like STALKED HIM] for three days even though he was hours behind." With a very high return rate giving them more experience than any other crew, the Kish Krew is certainly the most knowledgeable and able of RAAM. I think Brenda gets more enjoyment out of RAAM than Rob does. Quite simply put, she will not let Rob retire from RAAM!

Stefan Lau finished in 10:04:14 - 3:09 behind Larsen and just 1:07 slower than my time last year. Only these top 4 finishers beat Tom Davies, Jr. 50+ record which Sam Beal wanted to beat. Currently Bob Breedlove is going after that record on a Southern Route. As of June 26th at 11pm EST, Breedlove was 1,326 miles in just past Pratt, KS with an average speed of 13.13 mph still well above Davies 11.8. Fredi Virag is expected to finish very early Thursday morning in 5th place almost a full day ahead of his time last year. In my last report, I made a mistake concerning the Thomas/Gooch tandem. They did NOT fall behind on pace [as I said they did] to make the Friday Noon time limit of 12D 3H. Their current cumulative average speed is 10.47mph is still above the critical minimum average speed of 10.28mph to be considered an official finisher. Kulow is still riding, but his cumulative average speed of 9.6mph will have him finishing 20:39 over the cut-off time. Isn't it amazing how such a small average speed difference can make such a big finish time difference because RAAM is so long? Towards the end of the race, cumulative average speed gets very well established and is much more difficult to change as compared to earlier in the race.

At TS#34 in Stillwater, OK, Ricardo Arap became the 8th solo rider to drop out. Riding in last place, he was on pace to finish a day and a half over the cut-off time. I wonder if got pressured by any race officials to DNF because of this. Wouldn't it be ironic if the race official doing this to him was UMCA Director, ultracycling Magazine Editor and Publisher, and ultracycling coach John Hughes? In the 1996 RAAM, John struggled to a 13th place 11D 15H 18M finish which was 3D 8H 4M behind my finishing time back when the old 48 hour time limit rule applied, yet there is no mention of nonofficial finisher on the past RAAM results section on the RAAM website. I hope that John and any other RAAM officials let this be an important history lesson for them.

The Southern Route that Breedlove is currently using/on is less than 2,900 miles long. Is there some minimum distance that a transcontinental route has to be in order to be official? If so, what is it? How fast a RAAM course can be determined by looking at how many riders go sub 9 days. Based upon this, the two fastest years were 1992 and 1999 when 5 riders did it. The slowest RAAM time in the recent Chew/Fasching era was in 1997 when Fasching won in 9:04:50, but that course was 34 miles longer than this years making Fasching's average speed of 13.70 in 1997 higher than this years 13.62. The last time before this a finishing time was over 9 days was back in 1988 when the first Austrian Franz Spilauer won RAAM.

The 4 woman Team ZISVAW finished in 7D 14H 55M more than 26 hours off the 4 woman Team RAAM record set in 1996 on a faster Southern route. Team Cliff Bar has won the 2 man Team division in 8:00:26 well off of Team Discover Ceara/PowerBar's 7:01:05 record set last year. Team Millennium/IRSA finished in 8:03:39 3:23 behind Team Clif Bar. Team Leader Bike USA is expected to finish on Thursday afternoon. The 4 person mixed Team Twin PAC finished in 8:04:35

On the Kosciusko, MS website link, there is a photo of Fabio [OK so maybe he did get to see the previous time station of Belzoni, but he did it by motor vehicle as part of Freddie Virag's crew. It will be interesting to hear Fabio contrast being both a rider and crew member this year.

Here is the new Top 10 List [Eat your heart out David Letterman] of solo RAAM times on the current Northern Route used over the past 3 years:

1. Wolfgang Fasching                8:10:19             2000
2. Andrea Clavadestscher         9:00:17             2001
3. Wolfgang Fasching                9:03:38             2002
4. Danny Chew                         9:08:17             2000
5. Fabio Biasiolo                       9:10:43             2000
6. Martin Lorenz                       9:13:23             2000
7. Rob Kish                              9:17:35             2002
8. Tom Buckley                        9:19:52             2000
9. Rob Kish                              9:21:18             2001
10.Allen Larsen                      10:01:05             2002

Note: Only Fasching's phenomenal 8:10:19 makes it onto the Top 10 List of fastest solo Transcontinental bicycle crossings of the USA:

Name ........Average Speed including all stops ...............Year
1.Penseyres ..................15.40 .......................................1986
2.Secrest ................... ..15.24 .................................... ..1990
3.Kish ................... ......14.91 ................................. .....1992
4.Fourney .............. .. .. 14.85 .................................... ..1992
5.Chew ................. ......14.72 ............................... .......1999
6.Fasching .................. .14.70 ...................................... 2000
7.Tatrai ................... ....14.69 .................................. ....1992
8.Fasching ............... ....14.64 ................................ ......1999
9.Chew ...................... .14.58 .................................. ....1996
10.Solon .................... .14.50 .................................... ..1989

Danny's 2002 RAAM Analysis Report 11

The Thomas/Gooch tandem has caught and passed Michael Lau! At TS#51 in Uriah, AL [with just 82.5 miles left] the tandem was 15 minutes ahead of the other Lau in the race. Thomas is 2:20 slower than his 2000 pace with partner Katie Lindquist. On very early Thursday morning, Fredi Virag finished 5th place in 10D 18H 42M over 14 hours behind Stefan Lau. Virag was over 20 hours faster than last year. 1:37 later, Franz Venier finished in 10:20:19 6:36 later, Sam Beal finished in 11D 2H 55M some 20 hours off of Tom Davies, Jr. 50+ record which Sam wanted so badly to break. 7th place Sam would have been the last official finisher based upon the old 48 hour cut-off time limit.

Nearly 7 hours after Beal, Guus Moonen finished in 11D 9H 51M. After dropping out in Steamboat Springs [1,208 miles in] last year, finishing must have been very sweat for Guus this year. The other Wolfgang - Kulow is still riding and is on pace to finish 26 hours after the cut-off time on Noon Friday. The last Team Leader Bike USA finished in 9D 2H 56M just 42 minutes faster than Fasching's time. The youngest riders in the race, these 19 year olds were probably overwhelmed by the amazing great size of our country. Flying from coast to coast like most people do in 4-6 hours doesn't give you any real appreciation for the enormous size and different regions of our country like riding or crewing for RAAM does. Just think over 200 years ago crossing the country in a horse driven stage coach on no paved roads in 60 days was considered pretty fast.

As of Thursday, June 27th at Midnight EST, Bob Breedlove was 1,666 miles in near Camdenton, MO with an average speed of 13.22mph on his quest to break Tom Davies, Jrs. 50+ transcontinental record.

What is post RAAM life like? For several days up to a week after finishing RAAM, both rider and crew will find themselves waking up only a few hours of sleep looking for their rider and bike. Feeling exhausted, yet having a lot of post RAAM work to do. Cleaning out the minivan[s] and RV in the hot FL sun. Returning the RV to Cruise America, and packing in crew members like sardines in the jam packed minivan for the long drive home. Once home, having to unpack the minivan, and then put all the stuff away can be quite a long and tedious job. I always liked to go over the route book and try to relive as much as the race is possible while it is still fresh in my mind. I also like to study the time station statistics carefully to see who all was where on the course when. After about 7-10 days, I may get back on my bike again, but will feel sleepy, tired, unmotivated, and slow for a whole month after RAAM. It really takes 3 months to feel totally recovered. For the immediate week after RAAM, it is such a great feeling to not have to ride and worry about the stress of the race knowing that the clock is always running forcing crew and rider into RAAM mode. I also find myself depressed [even on the years that I won] because this great event that I have planned my whole year around is now over and I no longer have a crew waiting on me hand and foot. Also your skin has a strong smell from being sun burnt and weather-beaten. It can take a couple of weeks for cold sores on your mouth to heal up.
On my next report, I will compare riders cumulative average speeds at the almost halfway point [TS#25 in Walsenburg, CO 1,491 miles into the race] and the finish line, to see if anybody pulled a Cassie Lowe this year by posting a negative split.

Danny's 2002 RAAM Analysis Report 12

Very early on Friday morning, the Thomas/Gooch tandem finished in 11D 19H 21M, 3:21 more than George's 2000 RAAM tandem time with partner Katie Lindquist, but this years course is 17 miles longer than the 2000 route. The time station data says that they rode the last 9.5 miles in 16 minutes. This would be a speed of more than 35mph! What I suspect might have happened is that they were given some sort of time credit subtracted from the time they arrived in Pensacola Beach.

72 minutes later, Michael Lau finished 9th place in 11D 20H 33M with 6:27 to spare before the Noon cut-off time limit. On Thursday morning, Lau's crew chief Bob Rich called me and put me on with Michael to cheer him up since he had fallen into that RAAM late race depression zone area. Bob said his saddle sores were extremely bad, and that they had to use 2nd Skin. So both Lau's finished in 4th and 9th place, and it looks like both Wolfgangs’ will bookend the solo race finishing in first and last places. Once the Friday Noon finishing time deadline came, Wolfgang Kulow was no longer being tracked. The last time station he is listed on the RAAM website is #49 in Sweetwater, AL with just 176 miles left in the race. Based upon his cumulative average speed of 9.88mph, his estimated finishing time is around Midnight Friday night - 12 hours after the time limit. Even if there is nobody there to greet him at the finish, I hope his crew members take some photos to document it, and post them on his website and make a posting on the ultracycling@topica.com e-mail list with his exact finishing time.

Getting back to the whole RAAM official finishing time status. The first Great America Bike Race[GABR] was held in 1982. From 1983-1994, the RAAM results list Unofficial Finishers [48-hour cutoff from divisional winner's time] in which Rob Kish appears in 1985. From 1995 to the present, all finishers are listed with no mention of unofficial status. Does anybody know WHY this change took place?

As of Friday, June 28th at 4:30pm EST, Bob Breedlove was 1,828 miles in Louisiana, MO with an average speed of 12.83mph on his quest to break Tom Davies, Jrs. 50+ transcontinental record.

Now I will compare riders cumulative average speeds at the almost halfway point [TS#25 in Walsenburg, CO 1,491 miles into the race] and the finish line, to see if anybody pulled a Cassie Lowe this year by posting a negative split.

Fasching                        15.04                                           13.62                          -1.42
Kish                              13.96                                           12.81                          -1.15
Larsen                           13.47                                           12.41                          -1.06
Stefan Lau                     13.02                                           12.25                          -0.77
Virag                             12.22                                           11.57                          -0.65
Venier                           12.04                                           11.49                          -0.55
Beal                               11.77                                           11.21                          -0.56
Moonen                         11.55                                           10.93                          -0.62
Michael Lau                   11.04                                           10.51                          -0.53
Kulow                             9.74                                          ~ 9.88                          +0.14
Thomas/Gooch Tandem 11.15                                           10.56                           -0.59

~ The last time station #49 which Kulow's data was reported

Except for Kulow, all riders speed was slower in the 2nd half probably because of fatigue and tough head/crosswinds in Eastern Colorado and Oklahoma. Michael Lau had the smallest decay in his cumulative average speed.

Including the tandem, 20 riders started the 2002 solo RAAM - 11 of which were rookies. Assuming that Kulow finishes unofficially, 8 people or 40% of the field dropped out. What is surprising to me is that only 3 of the 8 people to DNF were rookies! Usually more rookies drop out of RAAM than veterans. The fact that more rookies [7] than veterans [5] finished RAAM amazes me! CONGRATULATIONS to all of the rookie finishers this year! I wonder how many of them will return next year?

Danny's 2002 RAAM Analysis Report 13

I still do not know if Wolfgang Kulow has finished because he is no longer being tracked by RAAM officials. If anybody reading this knows anything at all about Kulow, please let me know ASAP. If he did finish unofficially on his pace of 12D 15H, that time would have been somewhat faster than Jeff "Bubba" Stevens' unofficial finish of 12D 17H 25M and Peter Lekisch's official [extra time was allowed since he was 60 years old] finish time of 12D 20H 50M both done last year. Lekisch remains the oldest finisher in the history of RAAM, but hey Rob Kish is only 47 year old now - just 3 years away from the 50+ category, and 13 years away from the 60+ category, 23 years away from the 70+ category, ...etc... Rob and Brenda Kish know not when to stop doing RAAM!

As of Saturday, June 29th at 2:00pm EST, Bob Breedlove was 2,069 miles in near Bainbridge, IN with an average speed of 12.69mph on his quest to break Tom Davies, Jrs. 50+ transcontinental record. Remember he has to finish with an average speed of at least 11.8mph to beat the record, so he has 0.89mph leeway to play with. Having raced against Tom Davies Jr. in the 1995 RAAM when he set this record, I have dug up my old time station stats from that year to compare Breedlove's and Davies' average speed, and the results are in Breedlove's favor. Just over 2,000 miles into the 1995 RAAM, Tom had an average speed of 11.95mph which is 0.74mph slower than Breedlove has, BUT I happen to know that the last 600 miles of that 1995 RAAM route were much flatter than the last 600 miles of the route Breedlove is on this year which starts to get very hilly in the middle of Ohio, mountainous in West Virginia [In 1982, I rode over 100 miles with the Great America Bike Race {became RAAM} leader and winner Lon Haldeman before strict rules were put into place prohibiting preventing such a thing from happening] and Maryland, and hilly again in Pennsylvania which could severely drop Breedlove's average speed by the end. RAAM finisher Tom Buckley Rode with Breedlove across the Mississippi River of which photos are posted at:


Breedlove is looking forward to seeing RAAM race director Lon Haldeman around Indianapolis, IN. Here is another link to a recent newspaper article Bob's daughter Molly just sent to me:



This does not include any tandems. The first 2 person Team to enter RAAM was Team Dagger [Perry Stone and Jeff Estes] in 1997 on mountain bikes. Their finishing time of 9D 17H 47M would have placed them 4th overall in the solo race. In 1998, Team Gustavo RMO FRANCA [Ricardo Arap and Alexandre Ribeiro] finished in 7D 9H 56M over a full day ahead of solo winner Gerry Tatrai. To give you some kind of idea how much more difficult the solo race is than the 2 person Team is, consider the fact that this year Arap dropped out at TS#34 in Stillwater, OK 2,032 miles into the race with an average speed of 9.12mph a far cry from the 16.33mph he was able to average on a 2 person team! In 1999, the first mixed 2 person team entered as Team Met-Rx [Brandi Lueken and Keith Duguid] which dropped out after 1,239 miles in Springfield, CO. In 2000, Team E-CAPS [Bill Maida and Dwight Bishop] finished in 8D 2H 55M over 7 hours ahead of solo winner Fasching. Would RAAM webmaster Tom Kingsbury please make a correction on the 2000 RAAM results link which lists Fasching's finishing time as Team E-CAPS time, and doesn't mention Team E-CAPS at all. In 2001, the first women's 2 person Twin Team [Angelika Castaneda and Dr. Barbara Warren] finished in 9D 13H over 12 hours behind solo winner Clavadestscher. Also entered were seven 2 person men's teams of which Team Discover Ceara/PowerBar [Michel Bogli and Jose Pinto Filho] won and set the current course record of 7D 1H 5M almost 2 days faster than the solo winner! This year [2002], there were three men's 2 person teams of which Team Clif Bar [Ben Popp and Dana Olson] won in 8D 16M over 27 hours ahead of solo winner Fasching, and one mixed 2 person Team Two Roads [Tracy Fawns and Stuart Nibbelin] which dropped out after 1,211 miles in Steamboat Springs, CO. Seems like there is some kind of curse which keeps the mixed 2 person teams from finishing!