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Photo ©: Sirotti

 UCI codes explained

21st Race Across America (RAAM)

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

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Day 8 - June 22

To Finish

Race notes by Scott Johnson, RAAM HQ

Atlantic City, NJ, 8:00AM RAAM Time. The goal of every racer is to finish. It will be realized, in varying forms, by a majority of the field. And it is, on it's own, very much the point. For any racer unable to finish before Noon Friday, the 27th, their fortnight of pain, sacrifice and pride will not be considered official.

My natural instinct is to do whatever possible to get things done as quickly as possible. While some may enjoy the nuances of the process, I glean much more pleasure from its conclusion.

It's not going to far out on a limb to say all RAAM racers and crews are feeling that way now. How tough it must be to be facing 1,334 miles having already spent more than 160 hours on the road.

On the record, two-time RAAM Champion and 2003 race analyst Danny Chew is the math/projection expert. But I did spend some time and some brain cells early this morning on finish line time estimates through Wednesday morning. According to this hour, they are:

Sunday, June 22

10:30PM - Team Harreither of Austria

Monday, June 23

8:00AM - Team Arete Racing of California/Colorado
8:45AM - Team Hydro Charge California/North Carolina and New York.
9:00AM - Team Insight of America/Canada
12:00PM - Team Ride to Remember of San Diego
7:20PM - Team Power of Mind of Germany
7:30PM - Team FOI of Florida

Tuesday, June 24t

12:15AM - Allen Larsen of Washington State
10:00AM - Team Grupo Guapo of California/Washington State
10:45AM - Team Rieper/Goodwin of Kansas/Arizona
3:00PM - Rob Kish of Florida
3:15PM - Team Epic Racing of California

Wednesday, June 25

1:20AM - Jure Robic of Slovenia
7:50AM - Marcel Knaus of Liechtenstein
7:55AM - Marko Baloh of Slovenia (very close!)

It's been interesting sending working on these reports and coordinating communications with media on the road from HQ. Everyone is hard working here, most extremely nice and even though some would rather I not be so close (kind of like going to a party you're not invited to), everyone is getting by. Some just don't do well with change. And there's nothing more powerful than the control of information.

In addition to reports, I'll be resuming emcee duties starting tonight. Large shoes to fill from Greg Pressler who did such a great job at the start and finish line the past 2 years. I'll try and not let you down, wild man.

Day of Worship

Atlantic City, NJ, 10:30AM RAAM Time. If Snow White worked Race Across America Headquarters, she would look around and see more than one "Grumpy". It's understandable though, sleep deprivation (covered 1,000 miles ago) is a bugger. Most of the HQ staff is happy, perky, ready to welcome in their benefactors of the last week. And the officials at RAAM HQ love cycling. Many are still active in the sport, if not still competitive.

5 women, 5 men, 10 personalities in charge of a 2,922 mile race with 47 racers and more than 150 support crew members and their vehicles. It's a job that calls for attention to detail and stamina. Curmudgeon behavior optional.

In the pending maelstrom of finishers, I want to make sure all of you know the RAAM Headquarter Staff who conquered RAAM from the stomach of Boardwalk Hall.

Bill Peschka
Ann Peshka
Tom Kingsbury
Barbara Kingsbury
Peter Moe
Larry Hughes
Liz Hughes
Sandy Sharp
Fran Gilford (the previously reported gambler, and she's a Ph.D)
Kurt Eisentrout

Allen Larsen is moving through the hilly area of Ohio, past approaching the mountainous course of RAAM through West Virginia. He still leads all solo racers including 3-time RAAM champ Rob Kish by 3 time stations.

On this day of worship Allen is not out of sorts. A devoutly religious man he worships everyday, not just on Sundays. It's fitting to me that the aero-bars he leans into make him appear as a praying disciple. A man of faith who uses his strength to achieve much, Allen will, it appears, become RAAM Champion in this only his 2nd year. Whatever he achieves he will thank God first. Allen tells everyone he meets the most valued people in his life are Jesus Christ and wife, Teresa. At the finish line, he'll be reunited with her and able to hold his baby girls, Kimbrlee and Faith - and the tears that sent him off on Father's Day will return.

I like that best about Allen. I can't fathom his talent, his strength…but I sure appreciate his love for the things in life that matter most. He may very well be the "Christian Champion from Cle Elum"…'cause he's on a roll!

And God is smiling.

In the 50's

Atlantic City, NJ, 2:00PM RAAM Time. Team Harreither is 8 hours away from the finish line on the famous boardwalk.

Hitting that Time Station #51 kicks in immediate euphoria. 150 miles from the stop of 'The World's Toughest Race". None of the 4 men from Austria has raced in America and now they know. 2,922 miles of the hottest, windiest, stormiest, flattest, most mountainous cycling journey in their competitive lives.

They'll have the spotlight alone tonight. Just in time for the 11PM local news, Harreither will be the first and only arrival until 6:00AM Monday morning when Team Arete Racing (2nd 4-Person Men's) is expected. Within the following 2 hours, the first 4-Person Mixed Team Team Hydro Charge, will arrive (estimated for 6:45AM), and the first Corporate Challenge Team, Team Insight will roll in before 8:00AM.


200 miles separate the hot, new American RAAM-ster and the American RAAM Legend. With a little more than 440 miles left, this is all but done. But then there is the little matter of West Virginia and the difference between a 15-hour margin of victory and something a bit tighter.


After a long sleep break, Mark Patten from San Jose is up and at 'em cruising through Time Station #33, still trying to get out of Missouri and into Illinois. The math puts him 519 miles behind Allen Larsen, with a speed average differential of 3 miles per hour.

Mark Patten may have slept too little in the first 1,000 miles and paying for it now. He's such a great guy with such a passion for RAAM and Ultra Cycling. I hope he has fun and get's here safely and soon!


At this hour, woman solo racer Rebecca Smith and rookie Paul Bonds are on the cuff of being able to finish officially (Noon, Friday, June 27th). At their current paces, the two are estimated to finish at approximately 3:00PM on Friday.

They have a combined age of 107 and a combined heart that can't be measured.


OK, I admit it. I miss being on the road, seeing the racers, and spurring them own, passing states like a picket fence. Now that I've done both sides, it's a no-brainer…on the road is the place to be.

What's it like here?

Remember the "clicks" in high school? I'm click-less.

Right. You're Right.

Atlantic City, NJ, 5:00PM RAAM Time. For every concerned soul that has sent comments, praises, suggestions, threats, and recriminations to our web site…allow me to say, first up: you're right. Well, maybe not everybody, but most of you.

The media maturation of RAAM is still in its infancy. Less than a handful of writers spread across the country can't do this monster credit. Not even close. We have competitors spread out over 800 miles, 7 states…of course we don't have comprehensive coverage this year but we're working toward it.

Danny Chew's view is expert and his analysis sound. I've concentrated on non-"place and position" issues…choosing to cover the peripheral aspects of Race Across America.

In order for everyone to reach a modicum of satisfaction with their coverage, every team or soloist would need to have their own competent writer, and the satellite phone/ wireless email technology to get their particular racer's stories told.

We may not have it in 2004, or 2005…but we might. It's a nice goal, isn't it?

In just a couple of hours the last stage of Race Across America will begin. During the finish line frenzy, I'll be emceeing… Danny will continue to barrel in with Allen Larsen and we'll both try to send as many interesting reports as we can in between the filming, emceeing, and medal presentations, that are a part of our job descriptions too.

Epic Racing, Team FOI, Ish Makk, Rieper/Goodwin, Rebecca Smith, Rick Ashabranner, Terry Lansdell…all great people and teams that I wish I could have wrote volumes about. I promise in the wrap up portion of our internet coverage, that I will convey the words and thoughts of these and other RAAM competitors.


It just occurred to me. If only the tragic death of Brett Malin could have been avoided, we would already have our winning Team Vail- Go Fast here with us. Their accident took place early on, but the talented quartet from Colorado was on track to challenge their 2000 crossing mark of 6 days, 1 hour.

We can make it happen in our minds. Congratulations, Zach, Adam, Toph and Brett.


Positions at approx 20:00 RAAM time

Men's Solo
1 Allen Larsen                      2448.5 (14.06 mph)
2 Rob Kish                          2315.1 (12.96 mph)
3 Jure Robic                        2205.1 (12.49 mph)
4 Marcel Knaus                      2205.1 (12.47 mph)
5 Marko Baloh                       2150.0 (12.34 mph)
6 Rick Ashabranner                  2150.0 (12.16 mph)
7 Terry Lansdell                    2150.0 (12.14 mph)
8 Ish Makk                          2150.0 (12.05 mph)
9 Dino Nico Valsesia                2150.0 (12.03 mph)
10 Martin Lorenz                    2102.0 (11.90 mph)
11 Mark Patten                      1951.6 (10.94 mph)
12 Keith Krombel                    1887.2 (10.71 mph)
13 Beny Furrer                      1834.8 (10.45 mph)
14 Attila Kaldi                     1760.8 (10.08 mph)
15 Paul Bonds                       1703.7 (9.85 mph)
Women's Solo
1 Rebecca Smith                     1760.8 (9.99 mph)
Solo (Withdrawn)
1 Fabio Biasiolo (water retention)  1760.8 (12.94 mph)
2 Fredi Virag - (dehydration)        120.7 (11.76 mph)
Two-person men's teams
1 Rieper / Goodwin                  2365.3 (16.04 mph)
2 Epic Racing                       2315.1 (15.74 mph)
Four Person Men's Team
1 Team Harreither/VAV Versich       2859.6 (19.42 mph)
2 Areté Racing                      2715.1 (18.32 mph)
3 Team FOI                          2538.9 (17.20 mph)
4 Power of Mind                     2538.9 (17.14 mph)
Four person mixed team
1 Team Hydro Charge                 2675.2 (18.18 mph)
2 Grupo Guapo by Healthy Cho        2365.3 (16.09 mph)
Corporate Team
1 Team Insight                      2675.2 (18.17 mph)
2 Ride To Remember                  2630.2 (17.95 mph)
Teams (Withdrawn)
1 Team Vail - Go Fast                631.2 (20.36 mph)