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Remember RAAM Fans …

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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Final Preparations!

RAAM Beau, Babe, & Buds site has been updated with a new post.

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Be sure to “follow” us on that page for the most up-to-date information.

The End of Speed Training

Today’s ride with the Severna Park Peloton marked the last of my speed work for RAAM.  It was a fun, fast day.

Last night, Scott W notified the group that Thursday would be “Torture Thursday” and “Chip says he wants to crush souls. I hope to hang on.”

As a result of this, I contemplated leaving the fixie at home so I could ride a geared bike, but my geared bikes are all set up and ready for RAAM, so I rode the fixie.  I was the only one who showed up on a fixed gear bike.

The pace was quick from the start, and only got faster.  The group divided into three parts, the really fast guys, Dan & I, and those who decided not to race.  Dan and I stayed close, but couldn’t close the gap that happened as we went up the first hill.  At the turn around, we reconnected with the lead group and stayed with them through the end of the ride.

When it was all done, I had set a personal record for the main part of the ride (21.5 mph avg.) … on my fixie!  I also achieved 37.2 mph on that fixie, which meant that my rpms were about 165!  Yes, those legs were a spinning blur.

It is time now to back off the speed work and to ride to just keep the legs loose for the next week or so.

Tomorrow I load my bikes and gear into the van for the trip out to California.  Next Wednesday I fly out for a few days of final preparation and the race begins June 20 @ approximately 3:15 p.m. Easter Daylight Time.  I’m looking forward to it.

The Following Story Appeared on My Insurance Company Website

In early 2009, I was thoroughly disgusted with my weight (190 lbs on a 5’5″ frame) and overall health (52 years old with high blood pressure). I focused on a weight loss program and was able to lose 40 lbs. It was quite an effort. Thankfully, it only took a few months for my blood pressure to drop enough that I could stop taking medication.
Knowing I couldn’t let my weight creep up like that again, I decided to get in shape. Running was out of the question. My knees couldn’t handle it and I had a bunion that made walking painful. Instead, I bought a bicycle in January 2010 and started riding.

At first, 30 minutes on the bike — about 8 miles — was more than enough. I came home exhausted and yet a little proud of the accomplishment after so many years of sedentary life. I set a goal of doing a 100-mile ride in October of that year, but managed to accomplish that distance by June. I joined a local cycling club that rode every weekday morning at 5:45 a.m. That became a perfect time to ride and I gradually got stronger and faster. I also joined Randonneurs USA, a long-distance cycling club.

In 2011, I volunteered to be a crew member for a friend who was racing in the Race Across America (RAAM) as a solo rider. What an inspirational experience! I decided at the end of the race that I wanted to at least qualify for this race by the time I was 60. My long distance rides increased. In 2011 I rode 235 miles in 24 hours. In 2013 I rode 385 miles in 2 days. In 2014 I rode 630 miles in 3 days. Over the past 5-1/2 years I’ve ridden about 38,000 miles. That’s more than 1 ½ times around the earth.

In late 2014 I began discussing with friends the possibility of entering as a team in RAAM. We settled on a 4-person team consisting of a married couple (who hold records in long distance cycling races), another friend, and me. Together we formed RAAM Team Beau, Babe, & Buds. Our average age is 62.5 — I’m the youngest at 59; Nancy is the oldest at 65.
It is a little odd to be entering this race as I approach age 60. I’m in the best physical shape I’ve been in for at least 30 years, and maybe my entire life. Who knew that starting at age 52 with a few miles a day on a bicycle one could eventually become a world-class ultracyclist?

RAAM 2015 teams start June 20 in Oceanside, Calif., and cross the country, ending in Annapolis, Md., just 10 miles from my home. Team Beau, Babe, & Buds plans to cover those 3,000 miles in under seven days – and hopes to set a record speed.

A Lot of Bike Prep

Today I spent some time getting bikes ready for RAAM.  I’m amazed at how long things took.

Washed two bikes and made sure that they were ready for use.

Installed required reflective strips on the Seven and a pair of shoes.

Installed a new tail light on the Seven.

New tires and tubes on the spare wheels, the Seven’s wheels, and the Kona’s wheels.

Installed required reflective strips on three wheel sets.

An emergency trip to the Bike Doctor because my front Seven wheel was making some real noise.  It turned out to be grit under the dust cap.  A minor problem.  I was afraid of a major wheel hub fail.

New chain on the Seven.

Removed extra bottle cages and other items that will not be required on the ride.

New batteries in the Garmin sensors.

I had hoped to get both bikes ready today.  I still have one left to go.

The bikes get loaded for their trip to California on Friday.

This is Getting Real!

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As Chip said today, “This is getting real!”  We had our crew and riders practicing exchanges today.  Race day is now less than 2 weeks away!

Now That Was Fun!

June is a complicated month.  With RAAM less than 3 weeks away, I still needed to get a 200k ridden to keep this 4th R-12 streak going.  June’s 200k would be number 10 in this R-12 attempt.

Between work and preparations for RAAM, there were only 2 days on the calendar that a 200k was possible.  June 2 and June 5.  Both days had forecasted rain, so I grabbed Tuesday and decided to ride.  The forecast said rain, 60 degrees, and relatively light wind.

The reality was a little different.

The wind peaked at about 10 mph.  The temps got to about 55 and as low as 50.  The rain was over the first 1/3 of the ride and the last 1/4.  I had some headwinds, some tailwinds, and a lot of crosswinds.

My goal initially was to simply enjoy the ride, but with the weather, I decided to push it after the first 30 miles or so.  I rode solo.  I was alone with my thoughts, which for some silly reason were all concentrated on RAAM.

Wildlife seen: A deer that was nearly clipped by a semi first, then nearly clipped by me as it ran across the road, three wild turkeys, a momma cat with 2 kittens in tow out in the middle of nowhere, and a lot of dead bullfrogs, black snakes, and birds.

Incidents or near misses: Except for the deer, none. Drivers were very courteous today.

1.3 miles from the finish I ran over a roofing nail with my rear tire.  It went through the tread and out the sidewall.  It wasn’t hard to find the source of the flat.  That repair took about 15 minutes (pump, not CO2).

I’m very pleased that when I passed the 200k mark on this 212k ride my elapsed time was 7:34.  I was chasing an 8:00 to 8:05 time for the 212k when I got the flat.  As it was, an 8:22 elapsed time for 212k was pretty good.

Time to ramp up the posting!

We are down to less than 3 weeks before RAAM!  Preparations continue.

In the last month, I’ve accomplished:

  • Over 1,100 miles in May
  • Chip & I pre-rode the toughest section of RAAM.  The most climbing per mile occurs between Cumberland, MD and Hancock, MD.  It was a real confidence booster!
  • I’ve started ordering final equipment.
  • The bikes were serviced and have been ridden to let everything settle in.
  • A fundraiser was planned.
  • Credentials have been given to Mike B who will be able to post here while we are on the road.

In all of this, I continue to work … which on some days seems to be more a distraction than a primary focus.

A few key things as we move ahead:

  1. A practice day will be held for riders and crew on Saturday, June 6 to practice rider exchanges.
  2. A local Fundraiser will be held at Romelo’s in Severna Park on Monday, June 8 from 5 – 10 p.m.
  3. We load the vans with bikes and equipment June 12 & 13 for their departure to California on June 14.
  4. We fly to California on Wednesday, June 17 and begin our final preparations and training.
  5. The race begins on Saturday, June 20th sometime after 3 p.m. Eastern time.
  6. Arrival in Annapolis is at the end of the race.  A Saturday morning finish (June 27th) would be fantastic!

I’ll be regularly posting here in June.

I’m as ready as I can be.  There is nothing I can do now to increase my fitness gains significantly.  I do plan a June 200k and continued riding.  I need to maintain fitness without getting injured.  Bike prep and packing will continue and I’ll log most of that, so check in often or subscribe to the blog so you will have regular updates.

April Preparations for RAAM

I’m done with miles for April, especially after that last trainer ride.  The sweat was pouring off of me and the puddle under the bike was growing large. It was a hard, fast ride on Zift, a cycling route using inputs from a power meter to simulate actual terrain and compete with other live riders.  Check it out at zwift.com.

Drumroll please.

April miles = 1,017!

April

I rode 27 out of the 30 days in April, and had 12 days with multiple rides.  My rides are getting faster.  This morning, for instance, I put in my best times for 2015 on several of our regular morning ride Strava segments.

I’m slowly dropping some weight.  The multiple rides a day seem to do the most for that.

Our crew roster is full.

Our local monthly newspaper will print an article in June.  (I missed the May deadline.)

We are in California in 7 weeks.

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