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Race Across America - NE

USA, June 19-July 1, 2005

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Day 9 - June 27

Beaver Creek - Vail Becomes First Team to Cross Finish Line in RAAM

By Wendy Booher

The road; the fields; the telegraph. RAAM. 'Nuff said.
Photo ©: Chris Milliman
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Riding 3051.7 miles from San Diego to Atlantic City seems only to have improved the rugged good looks of Team Beaver Creek - Vail. The haggard but still smiling team of Mike Janelle, Toph Leonard, Jimi Mortenson, and Brian Smith became the first team to cross the finish line in this year's RAAM with a finishing time of 5 days, 18 hours, 15 minutes.

Remarked for their seamless transition between riders, the team--comprised of four routine 24-hour mountain bike racers--moved across country with locomotive rhythm despite oppressive humidity bearing down on them through much of the race.

"Transition is a very important part of the race," said Toph Leonard. "You need to stay away from high speeds to be able to maintain a consistent speed. The whole idea is to get a rider out on the road, preferably on a hill, and build up speed from there."

Early on in the race, Jimi Mortenson suffered a hurt knee while crossing through Arizona. Despite his claim to being the "weak link," Mortenson has the most experience of anyone on the team with three RAAM entries. Both returning RAAM racers, Mortenson and Janelle's past RAAM experiences proved invaluable in sustaining a winning pace.

From the start, this year's Vail team rode a record-setting pace until nearly Indiana when perhaps insufferable temperatures slowed the team. Unlike last year, this year's RAAM features an additional 7,000 feet of climbing plus 100 extra miles over last year's race. Considering hampering factors like daily temperatures in the 90s, 110,000-feet of climbing and the added mileage, Beaver Creek - Vail maintained an average pace of roughly around 22 mph.

The next team expected to arrive is the four-man team IWC Schaffhausen at 16:34 this afternoon. Stay tuned to for up-to-the-minute race information

Jure Robic

By Chris Milliman

Juri Robic
Photo ©: Chris Milliman
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Jure' Robic's grizzled, sun baked body resisted. It wanted to stay on the soft grass, out of the sun, relaxed by the side of the road in Athens, Ohio. But the mind of the Insight Race Across America's defending champion had other ideas. So Robic rose, with the help of two crewmembers, threw a leg over his Italian race bike, and pedaled on the down the road as he has for the previous seven-and-a-half days, towards time station 45.

With the departure of second place Mike Trevino from the race earlier in the day, Robic's second consecutive RAAM win seemed all but assured as his margin over new second position man Fabio Biasiolo stood at nearly 15 hours. But losing a rival, even one who was falling farther behind with each passing day, seemed to have unintended consequences for the strong man from Slovenia.

"He's disappointed, he expected a tough race," said Matjiz Planinsek, one of Robic's crewmembers. "There's no pressure on him now, and when you have pressure it's easier for you to fight."

And without that pressure from behind, perceived or real, the drive to maintain the infernal pace of the race's first week waned, if only momentarily, from the 40-year-old soldier. With time not an issue, Robic stopped for an unscheduled rest in Athens after consulting with his crew. It gave the Slovenian support crew a much needed break, allowed the mechanic time to air up a new set of tires, and seemed to create an atmosphere of reflection on the 2,500 miles already ridden and the 500 to come.

The Heat

By Chris Milliman

RAAM is welcome everywhere
Photo ©: Chris Milliman
Click for larger image

When the final story of the 2005 Insight Race Across America is written, the infernal heat of this year's race will be one of the main characters. Since the racers left the temperate seaside breezes of San Diego last Sunday, the day-time temperatures have seldom dropped below 90, and the relative humidity has climbed as the race has moved east. The blast furnace triple digit heat of the desert might have seemed the hottest the race could get, but stultifying days in the Midwest have proved that heat comes in many varieties, all equally potent.

The desert heat caused many riders respiratory distress, several racers contracted pneumonia and Austrian Alexander Gepp lost his voice after the Sonorran Desert on day one. The conditions in the high air of the Rocky Mountains may have seemed a respite, but the effects of dehydration at elevation, with temps still in the low-90s, kept the cumulative fatigue and fluid intake conundrum in play.

The Midwest proved an unwelcome surprise. Hot, humid conditions blanketed the prairies and farmland, giving riders no place other than the air conditioned shelter of their RV for respite. Some riders, JurÈ Robic in particular, have flourished in the heat, while others, like Chris MacDonald, have found the unending string of days in a cross-country sauna more than their bodies and minds were prepared for.

Divisional standings

Women's Solo

Consistent as ever as she presses eastward, Anna Catharina Berg last reported in from Time Station 40 in Indianapolis, Indiana at 15:23. Having covered already 2257 miles in RAAM only 794.7 remain for Berg.

Men's Solo

By late afternoon June 28, Jure Robic will have successfully defended last year's RAAM victory. In shrewd showboat fashion, Robic will likely ride into a throng of fans, supporters and onlookers here to marvel at the transcontinental racer. With 353.3 miles to go, Robic last reported in from Time Station 49 in Gormania, WV at 12:37. Second-place Fabio Biasolo checked in from Time Station 46 in Parkersburg, WV at 14:22. Just one hour later, Chris MacDonald passed through Parkersburg at 15:25. Both Biasolo and MacDonald have ridden 2558.5 with 493.2 to go.

Two-person Mixed Division

ALERT! Shanna Armstrong and Guy Wells of Team Endorphins have overtaken and now lead the Two-person Mixed category. Team Endorphins passed through Time Station 36 in Greenville, Illinois at 12:45. But hold your applause, Endorphins fans. Just 21 minutes down, Grupo Guapo called in from Greenville at 13:06. Both teams have pedaled 2058.3 miles with 993.4 still to go.

Two-person Men's Division

First-place Team Lower Austria-Krems reported in from Time Station 46 in Parkersburg, WV at 13:08. So far the team has gone 2558.5 miles with 493.2 to go. Although it has been reported into RAAM HQ that Team Crazy Gones has suffered some equipment and health problems in their transcontinental challenge, the team still holds the second-place position. The Crazy Gones checked in last from Time Station 44 in Laurelville, Ohio at 15:15. Crazy Gones have pedaled 2476.9 miles so far with 574.8 yet to go. Team 60+ is snug in third having ridden already 2159.9 miles with 891.8 to go. Team 60+ passed through Time Station 38 in Marshall, Illinois at 15:05.

Four-person Mixed Division

Cheniere's Making Cancer History seems to be making a point of keeping second-place Landis Team Phoenix at least one time station back. Making Cancer History checked in from Time Station 48 in Grafton, WV at 14:50. About one hour earlier and one time station back, Landis Team Phoenix checked in from Smithburg, WV at 14:40.

Four-person Women's Division

Roaring Fork Volvo B2B Divas. The ladies from Vail might feel at home heading into the mountains of West Virginia. They last checked in from Times Station 47 in Smithburg, WV at 16:39. Moving steadily along, The Divas have ridden more than 2607.2 miles with less than 444.5 miles left to go.

Four-person Men's Division

Beaver Creek - Vail became the first team to cross the finish line in this year's RAAM. Mike Janelle, Toph Leonard, Jimi Mortenson, and Brian Smith of Beaver Creek - Vail arrived in Atlantic City today at 11:26 EDT with a finishing time of 5 days, 18 hours, 15 minutes. (see story below) At time of release, Team IWC Schaffhausen became the second team to reach the finish line today. Within the last 24 hours IWC Schaffhausen bridged a narrow gap with second-place Kern Wheelmen - Advocare. A strategically-timed "night attack" in West Virginia by IWC Schaffhausen launched them into second place and helped them put more than three hours into the Kern Wheelmen. IWC Schaffhausen's finished RAAM at 16:07 with a time of 5 days, 22 hours, 56 minutes. On deck, the Kern Wheelmen - Advocare are scheduled to arrive in Atlantic City at approximately 19:50.

Four-person Recumbent

Closing in on the finish and a World RAAM Record for a four-person recumbent team, ALS-Bacchetta called in from Time Station 54 in Georgetown, Pa. at 15:15. With only 110.1 miles to go, ALS - Bacchetta should cross the finish line tonight at approximately 20:34. Team JDRF VeloKraft rides steadily eastward from Time Station 50 in La Vale, Md. where they checked in at 16:12. There are only 307 miles to go for JDRF VeloKraft.

Corporate Teams

Not to be accused of giving fans a "sleeper" race, Team Insight is on course to tidily cruise into a category victory at approximately 4:13 tomorrow morning. With 214.5 miles to go Team Insight last checked in from Time Station 52 in Rouzerville, Pa. at 17:20. Eric Heiden's Team Donate Life reached Time Station 50 in La Vale, Md. at 16:28. Without a backward glance, Team Vern's Inc. continues to open the gap over Team Dry Heat. Team Vern's Inc. last called in from Times Station 44 in Laurelville, Ohio at 15:20.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Chris Milliman/

Standings (Race distance: 3051.7 miles)

Men's Solo
1 Jure' Robic                           2837.2   8.16.35  (13.60mph)
2 Christopher MacDonald                 2653.5   8.12.29  (12.98mph)
3 Fabio Biasiolo                        2653.5   8.12.54  (12.95mph)
4 David Haase                           2517.8   8.10.46  (12.42mph)
5 Pius Achermann                        2517.8   8.16.07  (12.10mph)
6 Valentin Zeller                       2476.9   8.16.15  (11.89mph)
7 Benjamin Couturier                    2426.7   8.17.06  (11.61mph)
8 Chris Hopkinson                       2311.2   8.15.54  (11.12mph)
9 Alexander Gepp                        2257.0   8.12.22  (11.04mph)
10 Karl Traunmueller                    2257.0   8.13.17  (10.99mph)
11 Ben Robinson                         2257.0   8.14.32  (10.93mph)
12 Jim Trout                            2257.0   8.15.07  (10.90mph)
14 Mark Metcalfe                        2209.5   8.14.02  (10.72mph)
15 Thomas Rodgers                       2058.3   8.15.27   (9.92mph)
DNF Mike Trevino (Medical)              2209.5   6.21.11  (13.38mph)
DNF Marko Baloh (Medical)               1634.8   5.02.32  (13.34mph)
DNF Pat Autissier- DNF Exhaustion       1634.8   6.14.27  (10.32mph)
DNF A. Colo' (Medical)                  1457.7   5.09.12  (11.28mph)
DNF Bob Breedlove (Accident)            1047.0   3.22.17  (11.10mph)
DNF Rob Kish (Medical)                  1047.0   4.05.16  (10.34mph)
DNF Kevin Walsh (Medical)                941.7   4.06.04   (9.23mph)
DNF Urs Koenig (Medical)                 824.9   2.23.40  (11.51mph)
DNF R. Arap (Missed cutoff)              635.2   2.06.17  (11.70mph)
DNF John D'Elia (Exhaustion)             450.3   2.00.44   (9.24mph)
DNF Dave Kees (Medical)                  340.4   1.00.31  (13.88mph)
Women's Solo
1 Anna Catharina Berge                  2311.2   8.11.08  (11.38mph)
Two Person Male
1 Team Lower Austria-Krems              2744.7   6.07.24  (18.13mph)
2 Crazy Gones                           2653.5   6.09.34  (17.28mph)
3 Team 60+                              2311.2   6.07.36  (15.25mph)
4 Team Wisconsin                        2058.3   6.09.09  (13.44mph)
DNF Citta' Della (Medical)              1047.0   3.11.08  (12.59mph)
Two Person Mixed
1 Team Endorphins                       2257.0   6.07.52  (14.86mph)
2 Grupo Guapo                           2209.5   6.05.47  (14.75mph)
DNF Free Riders (Logistics)             1305.5   3.23.31  (13.67mph)
Four Person Male
1 Beaver Creek Team-Vail                3051.7   5.18.15  (22.07mph)
2 Team Schaffhausen                     3051.7   5.22.56  (21.35mph)
3 Kern Wheelmen / Advocare              3051.7   6.04.06  (20.61mph)
4 Team Inspiration GB                   2873.0   6.07.31  (18.96mph)
5 Webcor Builders Endurance             2873.0   6.10.06  (18.64mph)
6 Team 3V                               2788.6   6.07.44  (18.38mph)
7 Mucho Gusto Team                      2788.6   6.08.54  (18.24mph)
8 Team Give Life                        2607.2   6.07.52  (17.17mph)
Four Person Female
1 Roaring Fork Volvo B2B Divas          2744.7   6.08.01  (18.06mph)
Four Person Mixed
1 Team Cheniere's                       2837.2   6.09.29  (18.49mph)
2 Landis Team Phoenix                   2788.6   6.09.24  (18.18mph)
Four Person HPV
1 ALS-Bacchetta                         3051.7   6.03.26  (20.70mph)
2 Team JDRF VeloKraft                   2873.0   6.06.49  (19.05mph)
Corporate Challenge
1 Team Insight                          2986.9   6.07.59  (19.65mph)
2 Team Donate Life                      2873.0   6.07.01  (19.02mph)
3 The Vern's Inc. Team                  2653.5   6.08.55  (17.35mph)
4 Team Dry Heat                         2607.2   6.09.29  (16.99mph)
24 Hour Corporate Challenge
1 Clif Bar Team                          492.8   0.23.23  (21.07mph)
2 Swami's/Raceplan                       492.8   1.01.26  (19.38mph)
3 Kaiser Permanente R2R                  492.8   1.02.35  (18.54mph)
4 JMI Rookies                            492.8   1.05.46  (16.56mph)
5 Team Bicycling San Diego               492.8   1.05.52  (16.50mph)