First two days report
It is fun to watch our ladies fly by some other teams and watch a few of them try hard to keep up with our ladies. Some teams leapfrogged with us for a while, then slowly got dropped. (Drifting or working with other teams to conserve energy is not allowed in most ultracycling races such as RAAM.)
For those not familiar with the benefits of drifting on each other’s wheels, picture rider A, B, C, and D riding “single file”. Rider A is in the very front doing what we call “pulling” and A’s bicycle and body break up the wind. The rider B behind rider A, sometimes known as “sitting on a wheel” (especially if not doing any pulling) pedals about 15% easier because the wind resistance is reduced by rider A. Rider C, who sits on rider B’s wheel, has it about 25% easier than rider A. Rider D, who is last in this imaginary single file of four, works the least at about 28% easier than rider A. In what we call a “pack” of riders not riding single file, the riders in the back of the packs are “sandbagging”, working about 35-40% less than the riders pulling at the front.
In ultracycling, we usually are not allowed this benefit, making ultracycling a “race of truth”, showing what cyclists are capable of doing entirely on their own.
We are being passed and passing teams ever since the start line, but as of this point, we are now settled in our own “groups”. Those more than 3 hours ahead or behind us will likely never be seen again until probably the finish line.
Yesterday, Isabelle got sick and it was a team of 3 for a while until she recovered enough to race again. Cat said yesterday night that it took a bit too much out of her and Jeanine and they hope they could recover their edge. As of this morning, Cat felt she got her edge back, but she is now sick of sandwiches! Most everybody is a bit tired of sandwiches, but no one is complaining (only answering my reporter’s question.)
One of my fears was the RV getting stinky after two days. However, it seems that Al and Leslie, who are the food preps, keep things clean. Hats off to them! We also seem to do a good job keeping our body odors under control because I can't smell any at all yet.
We washed the rider’s clothes moments ago, but the crew’s laundry will wait until Wednesday. We however don’t mind because we won’t be getting our shower until then anyway. This is Lee’s orders, but it is reasonable in terms of how many people (16) are living out of one RV and our need to be able to move as fast as our cyclists. We can go without worrying about luxuries such as daily showers for the crew !
Now, we are heading out of Utah into Colorado. Southern Utah is pretty, but we can’t hang around long! I am sure the riders are also looking forward to enjoying some long descents in Colorado after about 24 hours of mostly positive slopes!