Tag Archives: RAAM

On the road with crew member Jodi Boettner

Team Walsh crewmate Jodi Boettner was nice enough to take five minutes out of her busy schedule to provide us an interview. Jodi plays a crucial role in monitoring and maintaining Bryce’s health, and also happens to be Bryce’s sister (one of two Walsh sisters on Bryce’s crew).

DC: How does Bryce look after the rest?

JB: Great! We stayed at Durango for four hours, and Bryce slept for three of those. The other hour he used to eat, shower, and attend to medical needs. He looks much better now than when we put him down. Right now, we’re following him towards TS 16, and he’s racing strong.

DC: How has Bryce been doing so far, physically?

JB: Well, the first day he lost a lot of weight from the dehydration — almost 8 pounds. Once we got the dehydration stabilized, his weight stabilized too. We weigh him regularly because it’s very important to monitor the rider’s weight at all times.

Bryce is suffering from saddle sores as all riders do, but we think we have these under control now because they don’t seem to be getting worse. They are somewhat painful for him, but they don’t seem to be slowing him down or making him suffer too much. Beyond that, he’s got some more minor concerns like hip pain, swelling in the joints, and some sore hamstrings. Overall, he’s looking very healthy and physically able to compete at a high level.

DC: How about psychologically?

JB: I believe he’s psychologically doing very well. Bryce’s worries are that he’s not far enough ahead, and if he can make up enough time to compete with the riders ahead of him. His mindset is one of competition, not “can I finish the race,” or “can I stay on my bike.” It’s a competitor’s mindset, which I think is psychologically a very good thing for him right now.

…Hold on, I have to feed Bryce, he’s asking for food…here talk to Thomas…

TB: Hi!

DC: Hi Thomas! How’s Bryce looking right now?

TB: Very strong. He’s asking for food which is always a positive thing. I think we’ll hit the peak sometime before sunset, which means we will be going downhill in the dark.

DC: Is that a concern?

TB: Yes it is, but we’re lighting his path up pretty darn well with the follow vehicle. It’s a concern, but a lesser one.

DC: I have a comment on the blog here, where a reader wants to know, “Who has the unfortunate job of trying to wake Bryce up? Do you have to draw straws? And how hard is it?”

TB: That job falls to Jody and me. It’s definitely tough to wake him up. Back in Arizona, I had to literally shake him for minutes in order to get a response. When these riders sleep, they sleep hard.

But really, that’s boring stuff. A better question is, “Who gets to tend to his saddle sores,” which I’m happy to say is NOT me, it’s Jody. Speaking of which, she’s free again so I’ll put her back on…

JB: I gave Bryce a peanut butter sandwich and told him I was talking to you on the phone.

DC: What did he say?

JB: “Cool.”

DC: That’s Bryce all right–never say 10 words when one will do. As long as we’re talking about food, let me ask you: What is Bryce eating and drinking, and how often?

JB: We’ve been feeding him peanut butter sandwiches lately, and he likes those pretty well. For drink, we’ve been switching off between: gatorade and water; pedialyte and water; Ensure; and the occasional Coke with water. We get him 2 drinks every half hour, which is about 28 ounces of fluids. Right now he’s asking us for food and drink which is a great thing, because sometimes we have to practically force-feed it to him.

DC: That’s about it for me, do you have anything you’d like to say before I let you go?

JB: Mom, Dad — I just want you to know, that your son is doing an excellent job, and that I’m just amazed at his ability. Just amazed. All three of us send you our love.

Update from crew leader

I just got off the phone with Thomas Bérubé mintues ago. Here’s his update:

DC: How is Bryce doing?

TB: Bryce is doing well — outstanding. He’s currently sleeping in Durango and we’re busy preparing for our departure and the upcoming climb. He’s looking good, but tired obviously.

DC: Tell me about the next part of the race.

TB: The next thing on our agenda is dealing with Wolf Creek Pass, which brings us to our highest elevation of the race. At this point, the effects of high altitude start to wear on the riders as much as the climbing itself. Fortunately, Bryce knows this part of the course well having ran it more than once in the past. He’s confident in his approach, and so am I.

DC: It appears to be a close race between Bryce and the #7 rider, Jean – Marc Velez. Is this something Bryce or the crew is paying attention to, or strategizing over?

TB: Bryce is concentrating on keeping steady, not paying too much attention to the other racers, which is what I’ve advised him to do. He is aware of them and where he’s at, but his focus is on staying the course. It’s too early to worry about going head-to-head with another racer, you will just burn yourself out. I told him not to worry about those sorts of matters until we reach New Jersey. Stay the course.

DC: Did you hear about Jure’ Robic dropping out?

TB: Yes. I talked to his crew not long ago. He apparently had water in the lungs, which is a fairly serious but common condition in races of this nature. I am confident he will fully recover and we will see him in future RAAM events. It takes more than that to keep an athlete like Robic down.

Thanks for the update Thomas! GO TEAM WALSH!

Walsh takes 7th along with mandatory rest

According to the latest stat sheet update, Bryce is now taking his mandatory rest at TS 15 in Durango CO, as of 9:50a CDT this morning.

He should rest well: it appears he has once again passed rider Jean – Marc Velez (who passed him on the previous leg) to re-take 7th. These two have been neck-and-neck for over 24 hours now and neither looks to be giving any quarter to the other. To watch these two top athletes battle it out is exhilarating, even if the only place we can watch it is through the stats sheet.

As noted in a previous update, the course has taken a turn in the “up-up-UP” direction, but now things start get just a tiny, tiny bit better. Bryce climbed over 2100 feet to cover the 90-some miles between Montezuma Creek and Durango. Over the next 117 miles, he must climb another 1660 feet before starting downward again.

This is the sort of climb that makes an automobile start to sweat hard, forget about what it does a cyclist.

I’m still waiting for another update from the crew leader. He’s promised me a phone call early today, so stay tuned for more info.

GO TEAM WALSH!

NEWSFLASH: It appears that one of the top-tier riders, Jure’ Robic, has DNFed due to a medical condition. We all wish Jure the best and hope he’s OK — nobody likes to see a top contender DNF. Due to this situation, Walsh moves up to 6th.

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.

CORRECTED: Walsh makes CO after slight setback; now ready for rest

NOTICE: There are corrections to this post, added below.

Bryce made TS 14 in Cortez, CO at 5:19a CDT this morning, rock-solid in 7th 8th place. Amazingly, he took no rest at all in Utah (as I erroneously predicted he would), and only 15 minutes rest at Cortez (CORRECTION: according to the RAAM stats, he took no rest at Cortez and 40 minutes at Mexican Hat, UT). This is all in preparation for arriving at TS 15 in Durango CO, because this is a mandatory stop (the first of five such stops) where Solo Enduro racers are required to get off the bike for two hours.

I talked to Bryce’s crew leader Thomas Bérubé a few minutes ago, and although he’s calling me back later in the morning with a more detailed account, here’s what I was able to glean from him now:

“Yesterday was a very good day. Bryce looked very strong yesterday and throughout the night, and he is now ready for a well-deserved rest in Durango.

“Unfortunately, his crew made a minor navigation mistake between 13 and 14 that cost Bryce about 15-30 minutes. Other than that, it’s been smooth sailing!”

Due to the navigation error, you would think Bryce would have lost time against the 6th man, but you’d be dead wrong. I show him now gaining time on both the 6th man and the leader, and increasing separation with the 8th man. CORRECTION: I made a mistake. Bryce was passed between 13 and 14 and has dropped to 8th. Sorry for the confusion.

NEWSFLASH: Just talked to Thomas–Bryce just got to Durango! More details and stats to come soon!

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 holds 7th at TS 13, looks toward Rockies

What a day for Bryce. He just hit TS 13 in Montezuma Creek, UT. Almost exactly 24 hours ago, he passed TS 8 in Williams AZ, 270 miles away.

But now, the race takes a change of the decidedly “uphill” variety. Today Bryce dropped almost 2500 feet in elevation, but by the time he reaches TS 14 in Cortez CO, he will have climbed 1740 feet in just 50 miles–and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

This is, as they say, “where the going gets tough, and the tough get going.”

As one would expect, Bryce’s pace has dropped off a bit and I would imagine he’s resting in Montezuma in preparation for the big climb. He’s still well in 7th place; he lost a bit on the 6th rider, but is gaining a bit on the lead man. All in all, I’d say a very good day for Bryce.

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 blows through 12, reclaims 7th position

Bryce is out of Arizona, and I can almost hear him saying “good riddance.” His current location (as of about 40 minutes ago) is TS 12 in Mexican Hat, UT.

It looks like your letters of encouragement are working. With a blistering 16.6 MPH average since TS 11, Bryce reclaimed the 7th position and looks poised to make a run at 6th with only 80 minutes separating him and the next rider. I still haven’t talked to the (probably now-ecstatic) crew leader, but I think it’s safe to say that Bryce is running extremely well right now and we should all be proud of him.

I still expect a call sometime tonight from the crew leader, so STAY TUNED!

PS: I’m passing on all notes of encouragement left in the comments area of this website directly to Bryce. Thomas (the crew captain) can’t stress enough how important your support is to a rider in a race like this. Please use this tool to make yourself a crucial component in Bryce’s success. You can also email me your comments, but putting it in the comments section here can only help generate more excitement for everyone.

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 bears down, ramps up through 11

Bryce just blew by TS 11 in Kayenta, AZ about 50 minutes ago.

Holding on solidly to 8th, Bryce really got his back into it and improved his average MPH dramatically over the previous leg–from 8.28MPH to 15.63MPH. That is smoking, people.

I still haven’t received a field update from the crew chief, but expect one any time now. STAY TUNED!

PS: I’m passing on all notes of encouragement left in the comments area of this website directly to Bryce. Thomas (the crew captain) can’t stress enough how important your support is to a rider in a race like this. Please use this tool to make yourself a crucial component in Bryce’s success. You can also email me your comments, but putting it in the comments section here can only help generate more excitement for everyone.

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 stays in 8th past other rider’s DNF

Bryce just went past TS 10 in Tuba City, AZ about an hour ago as of this writing. I haven’t talked to the crew chief yet so I’m not sure how he is looking, but I’m sure Bryce would love to get his MPH up a couple of notches.

Bryce briefly took 7th when rider Valentin Zeller called DNF due to Medical reasons (best of luck to him and we all hope he’s OK), but it was short-lived as Bryce was passed by Jean – Marc Velez soon after. As of now, Bryce is 15 minutes behind Velez and 16 hours behind the leader.

I’m expecting a field update from the crew chief later today, so stay tuned. KEEP IT UP BRYCE, we’re all rooting for you!

PS: I’m passing on all notes of encouragement left in the comments area of this website directly to Bryce. Thomas (the crew captain) can’t stress enough how important your support is to a rider in a race like this. Please use this tool to make yourself a crucial component in Bryce’s success. You can also email me your comments, but putting it in the comments section here can only help generate more excitement for everyone.

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 closes in on TS 10; drops to 8th

Bryce hit TS 9 in Flagstaff, AZ at 3:00am this morning (central). I was sort of holding out for another stats update before I had to leave for this morning (Bryce must be close to or past TS 10 as of this writing), but no dice. Stats sheet is here.

Bryce took some rest overnight, and this has held him back as he drops to the 8th position. I now show him at 12 hours behind the leader. Hopefully, the rest will recharge his batteries well and he can make up some of that lost time today.

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 hits 8 back on his horse, holds 7th position

According to the latest stats sheet. Bryce just hit Timestation 8 in Williams, AZ, and he is moving much quicker than earlier this afternoon.

By my calculations, he’s still 10.5 hours behind the leader, but now 6 behind the next athlete. However, now the vector is going in the right direction: Bryce has picked up some speed over this last leg, averaging over 13mph vs. just over 9mph when hitting 7.

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.