Tag Archives: RAAM

Rest costs Walsh 4th position

Just a quick update as I’m running short on time:

Bryce just hit TS 26 in Pratt, KS about 1/2 hour ago as of this writing. It appears the 3 hour rest at TS 25 has cost him, since rider Kenny Souza passed him during this time. There’s no way to tell if Bryce is catching him or falling further behind, so stay tuned for more info once Bryce hits TS 27 later tonight.

Walsh rests at 25

Bryce got to TS 25 in Mullinville, KS at 1:18 CDT, and he was ready for rest. “We were planning to stop here, and it was a good thing we did,” said crew member Jodi Boettner. “The officials were concerned; they said he looked shaky. Now after three hours rest, he looks good again.”

Bryce’s next target is TS 28, roughly 200 miles away. There, he will take a mandatory 2 hour rest minimum. Crew captain Thomas Bérubé said, “We don’t plan on spending one minute longer than the minimum. We can’t afford to.”

There is enough good news to go around, though. For one, although he’s battle-worn and exhausted, Bryce’s spirits appear to be high. “He hasn’t lost his sense of humor,” said Thomas, “when he got off the bike he said, ‘I never thought being on a bicycle could make me so miserable.'”

For another, the “stern talking-to” aimed at the crew by Bryce’s coach already seems to be paying dividends. “We’ve really improved in this area,” said Thomas, “particularly in having decisions made before Bryce gets off the bike, and kicking into high-gear when he’s off.” When Bryce came off the bike at TS 25, three crewmembers jumped to attention: one person tending to his medical needs; one person getting him massaged; and another person feeding him. It appears the “NASCAR pitcrew” analogy from yesterday’s interview is close to the mark.

RAMM riders all over Kansas have been experiencing horrendous weather, although this should start tapering off slowly starting about 6:00 CST, and by 11 things look much better for Walsh and crew. Currently their biggest concern has been strong crosswinds gusting up to 35MPH at some points. Bryce can take small solace in the knowledge that his competitors face the same conditions.

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.

Lucas hot on trail, Walsh holds 4th into Kansas

It’s been a busy night for Walsh and crew, but at roughly 1:00 EST early Friday morning, they made it out of Colorado between stations 22 and 23. At 6:56AM CST, Bryce rolled in to TS 24 in Montezuma, KS.

Talking to Bryce’s crew late last night, they told me they decided to take a good chunk out of Kansas before stopping for rest, in order to try beat out some bad weather. They’ve done so, but Bryce has paid a price in speed due to the S-SE wind coupled with the sheer fatigue from not stopping for rest since 9AM Thursday morning. At station 23, his speed was down almost 3MPH to 13.61, and at station 24 (which he just hit minutes ago as of this writing) he was down even more, to 11.01MPH.

Unfortunately, TS 24 is not a “control point” time station, which means that Bryce is not allowed to rest at this time station and still have this time count toward his required 40 hours of rest. Therefore, Bryce cannot stop here and remain competitive. He must continue until TS 25, and then not rest too long: station 28 is a mandatory control point, meaning here he is required to be off his bike for 2 hours minimum.

Even with these challenges, Bryce has remained in 4th. As of a few minutes ago, Rob Lucas (whom Bryce passed to take the 4th position; see prev. entry) did not appear on the stat sheet for TS 24; however this doesn’t necessarily mean he hasn’t hit it yet, it could mean the stats haven’t been updated. At TS 23, Rob trailed Bryce by only 12 minutes.

Also late last night, I was told that around Trinidad CO, Bryce’s crew made a navigation error that cost Bryce about 30 minutes. Even though, they still were able to catch Rob Lucas and the 4th place position.

Finally, a quick update on rider Kenny Souza, who stopped with pneumonia-like conditions yesterday for 11 hours at TS 18. He’s still quite far behind Bryce, but get this: he posted an absolutely insane average speed of 20.11MPH between stations 21 and 22. As of this writing Souza has yet to reach TS 23, but I’m sure this isn’t the last we’ve heard of this rider today.

For more information on resting and control points, click on the “What is RAAM” link on the right-hand side of the page; they explain it all very well on that page.

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.

Turning up the heat, Walsh takes 4th at 22

Part II of the interview is just going to have to wait, because Bryce just blew by TS 22 in Springfield, CO about a half hour ago, putting up a gaudy 16.35MPH average, and taking the 4th position from rider Rob Lucas to boot. Only 5 minutes separated the riders at the timestation, so this battle is far from over.

This is just unbelievable. Bryce, you are a freak — an absolute ironman in every sense of the word. GO TEAM WALSH!

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.

On cruise control through 21, Walsh closes in on 4th rider

If you read part I of the interview with crew leader Thomas Bérubé posted earlier today, you saw Thomas promise that Team Walsh would start turning up the heat. It appears that so far, he’s been true to his word.

At 6:00p CST, Bryce cruised past TS 21 in Kim, CO. Bryce has increased his average speed and appears to be putting the hammer down on the fourth rider, Rob Lucas. Earlier today, five hours separated the two riders. That gap is now down to 40 minutes.

Stay tuned for part II of the interview with Thomas, as well as a quick update from Jodi Boettner on Bryce’s health, coming later this evening.

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.

quick newsflash

I stated that Kenny Souza had DNFed due to pneumonia earlier today. A reader wrote to inform me that I was incorrect: he’s still plugging away. He trails Bryce by about 1h 45m as of the last stats update.

This is great news, and I think it’s safe to say that this Souza gentleman is one tough son-of-a-gun.

STAY TUNED, more updates coming…

Walsh marches on through 20; interview with crew leader

Bryce has made it through TS 20 in Trinidad, CO. Before the RAAM stats server went completely offline, I was able to glean that he’s still in 5th place, but that was about it. It appears he’s still 5 hours behind the 4th position, and the 6th position is 1h 45m behind Bryce.

What I can say with some certainty is that now, things get much easier in the elevation-change department. I had a chance to have a pretty extended talk with crew chief Thomas Bérubé and also Jodi Boettner this morning, and here’s the contents of those talks:

DC: What’s your view on the ground, Thomas?

TB: Things are relatively good, but we do have some concerns. We just got through the LaVeda Pass, which is the last big elevation change in the Rockies.

DC: That’s the one that gets close to 10,000 feet, right?

TB: Yes, that’s right. At that pass, Bryce was struggling, and he was hurting. My main concern is that right now, we’re running out of the food that he likes to eat, and the fluids he likes to drink. We can’t afford to not keep him fed or hydrated properly, even for an instant.

Bryce stopped for 90 minutes at LaVeda, which helped tremendously. During that break, I went over our race strategy to see where we’re at and where we should be.

DC: And?

TB: We’re ok, but there are some definite concerns there for both Bryce and myself. We are quite a bit off the pace that we set in our original strategy, but that said, our original strategy would put Bryce exactly where the lead rider is now, so maybe that was a bit enthusiastic of a goal.

DC: Why do you think you’re off your pace?

TB: Two main reasons: one, Bryce is taking more rest than we planned; and two, he’s not quite setting the pace on the bike that we’d like him to.

To the first point, the amount we are over on rest corresponds closely to the unexpected California stop that we were forced to take, due to Bryce’s dehydration. Even removing that, we’re still a tiny bit over, but not bad.

To the second point, we’re just not quite where we need to be, and part of this is because we didn’t really know what pace we were capable of setting, and part of this is probably because we need to push a little bit harder.

DC: Looking at the contenders who have been dropping out due to health issues, I imagine that’s a double-edged sword.

TB: Well, that’s exactly right, which is why we haven’t pushed the issue until now. Luckily, Bryce’s coach met up with us at TS 18 and watched Bryce ride from our follow vehicle. She really knocked the crew into shape and told us to quit molly-coddling the man. Her point is, you can’t allow Bryce to make these decisions: he’s fatigued and not thinking clearly in terms of how much pain he’s in, how tired he is, and what he’s capable of. It’s the crew’s job to determine these things for Bryce, and push him to meet his absolute full potential.

DC: Do you have any specific remedies in-place?

One of the first things we can do as a crew, — and Bryce’s coach brought this up as well — is just get more organized and professional. We are sort of lolly-gagging around when we stop at the timestations, and we let Bryce in the van and just kind of take our time with him, and then go, “are you ready to go back now Bryce?” We need to have more of the mentality of a NASCAR pit crew: we need to be fast, organized, efficient, and prepared. Decisions should be made before Bryce gets off his bike, and we should just kick into high gear at this point.

Stay tuned for Part II later on today (before 8:00P central).

Walsh makes strong statement through 19, moves to 5th

After yesterday’s massive climb at TS 17 (see the previous post first if you haven’t read it), Bryce has managed to place himself within an elite few: the top five racers in RAAM. A couple of things have happened relatively quickly to allow this to happen, one positive and one not-so-positive.

First the bad news: it appears rider Kenny Souza has DNFed (CORRECTION: Nope! Still racing, but behind Bryce) due to pneumonia. As I said when Robic DNFed, nobody likes to see top riders forced to leave the race, and we wish him the best.

Now the good news: Walsh is running extremely well, and is holding his position on the 4th racer and the leader. It looks like Bryce’s sister Jodi meant it when she said, “his mindset is one of competition.”

After reaching TS 19 in La Veta CO at 6:40 AM CDT, Bryce is now heading towards 20. If you look at the elevation map for 20, you’ll see that it’s got a peak that — while not quite the scale of the one he conquered on TS17 — is definitely no slouch either. This current leg has 3,950 feet of climbing in just over 60 miles, and the grade is steep.

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.

Walsh defeats Rockies, pushes on through 17

Bryce is now done with the “uphill” part of the Rockies, having safely reached TS 17 in South Fork Colorado at 11:00p CDT — and at a fair clip of 13 MPH to boot. This means Bryce is nearly 1/3 of the way to the finish line with almost 1000 miles under his belt.

In an early Wednesday update, I said that the elevation changes ahead of Bryce weren’t quite as severe as the day before. I judged this based on looking at the elevations of the various time stations along the route, and it is this information that I described in my earlier post.

I failed to grasp one extremely important factor, though. Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words; and so this elevation map demonstrates precisely what that factor was:

elevation map

Yes, TS 17 isn’t that much higher than 16, but between the two stations lies a massive 11,000-foot peak that appears to exist for the sole purpose of making RAAM contenders’ lives a living hell (and rookie RAAM blog writers as well, I might add).

This is the infamous “Wolf Creek Pass” that Thomas referenced in his interview on Wednesday. To put this in perspective: airplanes are required to pressurize their cabins at over 10,000 feet. That is high altitude, people.

But that’s all in the rear-view mirror now. I’m very pleased to report that Bryce appears to have handled this collosal challenge with aplomb, and that the confidence of the crew leader was not at all unwarranted.

Bryce is currently in 6th place, close to the 7th rider and about 6 hours off the fifth. Now let’s see if he can go down a mountain as well as he can go up it. My guess is yes, he can.

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.

Quick update

Bryce just hit TS 16. I’m not in a place where I can write more, but expect an update later tonight. The stats on the side tell the tale.