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21st Race Across America (RAAM)

San Diego, CA to Atlantic City, NJ, June 15-June 27, 2003

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Day 5 - June 19

Raining? It's Kansas

By Scott Johnson, RAAM HQ

Mount Vernon, Kansas, 7:30AM RAAM Time. The leaders of the solo division for the 2003 Insight Race Across America are verifying what is known to all of mid America - it storms in Kansas. Though funnel activity has been detected throughout the region, no official tornadoes have touched down within this wide area of disturbance.

Four hundred and ninety miles and 50 hours currently separate first place solo racer Allen Larsen of Washington State (now nearing the half-way point some 1,450 miles in) and 17th place Paul Bonds of California (midway through New Mexico, 930 miles in). Their life stories are distinctly different from one another but they share a cornerstone of love for faith, family and country. They are celebrating America as they cross it in their own ways. One to realize a competitive dream, the other to pay homage to a lost child, both filled with a pure sense of purpose.

No words, no matter how perfectly placed, can convey the acts and reactions of Race Across America over the past 27 hours.

A young, vibrant, loving life was taken in an early morning accident claiming 30-year old Brett Malin of Vail, Colorado. His father Jim and brother Jamie wept in waves, shoulders to lean supplied by an ultra cycling legend, a senior official and RAAM's Race Director along with many others outside Pie Town, Mexico. Lon Haldeman, Rick Anderson and Jim Pitre - all three stunned and silently hurting too. RAAM's not supposed to be like this - not even close.

A parent should never have to bury their child, something Jim Malin must do now. Just a year ago, Brett's Mom died of breast cancer. Brett was racing in her honor. And though I'll also remember Brett's wide-eyed innocence and child-like exuberance, I'm comforted by the belief that Mom has her baby with her again.

Team Harreither/VAV Versich of Austria knows what happened to their America counterparts, Team Vail - Go Fast. For all their intensity, posturing and gamesmanship, the four Austrian cyclists were just as shocked as everyone else. They were used to chasing the speedy quartet from Colorado. Now Team Vail, which would have won their division, has officially withdrawn from RAAM 2003 and are off their bikes; the fire of competition extinguished with honor.

I usually try to find the humor and flavor of traveling across America in RAAM's fascinating way. But please pardon me, for a time I can only see the pain of a great life lost - and a great race shaken.

Show Me

By Scott Johnson, RAAM HQ

El Dorado, Kansas, 2:00PM RAAM Time. The "Road to El Dorado" has been a wet, fast one for the young father of two. Allen Larsen probably should have slept longer than 90 minutes this morning. He has a 168-mile lead over Rob Kish, the best ultra marathon cyclist RAAM has ever seen.

Why didn't he sleep longer? His crew knows him best but his eyes were puffy red and hard to open and you hope he's not pressing the point too hard for too long still 1,400 miles away from the Boardwalk in Atlantic City.

The next 48 hours are crucial. How much will Allen have left for the mountains of West Virginia? Is Rob laboring as much?

This time Saturday might hold all the answers. A close, safe finish is just what Race Across America needs now.

For his part, Allen Larsen has weary, blurry eyes on Missouri. The "Show Me" state may show him and us just what the 2002 RAAM Rookie of the Year is truly all about.

The elite four-person and eight-person teams will likely pass Allen Larsen around the Missouri state line. I look forward to telling you more about the teams, about Team Insight's and Ride to Remember's historic treks.


Positions at approx 20:00 RAAM time

Men's Solo
1 Allen Larsen                     1587.5 (15.04 mph)
2 Rob Kish                         1465.2 (13.88 mph)
3 Fabio Biasiolo                   1402.2 (13.52 mph)
4 Jure Robic                       1402.2 (13.32 mph)
5 Marko Baloh                      1347.1 (13.11 mph)
6 Marcel Knaus                     1347.1 (12.90 mph)
7 Martin Lorenz                    1347.1 (12.79 mph)
8 Terry Lansdell                   1347.1 (12.72 mph)
9 Ish Makk                         1297.8 (12.50 mph)
10 Mark Patten                     1297.8 (12.46 mph)
11 Dino Nico Valsesia              1297.8 (12.42 mph)
12 Rick Ashabranner                1253.4 (11.86 mph)
13 Keith Krombel                   1175.1 (11.31 mph)
14 Beny Furrer                     1103.6 (10.67 mph)
15 Attila Kaldi                    1103.6 (10.42 mph)
16 Paul Bonds                      1058.6 (10.02 mph)
Women's Solo
1 Rebecca Smith                    1103.6 (10.77 mph)
Solo (Withdrawn)
1 Fredi Virag - (dehydration)       120.7 (11.76 mph)
Two Person Men's Team
1 Rieper / Goodwin                 1175.1 (16.08 mph)
2 Epic Racing                      1103.6 (14.94 mph)
Four Person Men's Team
1 Team Harreither/VAV Versich      1529.5 (20.02 mph)
2 Areté Racing                     1402.2 (18.75 mph)
3 Power of Mind                    1297.8 (17.39 mph)
4 Team FOI                         1297.8 (17.21 mph)
Four Person Mixed Team
1 Team Hydro Charge                1402.2 (18.43 mph)
2 Grupo Guapo by Healthy Cho       1175.1 (16.26 mph)
Corporate Team
1 Team Insight                     1402.2 (18.47 mph)
2 Ride To Remember                 1347.1 (18.15 mph)
Teams (Withdrawn)
1 Team Vail - Go Fast               631.2 (20.36 mph)