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Race Across America (RAAM) 2008 4 Person Team

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posted by Andrea Vasquez :: Jun 11, 2008 :: 09:33 AM 
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Yes, race start is FINALLY here!  We've been crazy busy getting everything together and tweaking the final adjustments before 5pm EST today.  Yesterday, we had the team photos by the pier (the photos came up awesome!  kuddos to Kip!).  Then it was time to get our bikes rechecked, eat and do whatever was missing before the offical racers' meeting at 5pm.  It was surreal... to have a room packed up with 300+ people... the energy vibing in the room and everyone was psyched!  A few last minute changes and info was given and we headed out for our last carboload and team dinner before hitting the road... 

Team XTREME 4 is looking and feeling good!  We can't wait to put the roads on fire!

More from when the race starts!


Finally here!
posted by Andrea Vasquez :: Jun 08, 2008 :: 01:42 AM 
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Most of us arrived today to San Diego. (Eric, Christal, Phil, Paul, Laurel,Andy, Raquel, Julie, Kip, Patrick, Mariana and myself).  Dave got here yesterday. We have our vehicles here, our bikes, most of the crew...everything is coming together nicely.  We went to get registered, and it was so exciting to get our race numbers,RAAM stickers, route book, signs, talk to the race official etc. 

We have a full day ahead of us tomorrow getting the cars and bikes ready for inspection.  Finally the awaited day is so close!!!  So close it is a little scary!  :)  But very exciting!

Pictures and videos coming soon...

XTREME 4 coach takes the win in Ironman China!
posted by Andrea Vasquez :: Apr 20, 2008 :: 10:12 AM 
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Congrats to our coach, Olaf Sabatschus, for winning the inaugural Ironman China under extreme heat conditions (104F and humid) from what we heard on ironman.com!

He had the fastest run and bike of the day. At the beginning of the run he was 2 minutes behind the lead, but he was able to catch up to him and win 21mins ahead of the second place!


As he always says: train haird, rest harder and race hardest! We are very happy and proud of you! Way to go! Now Ironman Brazil is waiting for you in 5 weeks.

Back on the horse
posted by Andrea Vasquez :: Apr 03, 2008 :: 07:23 AM 
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It's been a while since the last time I checked in.  This coming Saturday will be 4 weeks after my accident and I'm finally feeling like my old self again! 

I've been training at full mode now (with 2 workouts a day) and feeling stronger by the day.  The first week back was slow, I was taking it easy and listening to my body.  Mostly doing 1 day ON and 1 day OFF on the bike, just for 1h30 each time and mostly at aerobic base.  This past week I started running and swimming as well and cycling every day (1h30-2h).  My body still gets pretty sore from running (all the pounding) and from swimming (stretching my back) but I know it's a question of patience.  I've been feeling great on the bike!  Still haven't ridden outdoors, and I'm looking forward to getting to sunny Arizona this coming Saturday and riding A LOT in the 80s weather!  The cold/wet/windy weather in DC hasn't motivated me to go outside, so I've been on my trainer the past 2 weeks.

I've been seeing Raquel every week after the accident and she has been helping me a great deal with my recovery!  She is amazing and has MAGIC hands!

Olaf has also helped me stay sane and positive.  He is such an encouranging person/coach, always knows what to say to make you feel good and see the positive/best side of things.

I'm still going to play by ear with Ironman Arizona.  It's been a very bumpy 2+months with the bike accidents, but I'm going to see how I feel this week and I might just do it for fun and celebrate that I'm healthy and can exercise again (not for any PRs).

Really looking forward to seeing our Xtreme 4 rider, Eric, kick butt in IMAZ as well as Mariana.  And also catching up with friends from Portugal and Boulder that are coming to do the race and cheer, Sedi, Helder, Hugo, Sergio and Joni (our sherpa)!  It will be A LOT OF FUN!!!

More updates to come from sunny Arizona!


PS: Thanks for all your good wishes, emails and calls, I really appreciated it!

Productive weekend
posted by Andrea Vasquez :: Feb 11, 2008 :: 12:47 PM 
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This past Saturday we had a good logistics meeting with the riders and crew members.  The crew chiefs started mulling over what options we have as far as vans, riders, etc, and it was great to go more in depth in the logistics part of the race, as we've been focusing quite a bit on fundraising and training on the past months.  We've got several donations in the past weeks and are finalizing a possible sponsorship. More to come! 

We have decided on 2 tentatives groups for the race, Eric and Patrick as one and Phil and I as the other.  We are brainstorming on cool names for each group... Eric had suggested some names (some cannot be posted here!) such as Jack & Daniel, Rum & Coke (and of course he would be in the Rum team), and others along these lines.  So if anyone out there has a good suggestion for a cool inspiring name send it to us!
After our logistics meeting, we went to Results Gym in Farragut North to do our 3hr spin with Patrick being our personal coach Troy!  What a great facility! It was an awesome workout, and Eric definitely won the puddle contest.  Check out his face after the workout...

posted by Andrea Vasquez :: Feb 01, 2008 :: 10:19 AM 
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Lucky... that's how I feel after coming out alive from Puerto Rico's trip and 3 day cycling tour!  What an adventure/experience... Here's a report...

Our first day of the tour, 155 miles, was great.  Most of us stuck with the peloton, enjoyed the beautiful scenery and felt pretty strong.   On the second day of the tour, we decided to go with the faster group and with 5 miles to go, I had a pretty nasty crash... While riding on a paceline on a flat stretch at 24mph, I hit a BIG DEEP hole shadowed by a big tree(2ft by 4ft and 1ft deep) and went flying over my aerobars to the other side of the street (apparently 6 other riders too). I fell head/face first and my helmet saved my life. My whole right side of the body got road rash and bruises. miraculously, I don't remember a thing... I was unconscious/out of it for a few minutes. Eric, was talking to me and asking things and I didn't know where I was and who were the people with me. I was asking "Where's Mariana?". Eric kept talking to me and little by little I came back to reality. I was taken to the ER for 7hrs and all xrays and the CT scan came out negative. I guess my bones are pretty tough! I was extremely lucky to have not broken anything and still be ALIVE. My titanium frame cracked, front racing wheel (zipp 404), my helmet and glasses broke... but those are only material things.

While in the hospital my main concern was how I was going to bike the last day, 135 miles since my front wheel was damaged and my bike too... Patrick and a few other riders found a spare bike from a lady, Babby, who was nice enough to lend me her "baby" so I could finish the ride.  That one of many ways Puerto Ricans hospitality came through on this trip... the doctors were amazing as well (they told me if all the medical exams were negative, they would come along and change my bandages and keep an eye on me on the last day if I decided to ride). So, yes, I went on to finish the tour all banged up fueled by adrenaline and pure stubborness! I was calling Mariana every so often and keeping her updated because she really didn't want me to ride after a concussion, but there was nothing she could do to convince me otherwise. Right after the ride was over that's when all the pain/bruises started to sink in and I started getting emotional (people were telling me how the accident happened and how scary it was...) and extremely tired. I felt very frustrated, useless and overwhelmed... just wanted to get home.

Now I'm sound and safe at home and healing fast. We ordered a new frame and my wounds look much better. Initially, my face looked like a basketball and everyone thought I had broken my cheek bone, but I guess I'm made of something stronger than my bike, better than titanium :)
Here's a few photos from the accident...

I can't wait to be back on my torito!  And be able to swim and run as well...

Special thanks to my teammates: to Eric for being with me the whole time since the accident and 7+hrs in the ER always so cool, making jokes and keeping me calm.  To Patrick, for being always positive and asking around for a bike for the last day. To Paul, for being my sherpa when I was hurting and getting me all the supplies for my wounds, and for putting up with me when I was down after the finish.

Safe riding!

Tough Love
posted by Andrea Vasquez :: Jan 20, 2008 :: 05:48 PM 
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This past weekend we had some frigid temps and had to do indoor riding instead of our usual Saturday long ride.  We packed up our friend's Chad & Kirsten house with 9 trainers and lots of water bottles, towels and sweat... it was a great Coach Troy session... "Tough Love" indeed.  Hopefuly we won't have to do too many of those anytime soon!  Looking forward to Puerto Rico and some nice weather riding coming up next Thursday!  Whoohoo!! Happy riding! PS: Here's a few shots of our sweat session...

Epic New Year
posted by Andrea Vasquez :: Jan 02, 2008 :: 09:02 AM 
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Last Sunday of 2007 a bunch of us decided to do an epic swim, some with 100x100yds and some 100x50yds.  I was excited to do my first 5,000yds in the pool and surprised that I felt quite good :)  So then I decided that I also wanted an epic bike start of the year and that on January 1st I was going to do 100miles or more no matter how good or bad the weather was.  After a good night of partying, very sore arms from all the swimming, lack of sleep and feeling very dehydrated, I still had my mindset on at least a century to start the year in an extreme way!  I went for an outdoors very windy ride at 1pm, ~40miles with Chad, Kirsten, Joe and Mariana.  Then got home showered, had some food, and Mariana and I set out to Kip's place to for a 3hr coach Troy Tough Love spinerval session!  Oh yeah, baby, I was feeling the love by the end of that workout!  Coach Troy says that those 3hrs in the trainer are like 4+hrs outdoors, so I was very happy to start the year on my torito feeling strong!  My legs were almost shaking by the end of it... Then I got home ate and slept like a baby.  Kudos to Kip for also doing a kick butt very hilly cross country 10K race yesterday morning and then joining us for the 3hr trainer ride! He is definitely ready for our Puerto Rico 3 day-375 miles Lighthouse cycling Tour at the end of the month.  Looking forward to a great 2008 and loads of cycling to get us ready for RAAM!  Happy New Year!

Olaf Sabatschus - Xtreme4 coach
posted by Andrea Vasquez :: Nov 23, 2007 :: 08:37 PM 
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I am so excited that our team finally has a coach.  Olaf Sabatschus is such an amazing athlete, coach and person.  With his extensive experience as a top PRO triathlete (15 years), 8+ years of coaching experience and educational background in Nutrition I have full confidence that he will take us to the next level and help us achieve our goals for RAAM 2008.

I’ve known Olaf and worked with him for the last 3 years, and just can not say enough good things about him. He is so excited about us doing RAAM next year and has generously donated his ONE on ONE attention and experience to coach us on our new adventure/challenge.

I am really looking forward to Xtreme4 working with “Monster” Olaf, Andrea

Getting back on the saddle
posted by Andrea Vasquez :: Nov 11, 2007 :: 09:26 PM 
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Today was my first ride after NYC marathon and it felt great to be out riding.  The marathon pretty much trashed my legs for 4-5 days, but I'm feeling them coming back now.  It's definitely cold here in DC(40s), so it was time for booties, jacket and pants!  We did our usually MacArthur Blvd/Falls Rd loop adding some hills towards the end (about 2:30hs) and it was just nice to be out there on my bike again and get the season started.

This past week we've been interviewing different coaches to see who we are going with to help us train for RAAM... very exciting!  Hopefuly we should have a coach soon.

More later, Andrea

Another sponsor!
posted by Andrea Vasquez :: Oct 27, 2007 :: 08:57 PM 
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After a week long of nonstop rain, today we finally got a beautiful day (it stopped raining around 10am) and I went on a ride with Eric.  We did our usual MacArthur/Falls Rd ride and got a few hills in as well.  I felt great and enjoyed being outside, the trees are so beautiful with the leaves changing.  Kudos to our teammate Phil for his mental toughness and doing a 2:30hrs trainer ride solo early this morning!

This past week we also got another sponsor!  I'm very happy to announce that Healing Hanz will be supporting us!  This will be very beneficial to the team and help us stay healthy and strong.  Raquel is extremely knowledgeable on recovering fast and keeping the body strong, as well as a great person to have around :)  She also supports our go green vision and only uses organic products.

More to come...   Happy riding, Andrea

Oct 6th - 2h Recovery ride on MacArthur Blvd/River Rd.
posted by Andrea Vasquez :: Oct 06, 2007 :: 10:59 AM 
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Since Ironman Canada at the end of August I have been mainly running as preparation for NYC marathon.  But of course I keep up with my cycling, as it is good cross training and I love to do it.  This morning I was scheduled to do a 2h easy ride on a hilly route if possible.  I had to start my ride early (7am) as I had other commitments later in the day and did not want my ride to be affected.  Paul, Kirsten, Chad and one of my xtreme4 teammates Phil came along which was great motivation. Specially since it was still dark out.

I didn't bring my bike computer, just my Heart Rate monitor to make sure I kept a nice and low heart rate - as I needed to save my legs for next day's 16 mile run.  We all were feeling very good, cruising along the rolling hills on MacArthur Blvd and enjoying the company.  Paul was giving me some funny faces, and I didn't know if we were going to fast or too easy...I just knew I would hear about it later in the day.  On the hills I was feeling as something was pulling me back, and thought that maybe my brakes were rubbing...but didn't want to stop, I figured I was just not in the same cycling shape I was earlier in the year.  Well, the funny thing is that later Paul told me that we were avg 22-25mph, not too bad for an off season easy ride!

Next day while cleaning my bike I found out my back breaks were totally closed, no wonder I felt extra resistance on the hills.  I guess it was a good strength training ride, and next day my legs felt good for my long run.  So no damage done!


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