Q: What's on the guys' ipods?
A: I won't give you a complete list right this second because, one, I'm not in the Follow van, which is where the music is being broadcast to the guys, and two, that would take way more mental energy than I currently have. But generally speaking, I can tell you this: Richard says he digs listening to Tom Petty when he's on the bike, and I know he's got some Sting on there because Eileen was loading that up for him last time I was on the phone with her.
Among Charlie's faves are George Thorogood's "Bad to the Bone" when he's climbing a mountin, and the Allman Bros' "Whipping Post." His all-time favorite is Tina Turner's "We Don't Need Another Hero," mainly because he agrees with that sentiment and because, as they used to say on American Bandstand, "it's got a good beat." Charlie says the song reminds him not to try to be a "first-day hero" and that it's all about showing up for work every day and getting things done.
Q: What is a day's food list look like? Same every day or do you change it up? How many calories in a day's intake?
A: On the bikes, the racers take in liquid nutrition in the form of Perpetuem, a product of Hammer Nutrition, a RAAM sponsor. Along with Gatorade, there's always a bottle of Perpetuem on the bike. In between rides, the guys eat a variety of things, mostly things from the snack family - salty things like chips and pretzels, candy bars (Richard is a Payday fanatic), bananas, bagels, sometimes oatmeal, sometimes a simple turkey and cheese sandwich (no condiments, because, as Charlie says, this is about calories, not flavor.) Both like a cup of coffee after their "long" sleep.
Incidentally, for that purpose, they purchased the coolest machine: it's a Keurig coffeemaker, into which you insert a little pod-like thing of coffee, make sure there's water in the maker and close the machine. It's idiot-proof, it brews one cup at a time and then you just toss the little pod thing out. No grounds to deal with - it's the best!
Charlie needs about 8,000 or 9,000 calories a day; Richard can blow through 10-12,000. The guys monitor their weight and body fat index carefully and when one of them is down a pound or two, we take steps to get some solid food into them. Charlie tossed back a cheeseburger the other day, even though I don't think he really wanted it. He realized he was down a few pounds and did what was necessary.
Yesterday, he and Richard were both down a few pounds and Crew member Don Magie, a cyclist himself, talked the guys into some pasta. The RV crew used GPS to locate a Pizza Hut and scored some pasta with marinara (no vegetables - too hard to digest.) Both of the guys ate it, loved it and have requested more for tonight. Two family sized orders are already waiting for them in the RV after their night rides. We're delighted to see them eating it with such gusto - obviously they need the calories and long-chain carbs to keep up their strength.
Both guys also drink lots of Ensure. Immediately after he gets off the bike, Richard throws down a bottle of Ensure Plus - takes about 5 seconds, honestly!
Q: What would you have done if (suspected laundry thief) had tried to fight you for those clothes?
A: Are you kidding? Nobody's getting in the way of these guys getting to Annapolis. Besides, she was a scrawny little thing; she was toast.
Q: What does Chase and Follow mean?
A: The Chase and Follow are support vehicles for RAAM riders. Generally speaking, the RV is used to house the racers for their "long" sleeps during the night, for racer shower and bathroom needs and for storage of gear, all those bottles of liquids and food. The Follow is the van that accompanies the racer, riding 30 or so feet behind him. It is equipped with generally the same things as the RV, but in smaller quantities because of limited space. Three crew members are in the Follow - the driver, the navigator and the "third seat," who makes mandatory calls from the time stations to RAAM officials and takes care of the racer's needs. During the day, the racers exchange in and out of the Follow; at night they do it out of the RV. The Chase vehicle is used primarily to shuttle crew back and forth to motels along the route. Usually traveling about 200 miles or so ahead of the racer and other vehicles, the Chase crew gets motel rooms until a designated crew shift time, at which time the now-rested Chase crew becomes the Follow crew. The former Follow crew takes over the hotel rooms for a few hours and then meets back up with the racers later on, after some rest.