Tag Archives: RAAM

After three position changes, Souza takes 4th

[Note: if you haven’t read last night’s entry, read that first.]

An extraordinary sequence of events took place in the last leg, and now both riders have reached TS 48 in Grafton, WV, with Souza ahead of Walsh by only 14 minutes.

“Bryce was in the lead halfway to Grafton, and Souza moved to pass,” said crew member Jodi Boettner. “The two riders rode together for a few minutes and exchanged words. It wasn’t a heated exchange by any means — I think they were talking about the other riders behind them.” After the exchange Souza moved ahead, but Bryce picked up his own pace too.

About 20 minutes later, Walsh passed Souza to re-take 4th. Another 20 minutes later, Souza passed Walsh again and held on, to claim the 4th position at Grafton. Souza also has the speed advantage: in the last leg, Souza averaged 16.6 MPH to Walsh’s 11.3.

Stay tuned…

NOTE: keep checking the previous post on podcasts too, because I’m adding more as they come in (although as of this writing, there are none since yesterday).

Here’s the latest map:

As always, email carter@pundo.com with questions, comments, or any changes to the race that you know about, that haven’t been captured here.

Through 47, Walsh struggles to hold 4th

[Note: if you haven’t read last night’s entry, read that first.]

The first chapter of the Appalachians is in the books. As of 5:15a CDT, Walsh still holds 4th at TS 47 in Smithburg, WV, but Souza is gaining.

At first glance, it appears Walsh actually made time on Souza, since Bryce’s lead has increased from 37 minutes to 66 minutes. However, Souza surprised all of us and took a 5 hour break at TS 46 — one hour longer than Bryce.

Removing the time spent off-bike from the calculation, Souza averaged 11.46 MPH while Walsh averaged 9.74 MPH — a significant difference. Although Bryce increased his lead due to the shorter break, round one of this “battle in the mountains” goes to Souza.

As mentioned many times before in this blog, Souza has consistently beat Walsh on the flats during this race. Bryce needs to outrace Souza in the mountains to have a chance. If Bryce leaves the Appalachians even with a small lead, Souza is almost certain to catch him.

GO WALSH GO!

NOTE: keep checking the previous post on podcasts too, because I’m adding more as they come in (although as of this writing, there are none since yesterday).

Here’s the latest map:

As always, email carter@pundo.com with questions, comments, or any changes to the race that you know about, that haven’t been captured here.

Stage set for epic battle in mountains

Bryce and Souza are both at TS 46 in Parkersburg WV, where Souza has managed to cut Walsh’s lead to a paltry 34 minutes. Here, both riders will rest off-bike for a minimum of two hours; although they may take more if they wish.

According to the crew, Bryce — while exhausted — remains high in spirit. “We are going to give Bryce the best chance to beat Souza that we can. He’s not giving up, and neither are we,” said crew leader Thomas Bérubé.

When the riders mount their bikes again, they will have another competitor to deal with: the Appalachians. While obviously not the elevation hell of the Rockies, these mountains are nevertheless daunting in their own right, and the riders are at least twice as exhausted as they were then.

Let’s make one thing clear: this is the ballgame, right here. This is all coming down to a full-scale battle for 4th by these two superior athletes, and it’s going to be fought in rough terrain to boot. The contenters: Souza, the seasoned athlete with literally scores of thousands of competitive endurance miles under his belt; and Walsh — the quintessential “sleeper” challenger — already performing far beyond what anyone expected, and who just refuses to submit.

Bryce believes he has this in him. He’s not giving up, and his crew isn’t either. Stay tuned, and if you believe in the power of Walsh, show your support here on this web site.

NOTE: keep checking the previous post on podcasts too, because I’m adding more as they come in.

Here’s the latest map:

As always, email carter@pundo.com with questions, comments, or any changes to the race that you know about, that haven’t been captured here.

With Souza looming, Walsh makes for WV

Bryce passed TS 45 in Athens OH about an hour ago. Sousa continues to give chase, and has shortened Bryce’s lead to 74 minutes.

Assuming Walsh plans to take a 4 hour stop in Parkersburg, and also assuming Souza will take the minimum required 2 hours, it appears certain that Souza will leave Parkersburg before Bryce. It’s probably best that we get used to that idea.

Then, the question becomes: can Bryce overtake him again in the mountains?

Stay tuned.

NOTE: keep checking the previous post on podcasts too, because I’m adding more as they come in.

Thanks for all your comments! They are being relayed directly to the crew chief and from there to Bryce. He’s lucky to have all of you to support him. Keep up the good work!

As always, email carter@pundo.com with questions, comments, or any changes to the race that you know about, that haven’t been captured here.

Crew Podcasts

More coming, but here’s two for starters: Tanya Coyne and Thomas Bérubé. Just click “Play now” link next to the crewmember’s name to listen. if you don’t have Flash installed, there’s also a download link to the left of the “play now” link.

Also: as of this writing, Walsh is still in 4th place. GO WALSH!

UPDATE 6:00p: Mike Feirnstein added.

No gain for Souza as Walsh sets tone

Bryce is past TS 44 in Circleville OH and is riding hard. He won back the 15 minutes that Souza gained over the previous leg, and is now 93 minutes ahead of him.

No update from the team, but last I heard, Bryce still plans to continue straight to Parkersburg, WV. The team is planning to rest Bryce for 4 hours with 3 of those being sleep. That should set him up nicely for the climbing roads ahead.

Weather-wise, things look good: a little overcast, not too hot, and low wind. Good cycling weather!

Thanks for all your comments! They are being relayed directly to the crew chief and from there to Bryce. He’s lucky to have all of you to support him. Keep up the good work!

Here’s the latest map:

As always, email carter@pundo.com with questions, comments, or any changes to the race that you know about, that haven’t been captured here.

Souza gains on Walsh through 43

Bryce passed TS 43 in London OH about an hour ago, and remains in 4th place. Souza is catching him, but slowly, only gaining 15 minutes on Walsh. Their average speeds were very similar through the last leg.

The leg to TS 43 is pretty much all downhill, and if the race up to this point is any indication, this favors Souza. Souza has struggled each other time there was any elevation change of significance: in the rockies, where he almost dropped out; and in the Missouri Ozarks, where Walsh overtook him to claim the fourth position.

Behind this overt excitement, there’s also a subtle strategic battle taking place. Bryce still has 7 hours of rest to take, but the other top riders (including Souza) have already taken their minimum 40 hours of rest. So while initially, the “save your rest for the end” strategy seemed like a darn good idea, now it appears to be a strategic disadvantage for Bryce. The other riders can rest if they must, but they aren’t required to if they mustn’t. Bryce, on the other hand, still has 6.5 hours of rest that he must take no matter what.

At this point, it doesn’t appear that getting rid of this 6.5 hours will be a problem strategically. Where this strategy has hurt Bryce, it hurt him long ago: earlier in the race, he could have spent more time resting, which would have increased his average speed.

One more note on Souza’s brief “disappearing act”: it turns out Bryce’s crew was warned not to take the posted detour at TS 42, and instead follow the original route. It appears likely that this valuable information was not passed to Souza or his crew.

Thanks for all your comments! They are being relayed directly to the crew chief and from there to Bryce. He’s lucky to have all of you to support him. Keep up the good work!

Here’s the latest map:

As always, email carter@pundo.com with questions, comments, or any changes to the race that you know about, that haven’t been captured here.

Detour confusion likely costs Souza 4th

At TS 42 in Troy OH, Walsh crewmember Tanya Coyne didn’t know quite what to think. “The race officials there said Souza hadn’t appeared at TS 42 yet. This was concerning, as we never passed Souza on that leg.”

There was a brief period where Souza’s whereabouts were completely unknown. Then, 90 minutes after Bryce, Souza finally made it to TS 42 himself.

“There is a marked detour on that route,” says RAAM race director Jim Pitre. “Perhaps Souza took the detour and got lost. Other riders have had problems there as well.”

UPDATE: Jim just wrote me to clarify: “The detour as marked by the road construction people could have made a difference of a few minutes vs the RAAM Official detour route in the route book, but certainly not 40 minutes, so I assume Souza must have rested along the way or got lost.

“The Official detour route is clearly indicated in the route book, so failing to follow it is entirely a rider/crew issue. Several riders/crews followed the detour route as marked by the State Officials and did no follow the Official RAAM detour, however because they were ‘self penalized’ by taking a longer route, we did not issue any penalties in this particular situation.”

If this is what happened, the detour cost Souza dearly. At TS 41, Souza lead Walsh by 30 minutes. At TS 42, Walsh lead Souza by 90 minutes.

It’s also possible that Souza decided to rest in-between TS 41 and 42. Since he’s already taken the 40-hour minimum, Souza can now rest anywhere he wishes (with the exception of the upcoming final Mandatory Control Point, where he is required to rest).

Whatever the reason, Walsh now holds a tenuous grasp on the 4th place position.

Thanks for all your comments! They are being relayed directly to the crew chief and from there to Bryce. He’s lucky to have all of you to support him. Keep up the good work!

Here’s the updated map:

As always, email carter@pundo.com with questions, comments, or any changes to the race that you know about, that haven’t been captured here.

Souza’s position currently unknown; Walsh in 4th for now

Just got a call from crew member and Bryce’s sister Tanya Coyne, who is currently in the follow vehicle.

“We are about 20 miles past TS 42. The race officials there said Souza hasn’t appeared at TS 42 as of yet. This is concerning, as we didn’t pass Souza on that leg.”

RAAM website stats confirm: no sign of Souza since TS 41. I have an email into race officials to see if they can shed any light. STAY TUNED…

UPDATE: Souza just hit TS 42, 90 minutes behind Walsh. STAY TUNED…

Souza outlasts Walsh to reclaim 4th

At 12:45a, Bryce made it to TS 41 in Cambridge City IN, and competitor Kenny Sousa made it in exactly one-half hour before Bryce.

“Souza passed Bryce on the leg to TS 41,” said crew leader Thomas Bérubé. “When he came to pass, Souza was moving at a really good clip, about 30 miles an hour. Once Bryce saw Souza coming around, he just couldn’t help himself — Bryce sped up, apparently determined to chase Souza down.”

For about one-half hour, the two athletes battled for the 4th position, with Bryce following closely behind Souza. “I’d say for most of that time, they were moving at around 25 miles per hour, which at this point in the race, is really blazing,” said Thomas.

Finally, though, Bryce relented; deciding it best to stay on his race plan, and live to fight another day. Thomas said, “He wanted to make a point to Souza: ‘I’m here, I’m not going to just let you have fourth, you’re going to have to deal with me for the entire race.’” Even so, for now Bryce must concede the 4th position to the winner of this short duel.

Bryce and crew have decided to cycle through to Parkersburg, WV — roughly 200 miles from TS 41, and the 5th and final mandatory control point. As noted in earlier posts, these are points at which the riders are required to rest off-bike for a minimum of two hours.

Can Walsh catch Souza again, as he did a few days ago after battling stormy weather, while Souza ran in relative comfort? Clearly, Bryce believes he can. “I was worried he’d wear himself out after that stunt, but he seems good — great, even. All he wants to do is catch Souza. I think that taste of direct competition has lit a fire under him,” said Thomas. “He’s one of the most fierce competitors I know.”

To make matters worse, Bryce has another concern on the horizon: after Parkersburg, the climbs begin anew — this time over the Appalachians.

Thanks for all your comments! They are being relayed directly to the crew chief and from there to Bryce. He’s lucky to have all of you to support him. Keep up the good work!

Here’s the updated map:

As always, email carter@pundo.com with questions, comments, or any changes to the race that you know about, that haven’t been captured here.