|Cyclingnews TV News Tech Features Road MTB BMX Cyclo-cross Track Photos Fitness Letters Search Forum|
21st Race Across America (RAAM)
San Diego, CA to Atlantic City, NJ, June 15-June 27, 2003
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 Now Team Vail, which would have won their division, has officially withdrawn from RAAM 2003 and are off their bikes; the fire of competition extinguished with honor.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.
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)