Race Across America (RAAM)

Portland, OR to Pensecola, FL, USA, June 17-?, 2001

Updates and Reports     

Preview & Start list
Days 5 - 7: Reports and Standings
Days 8 - 9: Reports and Standings

  • Day 1 - June 17: Portland start
  • Day 2 - June 18: Standings
  • Day 3 - June 19: Report and Standings
  • Day 4 - June 20: Report and Standings

Day 1 - June 17: Portland start

By Peter Marsh

The riders and their support teams, ranging from 5-13 people and 2-4 vehicles each, were gathered in the Airport Holiday Inn the day before the start for pre-race safety inspection and planning meetings. With little fanfare (and no controversy) fifteen solo men and two solo women started the 20th RAAM in Portland, Oregon on Sunday morning at 7:00 Pacific Time.
Click for larger image
Cassie Lowe
Photo: © Chris Kostman


At the first checkpoint at 96.8 miles (after a 4,000' climb to cross the Cascade Range close to snow-capped Mount Hood) the European entrants were figuring prominently in the placings. The average speed was 18+mph. Last year's women's winner Cassie Lowe was staying with this pace, while former men's winner "Million Mile Man" Danny Chew was taking things a little more steadily — if that's the right word for the first day of this marathon.

Mark Patten, in second at checkpoint #1, finished his first RAAM in 10 days. The second time he became delusional from sleep deprivation and dropped out with 112 miles left to the finishing line. "I felt like I wasn't moving, but the ground was spinning under me," he says. "I've never felt so good in my life; and I've never felt so awful in my life," is the way he appraises his 10 days of endurance racing. The trick is to make the euphoric episodes far outnumber the grim times, or to stay safely somewhere in between. "Sometimes things feel effortless, going up a hill. Everything is falling together and I'm laughing inside it's so effortless." All this despite the blood blisters on the feet and the black toenails. He figures it takes about six months for his body to fully recover.

Standings - Day 1

RAAM checkpoint 1 - 96.8 miles

Men's Solo
1  Andy Clavadetscher (Liechtenstein)       5.07 hr's
2  Mark Patten (USA)                        5.12
3  Rainier Klaus (Ger)                      5.13
4  Fredi Virag (Slo)                        5.16
5  Fabio Biasiolo (Ita)                     5.16
6  Guus Moonen (Ned)                        5.16
7  Danny Chew (USA)                         5.23
8  Keith Krombel (USA)                      5.23
9  Rob Kish (USA)                           5.24
10 Hans-Jurgen Schmidt (Ger)                5.30
11 Dan Jordan (USA)                         5.31
12 Wayne Greenway (USA)                     5.37
13 Terry Landsdell (USA)                    5.41
14 Jack Vincent (USA)                       5.58
15 Jeff Stephens (USA)                      6.04
Women's Solo
1 Cassie Lowe (Aus)                         5.18
2 Katie Lindquist (USA)                     5.33
Men's Over 60
Peter Lekisch (USA)                         331 miles 
(Peter started one day early) 

Day 2 - June 18: Into Idaho


Men's Solo
1  Andrea Clavadetscher (Lei)               655.1 miles
2  Danny Chew (USA)                         570.6
3  Fabio Biasiolo (Ita)                     570.6
4  Guus Moonen (Ned)                        570.6
5  Rob Kish (USA)                           570.6
6  Rainer Klaus (Ger)                       570.6
7  Mark Patten (USA)                        501.6
8  Keith Krombel (USA)                      501.6
9  Fredi Virag (Slo)                        501.6
10 Dan Jordan (USA)                         501.6
11 Wayne Greenway (USA)                     501.6
12 Hans-Jurgen Schmidt (Ger)                453.6
13 Terry Landsdell (USA)                    453.6
14 Jeff Stephens (USA)                      395.6
15 Jack Vincent (USA)                       280.9
Men's Solo over 60
1 Peter Lekisch (USA)                       655.1
Women's Solo
1 Cassie Lowe (Aus)                         501.6
2 Katie Lindquist (USA)                     501.6
Two women team
1 Twin Team (USA)                           501.6

Day 3 - June 19: Climbing and cold.

Clavadetscher In Control

By Peter Marsh

In sailing, its called a "horizon job"-- when you can get far enough ahead of your competition that you're gone for good. It seems unlikely that this could happen in a cross country bike race, but try telling that to Andreas Clavadetscher. Clavadetscher, from Liechtenstein, has pushed hard right from the solo RAAM start and had built a five hour lead by the time he crossed into Utah.

Click for larger image
Fabio Biasiolo
Photo: ©Chris Kostman

Behind him, three race veterans were taking the race at a still inhuman but possibly sustainable pace. Second was Danny Chew (seven RAAMs/two wins) and third, another hour back Rob Kish (fifteeen RAAMs/three wins). However, Clavadetscher is no newcomer to this 3000-mile event himself, he placed sixth in '98 and fourth in '99.

He's following in the tradition of the many Europeans who have overcome the logistic hurdles to competing in RAAM. Two in particular have left a lasting image: last year, Austrian Wolfgang Fasching never looked back and won by a huge 22 hours after a much narrower victory on '97. Fasching learned about the race back in '88 when Franz Spilauer made headlines by winning at his second attempt.

Click for larger image
Katie Lindquist
Photo: ©Chris Kostman

By Tuesday night, after 2 1/2 days, Clavadetscher had crossed into Wyoming, still averaging 16 mph and having already conquered the longest climb of the race, from Ogden, Utah to the top of the Monte Cristo Mountains at 9,000 feet. Leaving, Manila, the following riders then faced a series of brutal 8-9% climbs through the Flaming Gorge Scenic Area. If this isn't enough, as the route enters the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, thee riders face near-freezing temperatures at night. Riding in the Men's Over-60 division, Peter Lekisch who started 24 hours earlier, is now being passed by the leading men and averaging 11 mph.

In the women's solo division, Katie Lindquist has pulled back some time on Cassie Lowe, who is still averaging 13.5 mph and closing to within an hour of the Twin Team, the phenomenal 58-year old sisters Dr. Barbara Warren and Angelika Castenada, who started with the soloists on Sunday. Their resume includes wins in ultra-distance running, multi-sport and adventure races!

Click for larger image
Start of the Teamsi
Photo: © Chris Kostman

Tuesday also saw the start of the two and four-person relay divisions. (Your correspondent rode with them on the first 15 miles of the course and discovered during this "warm-up" that these women and men have definitely put in the miles this winter!) Switching riders frequently, teams can cross the country in as little as five days.

2001 RAAM Standings on June 19

Position Name (Country)                    Miles covered
Men's Solo Standings

1 Andy Clavadetscher (Lie) 984.5
2 Danny Chew (USA) 936.5
3 Rob Kish (USA) 878
5 Fabio Biasiolo (Ita) 878
6 Rainier Klaus (Ger) 812.3
7 Mark Patten (USA) 812.3
8 Keith Krombel (USA) 812.3
9 Wayne Greenway (USA) 812.3
10 Hans-Jurgen Schmidt (Ger) 812.3
11 Fredi Virag (Slo) 740.3
12 Dan Jordan (USA) 740.3
13 Terry Landsdell (USA) 655.1
14 Jeff Stephens (USA) 655.1
15 Jack Vincent (USA) DNF
Men's Solo over 60
1 Peter Lekisch (USA) 878 Women's Solo Division
1 Cassie Lowe (Aus) 812.3
2 Katie Lindquist (USA) 740.3
Two Person Men's Team
1 Team Discover Ceara'/Power (BRA) 166.4
2 Team MATEC (BRA) 166.4
3 Team eXtreme (USA) 166.4
4 Team E-Caps (USA) 166.4
5 BenTom (USA) 166.4
6 Team No Limits (GER) 166.4
7 Team Colorado (USA) 166.4
Two Person Women's Team
1 Twin Team (USA) 812.3
Four Person Men's Team
1 Team Vail (USA) 166.4 Four Person Women's Teams
1 Team RB4/BIAK (USA) 166.4

June 20, A third down, with tactics taking over

By Peter Marsh

After 2 days and 20 hours of racing men's solo RAAM leader Andreas Clavadetscher has so far posted an impressive 1000 miles and 50,000 feet at 15 mph!

As he briefly crossed Wyoming, Clavadetscher pointed to the first third of the race as his favorite. His ride is dedicated to the memory of his father who passed away unexpectedly a year ago. "We were very close, I miss him, but he will be with me along the way, every day and night," he said.

Clavadetscher, age 40, from Liechtenstein, is being pursued by Americans Rob Kish, 45, and Danny Chew, 38--both former RAAM winners. With a five-hour lead, Clavadetscher is out on his own, while Kish and Chew are engaged in a typical RAAM duel. When the front man decides to stop for a sleep break, the crew for the next man will try to keep their rider on the road until they have taken the lead--then they stop for 2-3 hours rest, and the cycle continues.

By now, all the support crews are also stressed by sleep deprivation. Often, this sleep break is the only time everyone is in one place for more than a brief handover, and rather than sleep themselves, the crew use the time to prepare food, maintain bikes, etc. Of course that's when everything is going well! Vehicle breakdowns are not uncommon, and with the personality conflicts that can develop after a few sleepless nights, optimism can easily fade.

Italy's Fabio Biasolo is currently fourth, leading a group of six all passing the time stations within five hours of each other. Biasolo finished third last year. When asked about the leader, Biasolo commented, "It's a long race. So much more to come."

The 2000 Women's RAAM Champ Cassie Lowe of Australia is keeping pace with Mark Patten of San Diego. The Twin Team of 58-year old sisters Dr. Barbara Warren and Angelika Casteneda are four hours ahead of Lowe--this will give both of them some extra incentive in the days to come. The oldest competitor and perhaps the one with the most heart is Alaska's 60-year old Peter Lekisch, he is back on the road, after 12 hours in an Evanston, Wyoming hospital with infected lungs.

It's going to be another cold night for the gallant RAAM racers, overheating on the ascents and freezing on the descents coping with nose bleeds, lung infections and sore throats besides the usual saddle sores, and leg and foot pains. By late Wednesday in the U.S., all the leading riders will have entered Colorado and put the Dinosaur National Monument behind them.

Can Andrea Clavadetscher sustain his six-hour lead over the most successful racer in RAAM history Rob Kish? They'll be riding while you and I sleep tonight.........

Team RAAM First Day

Brazilians Riding Neck and Neck with Kentucky Ladies!

Click for larger image
Photo: © P Marsh

As the team division of the Insight Race Across America moves into the second full day of racing, the four-man Vail team is out on its own averaging 20 mph, while a fascinating duel has developed between both two-man teams from Brazil, MATEC and Ceara/Powerbar, and the four-women team from Kentucky. RB4 (RAAM Bikers4)/BIAK (Brain Injury Association of Kentucky.) After 453 miles, they were all within ten minutes. Team eXtreme, two Californian men in their 40s, is next, an hour back. 

Standings on June 20

Position Name     (Country)                 Miles covered
Men's Solo Standings

1 Andy Clavadetscher (Lie) 1208.4
2 Rob Kish (USA) 1080.1
3 Danny Chew (USA) 1080.1
4 Fabio Biasiolo (Ita) 984.5
5 Rainier Klaus (Ger) 984.5
6 Mark Patten (USA) 984.5
7 Guus Moonen (Ned) 984.5
8 Hans-Jurgen Schmidt (Ger) 984.5
9 Keith Krombel (USA) 984.5
10 Wayne Greenway (USA) 936.5
11 Fredi Virag (Slo) 936.5
12 Dan Jordan (USA) 878
13 Terry Landsdell (USA) 878
14 Jeff Stephens (USA) 812.3
15 Jack Vincent (USA) DNF
Men's Solo over 60
1 Peter Lekisch (USA) 984.5
Women's Solo Division
1 Cassie Lowe (Aus) 984.5
2 Katie Lindquist (USA) 878
Two Person Men's Team

1 Team MATEC (BRA) 453.6
2 Team Discover Ceara'/Power (BRA) 453.6
3 Team eXtreme (USA) 453.6
4 Team E-Caps (USA) 395.6
5 Team No Limits (GER) 395.6
6 BenTom (USA) 395.6
7 Team Colorado (USA) 331.4
Two Person Women's Team
1 Twin Team (USA) 984.5
Four Person Men's Team

1 Team Vail (USA) 501.6 Four Person Women's Teams
1 Team RB4/BIAK (USA) 453.6