Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Busy, intense night

From just past Pratt, KS ... Charlie just got off the bike after a 4.5-hour pull. He such a gentle-spirited, sweet-natured guy, but I'll tell you what, on a bike, the man's an animal. He's asleep now, hoping to grab a couple of hours. Richard is back out, we're back in daytime rules, and all seems somewhat routine for now. (Understand that things are never quite what we'd generally think of as routine, exactly.)

Last night was somewhat intense. A slight navigational snafu put us back a while, but it also showed us a great display of sportsmanship from our E-Hub friends. The route in Plains, KS is very tricky, there's a sneaky turn in there and in the dark, it eluded us for a second. The RV had successfully navigated it (albeit with some difficulty) and was waiting a few miles down the road to make an exchange with Charlie and the Follow vehicle. We passed the E-Hubbers' RV when we went past the time station, so we knew they were in the neighborhood, too.

We saw a racer and vehicle behind us take a wrong turn, but because it's impossible to make out clearly who is who in the middle of a dark night in Kansas, we weren't sure if it was our Follow. From our exchange point on the side of the road, I made phone contact with our Follow and was trying to establish if they and Charlie were off-course. During that phone conversation, the E-Hub racer and Follow approached us.

As they got closer, an E-Hub crew member rolled down the window of their van and yelled, "Are you 205? Are you 205?" (that's our team number), and they pulled off the road. (Remember that during nighttime hours, the racer cannot move ahead unaccompanied, so this required their racer to actually stop for this conversation.)

"You're off course!" she said, genuinely concerned. "Your Follow went the wrong way!" This confirmed my suspicions, and since I was on the phone with our Follow at the time, I was able to help relay the information that they were indeed off course and that they needed to backtrack, find the correct course and have Charlie start from there. When I hung up, I thanked the E-Hub crew. This is definitely something they did not have to do. They could have driven right on by, secretly delighting that we were off-course. But I think they are enjoying the great race that has shaped up between us as much as we are.

"Hvala lepa," I said, throwing out some of the little Slovenian I know. "Screcno pot." (Thank you very much. Good luck/safe trip.) She looked startled to hear her own language, but her "Oh!" and big smile showed she was clearly delighted. "Prosim," she said, smiling. (You're welcome.)

Their racer got back in the saddle and they drove away. As they did, we could hear her say over the loudspeaker to her racer: "They are really nice people, ne?"

This is what RAAM is all about. Everybody out here understands that, even though there are some intense rivalries happening, we really are all in this together. We are hoping that everyone out here makes it to Annapolis. Personally, I think the E-Hubbers are such great sportsmen (& women) that they want the rivalry to be as fair as possible. Both teams are enjoying the sport of this.

The end result of the night is that the RV crew put Richard and his bike into the RV and we drove back on the course to find Charlie and the Follow. We did, and we put Richard on the bike at the point of the course where Charlie left it, and our race resumed. The Follow crew re-reported our time station information and called race officials to report that we had left the course but had backtracked and re-resumed at that point.

Race officials reported, "all good," and we were back on our way.

This sort of thing (going off course) happens frequently during RAAM, and with the complexity of the course, it's truly a miracle that it doesn't happen more. The bottom line is, it's just a hiccup and we're done with it now. We're still riding our own race, we're still about eight hours ahead of the record we're trying to set, and this morning, just after Pratt, we crossed the halfway point in the race, knowing that despite our little snag, we are slowly gaining on the E-hubbers again.

This is awesome!!


Julie said...

Wait a Go! You guys are doing awesome! Keep up the good work!

Mom said...

I'm surprised how well you stay on the route all the way across America...expecially at night time. It certainly was wonderful how the E-Hub people helped youall. Contratulations to ALL of you and keep up the good work.Love you Charlie.

Judy said...

So glad to hear you are back on course again. It is wonderful to hear of such sportsmanship behavior as displayed by the EHub team; now catch them again!

Anonymous said...

Marsha says I've become obsessed tracking your progress. I feel like I'm following you from behind--way behind!

Ride smart and sleep well!

Jody in Grand Junction

Luka in Barbara said...

Jeannie, odli─Źno from your professor!

Cheers for the riders and their crew from Slovenia!

cheryl christie said...

Guys, where's your night googles!!!

Sounds like your doing a phenomenal job....keep up the good work and take home the trophy!!!

Cheryl Christie

Anonymous said...

hey guys - thank goodness for good sportsmanship - still you need to beat them - hah!

keep on peddling - you guys are unbelievable

Sherry (LLS)

(Kelley) Brooke said...

This song was on my mind today as I thought about magnificent first hand experiencing of this beautiful country: Wish I could send to tune to play for the Units.

Let us be lovers we'll marry our fortunes together
Ive got some real estate here in my bag
So we bought a pack of cigarettes and Mrs. wagner pies
And we walked off to look for America

Kathy, I said as we boarded a greyhound in pittsburgh
Michigan seems like a dream to me now
It took me four days to hitchhike from Saginaw
Ive gone to look for america

Laughing on the bus
Playing games with the faces
She said the man in the gabardine suit was a spy
I said be careful his bowtie is really a camera

Toss me a cigarette, I think there's one in my raincoat
We smoked the last one an hour ago
So I looked at the scenery, she read her magazine
And the moon rose over an open field

Kathy, I'm lost, I said, though I knew she was sleeping
I'm empty and aching and I don't know why
Counting the cars on the New Jersey turnpike
They've all gone to look for America
All gone to look for America
All gone to look for America

Caroline said...

I've read stuff Charlie has written in the past about cross country rides. I come away so inspired by the riders. I'm astonished they can muster the courage and the strength to get on the bike one more time and do it several times each day. Hurray for the Slovenians! What a class group. Keep going. The group of followers is growing!

Caroline K

Katie said...

Keep up the great work both riders and crew! I am having a great time tracking your progress on Google Earth. Every time Jeannie posts, I place a push pin on your route. Keep it going, your progress is amazing!

Katie in Ann Arbor

Anonymous said...

Yeah for the EHubs being so nice. Now I feel bad that we're going to kick their butts.

~ Laura Stokes

Mom said...

It must be time for your long night ride. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK ! All of us at Pyle are watching your blogs and marking your progress on our map. Wendy and the rest of us wish you the best and everyone is amazed at your progress. are doing a great job too. Thanks Eileen, Lary,and all of you.Love, Mom

Anonymous said...

Hey Richard, Jim
The team is doing well. You are continuing to clip along at record pace. Finish up the way you started. I am following looking in several times a day.

Walt Chapman

Anonymous said...

Sorry Charlie Mark tried to get time from the Army to cheer you no but the Army isn't cooperating. Maybe next time he can request leave when you go through....Mark says KICK FANNY! Keep going, YOU GUYS ROCK!!!!

(Kelley) Brooke said...

I see we hit the Mississippi River this afternoon...

Wish I could send you the actual song bytes, but here is my song dedication:

Well, I built me a raft and shes ready for floatin
Ol mississippi, shes callin my name
Catfish are jumpin
That paddle wheel thumpin
Black water keeps rollin on past just the same

Old black water, keep on rollin
Mississippi moon, wont you keep on shinin on me
Old black water, keep on rollin
Mississippi moon, wont you keep on shinin on me
Old black water, keep on rollin
Mississippi moon, wont you keep on shinin on me
Yeah, keep on shinin your light
Gonna make everything, pretty mama
Gonna make everything all right
And I aint got no worries
cause I aint in no hurry at all

Well, if it rains, I dont care
Dont make no difference to me
Just take that street car thats goin up town
Yeah, Id like to hear some funky dixieland
And dance a honky tonk
And Ill be buyin evrybody drinks all roun

Old black water, keep on rollin
Mississippi moon, wont you keep on shinin on me
Old black water, keep on rollin
Mississippi moon, wont you keep on shinin on me
Old black water, keep on rollin
Mississippi moon, wont you keep on shinin on me
Yeah, keep on shinin your light
Gonna make everything, pretty mama
Gonna make everything all right
And I aint got no worries
cause I aint in no hurry at all

Id like to hear some funky dixieland
Pretty mama come and take me by the hand
By the hand, take me by the hand pretty mama
Come and dance with your daddy all night long
I want to honky tonk, honky tonk, honky tonk
With you all night long
Keep on Honky Tonky-ing with your Big/Bigger Unit Bad Selves!!

MOM said...

Dear Jeannie,
I miss your blogs! Although I can tell where the guys are by the TS's I miss your comments. I saw that the TS was slower by the Mississippi River; was that because of more hills? Like Ol Man River youall just keep pushin' along. You are over half way there! You are doing great! GO CHARLIE AND RICHARD GO!!