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Jen here with an update from the road. My brother Hamilton and I met up with the team in the middle of the night in WV somewhere and it was SO great to see them all! We brought food and supplies, and both the riders and the crew seemed strong and definitely ready to push it on home!
Needless to say, the close quarters of the RV were taking their toll on everyone, as were the multiple sleepless nights in a row, but, overall, I was pleasantly surprised to find Xtreme4 in much better shape than I thought they might be!
We hung out with them through two rider and crew changes, and it was amazing how smooth the transitions were between riders and crew. This might be everyone's first time competing in RAAM, but you would never know it from watching them. What this team has achieved over the past 6 days is truly remarkable!
Although there have been some hiccups along the way, as is to be expected, the riders and crew have taken them all in stride and keep on plugging away. The hills of WV were brutal, but the riders and crew remained optimistically focused on the finish and kept pounding the road, ignoring their muscle pain, saddle sores, and intense fatigue. At the time of writing this, they only have 93 miles to go and have just recently overtaken the Irish 4 person male team they have been neck and neck with for days....Awesome!
So, keep it up Xtreme4! Finish strong and we will be in Annapolis with cold beer and champagne to toast your amazing accomplishments, and with open arms to welcome you home after a long, epic, and amazing journey!!
Xtremely well done, team, and see you at the finish!
Hi all, Jen here agin with another update from the road...Just talked with Patrick for a while and they were all enjoying McDonald's in Ohio as the riders and crew geared up for their next ride or sleep shift.
Things are going well and they all sound pretty peppy, sleep deprivation aside! Xtreme 4 is trying to stay alert and posied to pounce on the Irish and Utah teams in 1st and 2nd place in the male 4 person category as they near the finish, and they are all now more than 2/3 of the way finished with the race. Sweet! Xtreme4 maintains a huge lead in the mixed 4 person team category, more than 200 miles ahead at the time we spoke.
Patrick reports that his muscles "hurt a lot, but it is manageable", and that Raquel continues to make a huge difference with her miracle massages after each shift. He also reports that not only did Patrick and Eric log the fastest split of any team on the race for one of the legs in AZ, but that Phil and Andrea just achieved the same feat on one of the recent shifts. Not too shabby Xtreme4!
The crew is a well oiled machine at this point, and the riders are continually impressed with their positive professionalism as they plug away. Patrick reports that "The vehicle set-up is awesome and Andy really did a great job with this! The riders all have radios with earbuds so we are able to talk to both vehicles, and there is also a loudspeaker that blares music and cuts off when someone in the cars wants to talk with us. It makes the shifts go by fast, although we are only riding for 10 minutes at a time since we decided to switch to shorter rider shifts and more switch offs between the two riders on duty, and that helps as well!"
The team has passed some amazing scenery along the way and one of Patrick's highlights was biking through Red Rock National Park in AZ. He also reports loving the downhills where some of the riders have been clocked at over 60 mph (staying within the speed limits of course)....Yikes!
Some of the more bizarre encounters included a wild dog chasing him on the bike in KS at over 22mph trying to attack him, and having two wild horses run along him as he biked one of his shifts in NM. Beautiful, but nerveracking at the same time!
The riders all report that one of the highlights is passing the solo riders on the course, which Xtreme4 did a lot of today. They all slow down to chat a bit and the solo riders seem to be much more laid back as they singlehandedly cross the USA. Patrick reports that "it is amazing how fresh they look as they reach up to give us and the other teams high five as they pass and chat about the course. They are completely disel and I have so much respect for them all!"
All in all, things are going well and the riders and crew are having fun and staying focused as they go. So far, so good!
We will keep you posted, and stay tuned for more to come...Annapolis is only a day and 1/2 away!
Hi everyone! Jen here with an update from Patrick and Julie on the road. Internet access has been tough and the team has had a hard time updating the blog as often as they would like to.
At the time of this update, Xtreme4 had passed time station #22, more than 1311 miles into the race, and were almost to station #23 with average overall speeds of more than 20 mph, including their last shift which averaged over 25 mph! Xtreme4 has a solid lead in their category and are close behind the second place 4 person mens team. As we talked, Patrick was about to overtake a rider from team #607, an eight person team, who had just passed them on the last shift.
When I talked to them, Xtreme4 had just hit the cornfields of Kansas and was looking forward to the gradual decline in elevation facing them for the next few time stops. A welcome change after the 10,000+ foot peak they faced yesterday!
Last night's shift was a bit hectic with the biggest climb of the race and tough riding. Both Eric and Patrick were feeling tired, but they kept on trucking and really pounded up the mountain. They had serious burrito and burger cravings after their shift, and combined with malt milkshakes, it seemed to be just what the doctor ordered. They have both perked up a bit today, and are looking forward to many more mikshakes to come!
Julie and Andy have been playing Eric and Patrick's favorite tunes over the loudspeakers as they ride, and they downloaded fun movie clips to play for the riders to give them a laugh or two along the way.
Temperatures have been fluctuating between the high 30s at night and high 80s during the day, which makes biker wardrobe planning difficult! Raquel, the team masseuse and helper extraorinaire, and Lee, the bike mechanic, have been great, and both the biker's muscles and the bikes themselves are in great shape as a result.
The entire crew has been doing a wonderful job! They are all a bit tired and have found the RV to be hard to sleep in, but they are all hanging in there. They team is doing rider shifts measured by both time and distance at this point, and are being flexible and changing their strategy frequently depending on how the riders are feeling. The crew has found that there is not as much time with the RV stopped as they thought there might be, so cooking is a definite challenge. The few hot meals they have had have really hit the spot, and they have all eaten enough turkey sandwiches to last a lifetime!
Next up is a long stint through Kansas and Missouri all the way to the Mississippi River. Fingers crossed for a strong tailwind and lot of crew and rider rest (and milkshakes :-) )!
More updates to come soon...Stay tuned! Go Xtreme 4!