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Remember RAAM Fans …

by on June 16, 2015

Remember that the primary page for RAAM Team Beau, Babe, & Buds is located at:

https://raambbb.wordpress.com/

Go there and click the black follow link on the left side of the page to get updates via email.  Mike Binnix will be our “intern” blogger for that site.

Meanwhile, reprinted here are two articles published this week.  The first is from The Capital (Annapolis Newspaper), the other is from the Delaware-Maryland Synod of the ELCA.

The Capital (article by Peter R. Palmieri)

It’s called the Race Across America, but for a few local cyclists, it’s also a race back home.

Two teams with local ties will start in Oceanside, California, on June 20 and race 3,000 miles across 12 states to the finish line at City Dock in Annapolis.

Lisa Lunt (Annapolis), Kristin Seibert (Annapolis), Erin Kelly Ferner (Annapolis), Kristin Barnes (Arnold), Andréa Williams (Annapolis) and Melissa Chick (Edgewater) are joined by Michelle Faurot (Reno, Nevada) and Bridget Webster (Reno) to make up the Bike Like a Girl team, which is only the second eight-woman team in the race’s 33-year history.

“Our goal is to empower girls and women through cycling,” Lunt said. “To inspire them, to hopefully have them dream big and believe they can do things.”

The team is aiming to break the previous eight-member, all-women’s team record.

“We are pretty confident we can break a record,” Lunt said. “The first team averaged just under 16.57 mph. We are expecting to average around 20 mph.”

That time would bring the team to the finish line some time between June 26-27. The teams have nine days to complete the race, according to the RAAM Web site.

The team’s journey to the race began at the finish line of last year’s race. Lunt and others were in attendance to watch friends finish, when they noticed the lack of women crossing the finish line. They decided to find a group of female cyclists interested in competing.

Evelyn Cook is the team’s safety specialist, and she has been inspired by the women’s journey.

“I see a group of women who have really coalesced and it’s just amazing to watch them work together,” she said.

The team comes from various competition backgrounds in cycling, triathlons, marathons, etc. and each brings a different strength to the team.

“We really complement each other,” Lunt said. “Great climbers, great descenders, people who are good in heat. It’s a really great array of skillsets that we bring.”

The women have 13 children between them, ranging in age from 2-26. The women’s occupations include an attorney (Lunt), nurses (Seibert and Williams) and a teacher (Chick).

Barnes is Navy aviator and an executive officer at the Naval Academy. She is retiring from the military on June 30. She joined the RAAM endeavor through Roy Collins, a retired Coast Guard and Naval Academy cycling coach, who has competed in the race.

“I’ve done a lot of hard things in my life,” Barnes said. “This has been one of the more challenging.”

Earl Janssen and Chip Adams, both Severna Park residents, are part of a four-person Beau, Babe & Buds team competing in the race. They are joined by John and Nancy Guth of Stafford, Virginia.

Janssen, a pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, was a member of a solo rider’s crew in 2011. He has a goal to qualify for the solo race before he turns 60, and completing the race as part of the four-member team is his ticket to accomplishing that feat.

Adams has been a long-distance cyclist for a number of years, competing in events all over the world including Paris, Ireland and Alaska. Adams is also a musician, playing the guitar in a local bluegrass band.

The Guth’s have participated in the race before and hold the record for their age division in a two-person RAAM.

Janssen’s introduction to cycling was in 2010 as a means to keep off weight. He started out able to manage up to eight miles a day, but has built on that. Just last year he competed in an event that took him and his team 630 miles around Lake Ontario in three days.

Though he jokes that cycling is the only exercise he can think of where he can sit down the whole time, he understands how intense it really is.

“We ride at least 1,125 miles each month, pretty routinely,” Janssen said of his team’s preparation. “That gives us good training in terms of endurance and getting our nutrition and hydration right.”

Janssen said he was “smitten” with the whole process when he was a crew member, and he is looking forward to his first time racing as a competitor.

“The whole sense of being able to do it now just stuck with us,” Janssen said. “It was an exciting prospect.”

RAAM has several different racing categories including a solo race and various team races. All riders start in Oceanside, though the solo riders begin four days earlier, on June 16.

There are 55 time stations where racers call into Race Headquarters and report their time and location. It is a timed race, with no scheduled stops.

The sheer magnitude of the race requires intense preparation as the teams need to figure out a way to coordinate their racers and crew.

The Bike Like a Girl team has a crew of 20, in addition to the eight riders, and will be traveling with five vehicles, including two RVs. Janssen’s team has 10 crew members and three vehicles.

“It’s an intense operation,” Lunt said. “The logistics of getting eight racers and 20 crew across the country is staggering.”

Even prior to the race, the crew has proved to be invaluable, plotting course maps and giving the women a good sense of the topography so they can hone their strategy.

The team plans to race in shifts, breaking into two teams of four riders with each team racing a 10-hour shift and each racer doing a 20-minute ride. The team has done some simulations, but Lunt admitted there’s really no way to actually practice for this type of race.

“This is really strange because you go out there and do basically a 20-minute sprint,” She said. “Then you cool down for an hour. And you do that 55-65 times in 6-7 days.”

Janssen said his team plans to rotate its riders every 30 miles during the first three days. He said race conditions, such as heat or steep inclines, could shorten a racer’s duration.

The different terrain and environments along the course will also prove to be a challenge. The course varies from the deserts of California and Arizona, where temperatures can get above 105 degrees to the elevations of Colorado, into the plains of Kansas and the woods of the Appalachians.

Janssen said his team has hopes of setting the record for the 60-69 mixed gender division, which is currently set at seven days.

“Really, things have to come together,” he said. “If we hit head winds in Kansas, there’s just no way to hit that record. There are just all sorts of things out of our control.”

Aside from the excitement of the race and the personal accomplishment of finishing, both teams are racing to support various causes.

The Bike Like a Girl team is racing in support of World Bicycle Relief, which provides bikes for women and girls in Africa and Central America. They are also supporting Women’s Cycling Association, which aims to create cycling camps for girls, while also providing scholarships and teaching them the basics of bike handling and bike mechanics. And the team is also promoting Bicycle Advocates for Annapolis & Anne Arundel County, a two-year-old bicycle advocacy group that promotes bicycle safety.

And, as evident by the team’s name, the women are hoping to raise general awareness for a need to grow the sport of cycling among women.

“Because the momentum has been so great, people donate to us every day,” Lunt said. “There is a real need for a women’s cycling community locally and in other places. We’ll have big conversation about where to go next.”

Janssen’s team is raising awareness for the Semper Fi Fund, which provides financial assistance and support to post-911 wounded, critically ill and injured members of all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families, according to the program’s Web site.

The team is also receiving sponsorship from the group, Trusting in Him for Relief of Suicidal Thoughts.

While most would consider training for the race to be a full-time job in itself, the racers are trying to balance day jobs and family responsibilities with an intense training schedule.

“Not only are you training for a 3,000-mile bike ride, you’re involved in a full-fledged fund raising campaign,” she said. “Oh, by the way, while I’m retiring from the Navy, doing a full-time job and training 10-15 hours a week.”

But, she said the team has found a way to prioritize everything in their lives.

“It’s a testament to the professionalism of the women on the team,” Barnes said.

Janssen estimates that solo riders and teams need a budget of around $25,000 to $110,000, depending on the number of racers and crew. The Beau, Babe & Buds team has done some fundraising and received contributions from sponsors, but the rest has come out of the racers’ pockets.

Similarly, the Bike Like a Girl team has received support from numerous sponsors including Bike Doctor in Annapolis and Sheehy Lexus of Annapolis, which is providing a transit vehicle for the team during the race.

And while many of the racers will be clocking 3,000 miles, only to have to travel back home, Lunt, Barnes, Janssen and company have the luxury of finishing close to home. For the last eight years, the race has ended in Annapolis.

The race’s formal finish is at Ram’s Head, but the racers get a police escort downtown for the ceremonial finish. Lunt said the team rides by Ram’s Head often, where the finish line is marked on the pavement.

“I get chills every time I ride by that,” she said.

Janssen said they plan to be joined at the finish line by the Severna Park peloton and said the extra support is providing motivation.

“Unlike a lot of teams and the solo riders, we’ll have a pretty large contingent of folks who have been following us and will see us at the end,” Janssen said. “It’s icing on the cake for them to be there at the end.”

Barnes said the race’s finish means something for the entire community, not just the racers.

“This race highlights Annapolis every year,” she said. “This is a completely different side of Annapolis. People come from all over the world.”

Race Across America

What: 3,000-mile cycling race

Format: Solo, 2-person, 4-person and 8-person relay teams.

When: Solo start June 16; team start June 20; teams have nine days to finish.

Where: Oceanside, California, to Annapolis

Who: Bike Like a Girl 8-person relay team – Lisa Lunt (Annapolis), Michelle Faurot, Kristen Seibert (Annapolis), Erin Kelly Ferner (Annapolis), Kristin “Rosie” Barnes (Arnold), Andréa Williams (Annapolis), Bridget Webster, Melissa Chick (Edgewater); Beau, Babe & Buds 4-person relay team – Earl Janssen (Severna Park), Chip Adams (Severna Park), John Guth, Nancy Guth).

Links: For more information on the Bike Like a Girl team, visit http://www.bikelikeagirl.org.

For more information on the Beau, Babe & Buds team, visit https://raambbb.wordpress.com.

For race updates, visit http://www.raceacrossamerica.org.

For live coverage of the race, visit http://www.RideFarther.com.

Delaware-Maryland Synod

At about the time in life when many pastors are planning for retirement, Pastor Earl Janssen from Our Shepherd Lutheran Church in Severna Park, Maryland is planning the most challenging event he has ever attempted. He is bicycle racing across the country in a race that Outside magazine has described as “The World’s Toughest Race.”

The Race Across America (RAAM) is a coast-to-coast 3,021 mile bicycle race including nearly 21 miles of vertical change. Riders face sleep deprivation, intense desert heat, high altitude mountain climbs and the probability of strong headwinds and storms. Pastor Earl is the youngest member of a four-person mixed gender relay team: Team Beau, Babe, & Buds. Their average age is 62.5 years old. According to Pastor Earl, part of their team goal is to continue to redefine expectations of older adults. “This race reflects my attitude toward life and ministry in this time of my life. This is not a time to sit back on a rocking chair and coast into retirement. This is a time to take charge with new challenges. The church is rapidly changing and needs the mix of innovation, creativity, experience, and energy.”

In the last several years, Our Shepherd has begun to move from a membership model to a discipleship model following a time of congregational discernment. “Cycling has given me both the energy and stamina to engage ministry in completely new ways,” notes Pastor Earl. “I’m out riding at 5:30 a.m. nearly every morning year-round. It is a great way to start the day.” Since beginning cycling a little more than five years ago, Pastor Earl has covered more than 40,000 miles (that’s at least one and a half times around the globe).

You can read more about Pastor Earl in this article published by Portico Benefit Services. The race begins this Saturday, June 20, in Oceanside, California, and will end in Annapolis, Maryland. You can follow Pastor Earl’s progress on his blog.

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