Saturday, June 13, 2009
Richard and Jeannie seal the deal
Welcome, friends, family and RAAM fans to our great summer adventure! RAAM officially begins for our two-man team on June 20. Team members will begin gathering in San Diego during this week, and we are all eagerly awaiting the beginning of the race itself. There's still much to be done before that happens.
We are looking forward to sharing everything with all of you. Personally, I am delighted and proud to be included on a team whose primary goal is to do anything and everything to support our two riders across the country safely and quickly (well, “quick” is relative when you’re talking about 3,000-plus miles on a bicycle.)
For me, this grand adventure started a couple of years ago in Richard’s back yard. Richard lives a couple of houses down from me in Cleveland Heights, and he had just completed the PAC Elite Tour in memory of his friend Charles Barr. I was interviewing Richard to write a short “as told to” story for Cleveland Magazine, describing the adventure. (You may read that story here.)
That night it was late and we’d already had a couple of beers when Richard threw out the idea that he might someday give serious consideration to competing in RAAM. It was clear then that RAAM was a dream … an important challenge, one that would still be a bit of a reach. It wasn’t anything that was going to happen immediately. Richard was just playing with the idea, but even then, it was easy to see that in his heart of hearts, it had already begun taking passionate root.
The more we talked about it, the more real it became … if Richard would ride RAAM, I’d be honored to crew for him. I left his house that night thinking what a thrill it would be to have a first-hand view of someone I love and respect doing something so awe-inspiring.
Two years later, our RAAM adventure is imminent. Richard and teammate Charlie Combs have trained, trained and trained some more - on bikes, on weights, inside and outside, in heat, in cold, in sun and snow. They are ready. Their crew - nine of us - is ready as well. I can’t wait to meet the rest of my crewmates, who are scattered about the country, and hear how they came to be involved. We’ve all been preparing in our own ways, and next week, we will finally all meet in San Diego and compare notes.
We can’t wait to get started.
We’re happy you will join us here. The team is meticulously prepared in ways you can’t even imagine, but there are so many variables in an event like this and we know that anything can happen. Still, we look forward to every moment of RAAM and will try to experience every single thing that happens as fully as possible. I’m sure that moments of grace and beauty await us all.