Shortly after we decided to do the race, I was traveling in Japan with our distributor, Josuke of JSK Force and I mentioned to him our plans to race across the US. He looked at me quizzically and said “just like Cannonball Run?” I had not thought of that movie since the ‘80’s but I said, “yeah, just like Cannonball Run”. Actually I really hope not…
When we first started talking about RAAM, I thought the main hurdle would be the training. The deal is if we put in lots of riding and then it would all come together, right? The more and more we talked about the details and once we put the proverbial clicks to Excel, it quickly became apparent that it really came down to the planning. Plenty of people and teams come physically prepared but the teams and solos that do well have spent a lot of time planning as well. Slow transitions? What was the point of riding hard that last leg if there is down time between riders?
I am an engineer by training but I am no match for the planning prowess or perseverance of the Bishop Brothers. They had worked out the speeds, transitions and all the nitty gritty so we could see a composite average speed. While it was funny to see that all my pee breaks for the 3rd week of June are already scheduled, importantly the sleep blocks were also planned.
It’s not as dry as it may sound. We have regular meetings, some of them while we ride together on Zwift and earlier this month we met as a team with some of our crew in Sacramento, CA to attend a RAAM seminar. We decided it would be good to get the team together for a reality check from people who have done it before. Plus we would be able to take time to run through transitions with the crew. We ran through transitions with the Lego people and we got out on the road and did short pulls using follow and the leap vehicles.
With only a little over 130 days until game day, we decided to knock out one of our most important decisions - names for the vans. Channeling the spirit of Cannonball Run, and with some help from a copy of C.W. McCall’s famous song “Convoy” on my phone, we named the vans: Pig Pen, Rubber Duck, Cannonball and Grandma Cuckoo.
Man. I hope we pull this off with 93% less junk show than Burt Reynolds did.