I Once Again Learn That I Am Not A Big Deal

So there I was, basking in the glow of my after-brevet glory with co-workers fascinated by my stories of heroism and epic triumph, when I was brought back to earth like the Hindenburg.

I met Gino.

Actually, I already knew Gino.  He’s a fellow from another office downtown that I collaborate with occasionally.  I know he’s into cycling and often races in the area.  He’s a very nice fellow in his mid-50s.  As Gino walked up on one of my “Guess What I Did Last Weekend” talks with coworkers, one of them mentioned that Gino would be racing across the country this summer.

Racing?  Across the country?  There’s only one cross-country race that I am aware of – Race Across America.  It is a brutal test of endurance from Oceanside, California to Annapolis, Maryland.  It is the stuff of myth and legend.

  • – 3,000 miles
  • – 170,000 feet of climbing
  • – One continuous stage.  Once the starting gun goes off the race doesn’t end until you cross the continent.

The ride is 30% longer than the Tour de France and the racers finish in roughly half the time set aside for the TdF.

RAAM Route

RAAM Route

“Are you riding RAAM?”  I asked with incredulity.

“Yes,” said Gino, “but it’s not solo or anything.  I’m on a four person team.”

As if being on a relay somehow makes you less of a stud on RAAM.

No F'ing Way

No F’ing Way

I turned to the group of non-cyclists and said, “Do you have any idea how tough RAAM is?  How incredibly cool it is that we know someone who is going to participate?”  Of course, they did not.  So I immediately monopolized the conversation and peppered Gino with questions about race strategy, sponsorship, training, and anything else I could think of.  It was great to chat with someone about to embark on such a major undertaking.

Gino’s team is called Team Green Beret Foundation.  You can learn more about them here.  He hopes to win the Masters’ (Age 50+) category.

RAAM starts June 15th.  You can follow each racer from their website.  I’ll be sure to check in on Gino.  Unlike a 300 kilometer brevet, he’s trying something really hard.

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10 thoughts on “I Once Again Learn That I Am Not A Big Deal

    • I suspect that will be my longest distance for some time, probably forever. There is a good documentary on RAAM where one of the participants says the event isn’t even about cycling. They push so far beyond what is considered to be “cycling” that it becomes something else. Not sure I’m terribly interested in seeing that personally!

  1. I read an article on the terrifying hallucinations that some of the solo riders suffer from when the tiredness really kicks in. It made me wonder if the event isn’t just too hard.

    • I’ve seen articles like that as well. It’s definitely not for me (or most humans) but I guess there is always something for everybody. A few months ago Gerry at Vicious Cycle posted about an epic cross-Europe ride where everyone could pick their own route. No matter how hard you make an event, somebody will want to push it just a tick further. I suppose as long as the insurance companies are willing to underwrite the event, the show will go on.

  2. Pingback: Other Cyclists | Two Feet Off the Asphalt

  3. I know the feeling. We recently shared a mountain cabin with someone who had completed the relay, and someone else who is preparing to do the full 3,000 miles this year on a recumbent bike. That’s insane! Inspiring, but still insane. Best of luck to Gino as he pursues a phenomenal accomplishment.

    And congrats on your 300 too. That’s not too shabby. 😉

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