What a thrill to be at the start line for the men's solo race on Wednesday.
Charlie and Richard were there - great to finally meet Charlie in person - and they enjoyed reuniting with racers they know and wishing everyone well. Richard served as an escort for the first few miles after the "parade route" on which riders are unaccompanied by support vehicles. On Saturday, our riders will be on that parade route themselves; surely they were contemplating this as they watched the men's solo riders go out.
Charlie (front) and Richard watch the men's solo start
The highlight of the day for Johanna, our Slovenian crew member, was meeting countrymen Jure Robic, the defending RAAM champion, and Marco Baloh, who provides strong competition for Robic in this year's race. Johanna personally delivered good wishes and presented Robic with a homemade potica, Slovenian nutroll pastry. Robic was delighted, thanked Johanna with a hug and kiss and graciously spent time chatting and posing for photos.
(Slovenian racing fans take note: Robic's team is offering 24-hour streaming video of the race at http://www.jurerebic.net/. Baloh also is on the Web at http://www.marcobaloh.com/.)
Erik Rosenstein and Tomaz Percic are also racing for Slovenia and Johanna wished them well also. They are the favorites in the two-man division, but we are hoping to give them a good run.
The best thing about being at the solo start line was being in the presence of all these endurance athletes and watching them, some of them RAAM rookies, begin their 3000-mile journeys. There has been a lot of hard work and preparation for all participants in RAAM, and all of us at Team Reaching Heights wish everyone involved Godspeed and a safe race.