This year, RAAM is undergoing a major change as profound as the first Team RAAM back in 1989.  The solo race will be divided into two categories:  the new Enduro and the old Traditional.  For my long article on the new solo RAAM Enduro Division featuring the opinions of 33 RAAM people, go to:


The winning Traditional time should be about 6 hours faster than the winning Enduro time (including the 40 hours of mandatory stopping time).  24 hour record (522 miles) holder and 2004 & 2005 RAAM champion Slovenian Jure Robic is fast/strong enough to win either category.  Because of a better prize list, Enduro has drawn the better field.  The 30 rider solo field is the biggest since 1994.  Of the 13 Enduro riders, 9 are rookies.  Of the 17 Traditional riders, 9 are rookies.  



Jonathan (Jock) Boyer is the only man to ever win RAAM as a rookie back in 1985 when he set the rookie speed record of 14.31 mph.  21 years later, he is back this year looking to win Enduro at age 50.  The first American to ever ride the Tour de France, Boyer was on and tutored the first American Team (7-Eleven) to ride the Tour.  When asked to compare RAAM to the Tour, Boyer said, “Some have tried to compare the Enduro RAAM to the Tour de France which to me is ludicrous, there is no comparison.  They are two very very different races and the level of “difficulty” is so different they are worlds apart.”  He also had this to say about Enduro.  “The new Enduro class will put a new face on the RAAM and I think that as more “racer” type riders compete in the new Enduro RAAM, it will become more and more difficult for the traditional “ultra marathon” rider to place.  It is easier for a racing cyclist to lengthen his rides, sleep less and maintain a higher speed than for an “ultra marathon” rider to up his speed by just sleeping more.  One rider is trained to ride fast; the other is maxed at one slow speed that he or she can maintain with very little sleep.” 


The oldest Tour winner was 36, but even Enduro RAAM is more pure endurance than the Tour.  The oldest (43) RAAM winner Pete Penseyres also set the 15.40 mph speed record in 1986.  Can a man 7 years older than this still win?  Boyer’s biggest competition will come from Jure Robic and two rookies (rookies have a far better chance at winning Enduro than Traditional).  45 year old David Tinker Juarez is a two-time mountain bike Olympian, three-time NORBA XC champion, four-time US 24 hour solo champion, and recently won the Heart of the South 500 mile RAAM qualifier.  42 year old Kenny Souza is a World Duathlon (run-bike-run) champion, and won the Furnace Creek 508 mile RAAM qualifier (setting a new course record) last fall.  Tinker placed 2nd in this race less than 9 minutes behind Souza.  On Team Cliff Bar, Souza won the 24 hour corporate Team race as part of RAAM last year. 


Being RAAM rookies, neither Souza nor Tinker knows what parts of their bodies may break down after 5 days.  I predict a fierce battle between these two for rookie-of-the-year, and a four way battle between them, Robic, and Boyer for Enduro RAAM champion.  Two more riders who may make the podium:  Austria’s Valentin Zeller (the youngest {28} rider in the solo race) who placed 5th as a rookie last year, and Slovenian Marko Baloh who has two DNF’s, and won the Furnace Creek 508 mile RAAM qualifier. 


As their final RAAM tune up, Robic and Baloh recently were co-winners at the Kraftwerk Trophy 24 hour drafting race in Austria.  They set a new world record of 608 miles!  Daniel Wyss set the old course record of 607 miles in 2002.  To read Baloh’s article on the race, go to:




If Robic is the fittest man in the race, he can still recover better than anybody else regardless of whether he sleeps 90 minutes per night or 3-4 hours per night in Enduro.  Robic has the advantage of having won the past two solo (Traditional) RAAMs, but having to adapt to the new rules of Enduro may throw him and his crew for a loop.  At least the rookies won’t have to worry about Enduro being different since they have no RAAM experience. 


SOLO: 50+


Although Boyer will most likely crush the late Bob Breedlove’s 50+ 12.26 mph transcontinental speed record, five (two over 60) other riders will make this years 50+ field the biggest in RAAM history.  After setting the 2 person Team 60+ record with Dan Crain last year, Fred Boethling is attempting to become the oldest solo RAAM finisher.  Guy Wells is back after winning the 2 person mixed Team RAAM last year.  Although he finished the 2004 RAAM with a broken pelvis, Shermerneck since Oklahoma, and terribly swollen feet & ankles, 54 year old Grandfather Randy Van Zee will not start Enduro this year in a similar condition.  While training like a madman to better his 2004 finishing time, Randy crashed hard on May 20th in which he sustained multiple facial fractures, causing him to withdraw.  Seeing Randy’s severely beaten up body finish officially in the middle of the night on the boardwalk in Atlantic City is something I will remember forever.  He was the clear winner of my Most Tired Award (MTA).  I hope he will be back to tackle RAAM again. 


51 year old RAAM legend Rob Kish (3 time winner & 19 time finisher) may be back to avenge his pneumonia induced DNF last year.  Since one of the solo women (Patty Jo Struve) is 51, and 55 year old Guus Moonen (two time finisher & Le Tour Direct creator) is back, there could be a record seven 50+ riders on the starting line in Oceanside, CA this year! 




After winning the 2 person mixed Team RAAM with Wells last year, triathlete Shanna Armstrong will do solo this year.  The two-time UltraMan (double IronMan distance) world champion will win the women’s race, and beat a lot of the men.  Both women are doing Traditional. 




The only person ever to beat Robic (a rookie) in RAAM, 2003 winner Allen Larsen has repeated himself by pulling out of RAAM at the last minute like he did back in 2004, but I think he has a better excuse this year.  On May 1st, Larsen rode an impressive sub 12 hour 258 mile Washington State North-South record of 21.8 mph, but his neck began to fail before the ride was over.  Realizing that he would probably have to ride all of RAAM this year in his neck brace (instead of just the 2nd half like in 2002 & 2003), Larsen decided to withdraw.  To read his personal statement about this unfortunate conclusion, go to:




Larsen versus Robic would have been a very close race, but I would have picked Robic because of Larsen’s neck problem.  Larsen and I have such a strong love for RAAM that even if we can no longer race it, we still have to be involved.  Larsen was Marko Baloh’s crew chief last year.  This year Larsen plans on doing video production, and will travel along the route with media communications director Paul Skilbeck and myself. 


With Larsen out of the picture, battling it out for the win and other podium spots will be David Haase (4th last year), Fabio Biasiolo (starting his 10th solo RAAM and finishing 3rd last year), Marcel Knaus (4th in 2003), and Dino Nico Valsesia (6th in 2003).  My pick for rookie-of-the-year is Switzerland’s Daniel Wyss.  A friend of 2001 RAAM winner Andrea Clavadetscher, Wyss won the Race Across The Alps (RATA) and the XX Alps Extreme last year.  Wyss could be a dark horse to win Traditional.  Going from any Team RAAM to solo is a big jump, but Canadian Kevin Wallace might be tough enough since he set the 2 person Team RAAM speed record of 18.71 mph with Jeff Rushton in 2004.  On the winning 4 person HPV Team in 2004, James Kern is also making the jump.  He will attempt to become the first person to ever finish solo RAAM on a recumbent. 


Mark Metcalfe has withdrawn from the Traditional race after a recent crash on May 29th.  While trying to avoid a charging dog, he crashed hard on his left side, and sustained multiple fractures in his shoulder, ribs and hip.  Representing the average ultracyclist in RAAM last year, good ole boy Metcalfe had to drop out just 150 miles from the end because his average speed fell below the 10.52 mph minimum needed for an official finish. 


A big guy, Mark had been going back and forth between the Enduro and Traditional races – unsure of which one would give him a greater chance of finishing this year.  In Traditional, he would have had to finish within 48 hours of the winner unless the winning time was slower (longer) than 10 Days, 2 Hours in which case he would have had finish within the 12 Day, 2 Hour flat time limit which applies to the Enduro riders this year.  Because this years route is 9 miles shorter than last years, the minimum speed has dropped from 10.52 mph to 10.49 mph, buying Mark another 51 minutes.  Here’s hoping that Metcalfe gets another chance to complete RAAM. 


The possibility exists that the winning Enduro time (including the 40 hours) could be faster than the winning Traditional time, in which case the Enduro winner would clearly be the overall solo champion.  If not, there will be two distinct male solo winners. 




My pick is the 2001 & 2004 champions Team Vail.  On this year’s team, Zach Bingham and Mike Janelle have each won once, and Jimmy Mortenson has won twice.  On his 5th four person Team RAAM this year, Mortenson will attempt to join Joe Petersen and Kerry Ryan as three time winners.  Team Heifer International, Team Cyclonauts, and Team Nor’easter are 50+ teams.  The Dreams for Kids Team has the youngest (16) rider in this year’s race.  Team Athletes Racing for Charity has 3 time solo finisher Ed Kross and Patrick Autissier who DNFed solo RAAM last year. 




My pick is the 2004 & 2005 champions B2B Divas.  The only woman from both of those teams returning this year is Linda Guerrette attempting to become the first woman to ride and win three Team RAAMs.  Team Red Helmets is the first 60+ all women’s team. 




Emily’s Team is a 50+ team led by 43 year old Dan McGehee who set the UMCA 100 and 200 mile road records last year in his hometown of Mesa, AZ.  Dan has also won the Furnace Creek 508 mile RAAM Qualifier in 1998, and the 252 mile Cochise Cycling Classic 5 times.  Just Sweat No Tears is led by Brian Welsh who was on the same mixed 4 person team in 2004, but with 3 other team-mates. 


The 4 person (2 tandem) mixed Team JDRF is led by Tim Skipper, the only person to finish five {4 person men, 8 person (4 tandem) men, 8 person (4 tandem) mixed, 4 person HPV, & 4 person recumbent} team RAAM divisions wants to make it six this year.  Also on Team JDRF is Tom Hooker who was on 3 of Skipper’s 5 team RAAMs, and another 4 person men’s team. 


There are a record 18 four person teams this year. 




My pick is the Team BodyXchange/Garden Pathways consisting of big Joe Petersen & Kevin McNulty both of whom where on the 4 man Team Kern Wheelmen – Advocare last year.  They will be shooting to break the 2 person team speed record of 18.71 mph set by Coast to Coast Against Cancer in 2004.  Tied with Kerry Ryan for the most (three) 4 person team RAAM wins, Petersen has done more team {all 4 man} RAAMs (7) than anybody else.  A serious crash only a month before RAAM would have taken most riders out of the race, but not Big Joe.  While riding his bike to teach two indoor cycling classes, he was hit by a pick-up truck.  His bike was run over, he was thrown through the air, and his collarbone was snapped in two.  He needed surgery to repair the damage, and is now held together with a 3 inch metal plate with 6 screws.  I suggest that Petersen use some extra thick padding on his aerobar armrests to sock up some of the road shock across the country. 


The Race For Wishes Team has Derek Slife & Eric Tidd who were both on the winning 8 person corporate Team Insight last year, and Slife was on Team Insight in 2004.  Chris Shaw & Kirk Gentle were both on the winning 4 person mixed Team Cheniere’s Making Cancer History last year, but will only have half their team this year.  The 50+ Team eXtreme of Charles Liskey & Steve Winfrey are back after finishing on the same team in 2001.  Liskey also has an unofficial solo finish in 1998. 


The only 2 person mixed Team Racing Against Diabetes is a 50+ team. 


The 50+ recumbent Team Volae Wolf Pack consists of former RAAM webmaster & headquarters guru Tom Kingsbury & Tim Woudenberg.  Tim was on the winning 4 person HPV Team ALS Lightning in 2004 & the winning 4 person recumbent Team ALS – Bacchetta last year. 




There are four 8 person corporate teams.  My pick is Team Type 1.  All of the riders on the team have type 1 diabetes.  Pratt Rather was on the winning 4 person mixed Team Azio Saddle Tramps was back in the 1995 RAAM.  Phil Southerland is a Cat 1 racer.  They will be shooting to break the 8 person corporate team speed record of 19.84 mph set by R2R Kaiser Permanente in 2004.  The legendary Penseyres Brothers (Pete & Jim) lead the 60+ Team Cycling for Chaffey.  Despite not having one leg below his knee, Jim has still finished three solo RAAMs, and was on the first ever Team RAAM (with Pete) back in 1989.  Their 4 person HPV Team Lightning/Tim Brummer won, setting the all time RAAM speed record of 24.02 mph.  Pete holds the solo RAAM speed record of 15.40 mph set in 1986 as the oldest winner of RAAM at age 43.  He holds four-person 50+ Team RAAM record set in 1996.  With Lon Haldeman, Pete holds the UMCA’s men’s transcontinental tandem record of 15.97 mph, set in 1987.  Team Donate Life 8 has one returning member (Lorenzo Rossaro) from their 2nd place finish last year. 


The 6 person Men HPV Wheelchair Team RC-Enjo Vorarlbery of Austria is a totally new division.  



Kenny Souza and his Cliff Bar Team won this event last year.  To pay back her crew who helped her beat all of the men and win the Badwater 135 mile ultramarathon running race in Death Valley, CA twice, 45 year old Pam Reed agreed to ride the 24 hour Corporate Challenge to Flagstaff, AZ this year.  Also on Pam Reed's Badwater Crew Team is Chuck Giles who helped Australian Gerry Tatrai win the stinkin HOT 1998 (Seana Hogan’s last RAAM) solo RAAM by keeping him cool with a misting system (long pipe sticking out in front of the minivan, and over top of Tatrai’s head) later deemed unsafe and illegal.  Olga Yarovenko who placed 4th last year on her Team JMI Rookies is back this year on the Swami’s Team which placed 2nd last year.  Joining Olga will be Erik Conklin from Swami’s last year, and John Martinez who placed 3rd on Kaiser Permanente R2R last year.  


Thirty Solo Riders                         30   riders

 6  Two Person Teams                  12   riders

18  Four Person Teams                 72   riders

 1  Six Person Team                        6   riders

 4  Eight Person Teams                 32   riders

 4  Twenty Four Hour Teams         26   riders

                           Total                  178   riders

This means that RAAM headquarters will be very busy tracking 30 solo riders and 33 teams (63 crews) all the way across our huge country.  







Jonathan (Jock) Boyer was the only rookie to ever win solo RAAM, but having finishing the Tour de France, he wasn’t your typical RAAM rookie.  Because RAAM is so long, it can never be simulated in training.  A rookie doesn’t know how much to sleep, or what parts of his/her body may break down after spending five 20+ hours/day on the bike.  It took me three years to discover my ideal 3 hours of sleep/night.  I slept too much my first year because I was afraid of collapsing on the bike from exhaustion.  

2003 winner Allen Larsen discovered that he could no longer hold his head up halfway across the country, so his crew built him a neck brace which got him to the finish two times.  Had his crew not been able to solve this problem, he most likely would have quit.  19 time finisher (including 3 wins) Rob Kish seems to have the best body for RAAM, although his luck ran out last year when pneumonia caused him to DNF.  He never seems to have neck problems or saddle sores, and he is very disciplined at staying on his liquid diet the whole race.  

It will be much more difficult for a rookie to win Traditional RAAM than Enduro RAAM which forces riders to stop about 4 hours every 24 on average.  Last year’s winner Jure Robic averaged about 90 minutes of sleep per day, which gave him a huge advantage over the other riders.  By forcing him to sleep more, Enduro may take away his asset.  

Rookies tend to have a lot of wasted time (time spent off the bike, but not sleeping).  Those who can maximize the amount of sleep they can get in the 40 hours of mandatory stops will increase their chances of winning.  To get 35 hours of actual sleep would be very good.  Also, not interrupting a normal 90 minute or 3 hour sleep cycle makes the small amount of sleep feel like a lot more.  Finally, sleeping at about the same time once every day gets the body into a daily cycle which can be better than trying to sleep 2-3 times every 24 hours.  

The caliber of the Enduro field this year just may allow a rookie to win.  David Tinker Juarez, 45 years old, is a two-time mountain bike Olympian, three-time NORBA XC champion, four-time US 24 hour solo champion, and recently won the Heart of the South 500 mile RAAM qualifier.  42-year old Kenny Souza is a World Duathlon (run-bike-run) champion, and won the Furnace Creek 508 mile RAAM qualifier (setting a new course record) last fall.  Tinker placed second in this race less than nine minutes behind Souza.  Last year Souza raced as part of Team Cliff Bar, which won the 24-hour RAAM corporate team race. 

In the Traditional field this year, the two rookies who have a shot at winning are Daniel Wyss and Kevin Wallace, both 36.  Switzerland’s Wyss won the Race Across The Alps (RATA) and the XX Alps Extreme last year.  Fellow Swiss rider Pius Achermann who finished 6th place in solo RAAM last year, warned me about Wyss wanting to win RAAM.  In 2004, Canada’s Wallace set the 2 person Team RAAM speed record of 18.71 mph with Jeff Rushton on Team Coast to Coast Against Cancer.  




Division or Category


Time (D: H: M: )

Solo Men (Penseyres)



Solo Rookie Men (Boyer)



Solo Men 50+ (Davies)



Solo Men 50+ (Breedlove)/non-RAAM



Solo Men 60+ (Lekisch)



Solo Women (Hogan)



Solo Rookie Women (Ritz)



Solo Women 50+ (Allison)



Tandem Men (Haldeman&Breedlove)



Tandem Men (Haldeman&Penseyres)/non-RAAM



Tandem Women (Gray&Marek)/non-RAAM



Tandem Mixed (Dossenbach&Pavlat)



Tandem Mixed (Haldeman&Notorangelo)/non-RAAM



2 Person Team Men (Coast to Coast Against Cancer)



2 Person Team Men 50+ (Team E-Caps)



2 Person Team Men 60+ (Team 60+)



2 Person Team Women 50+ (Twin Team)



2 Person Team Mixed (VeloWear.com/Co-Motion)



4 Person HPV Team (Lightning/Tim Brummer)



4 Person Recumbent (ALS - Bacchetta)



4 Person Team Men (Action Sports)



4 Person Team Men 50+ (Team Bicycling)



4 Person Team Men 60+ (Team PAC Masters)



4 Person Team Men 70+ (Team Grand PAC Masters)



4 Person Team Women (Team Florida)



4 Person Team Women 50+ (Motorola/W4)



4 Person Team Mixed (Ideo/Fat City)



4 Person Team Mixed 60+ (The Twin PAC)



4 Tandem {8 Person} Team Men (Team TwoCan)



4 Tandem {8 Person} Team Mixed (Two Mixed Up)



8 Person Corporate Team Men (R2R Kaiser Permanente)






Solo Rider Official Finisher Status (290 Hour Limit)