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.
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).