May 30, 2012

RAAM Training weekend photolog

Over the long Memorial Day weekend, Dr. Alex Shnyra, and crew members (me), Alice R., and CC headed west to the Colorado border to attempt to break the long standing UMCA Kansas W-to-E cross state bicycle record of 25 hours and 50 minutes.  Although we ultimately did not break the record, the trip was no failure.  With 25-30MPH sustained crosswinds and higher gusts, and 105ºF heat at one point during the day, I think we had a very rough time of things - and it prove excellent training for RAAM in a couple weeks' time.  Shynra never faltered, never got discouraged despite having been punished by the wind all day long, and most of the night as well - and even though we'd decided to call it around sundown Saturday night, and no longer actively pursue the record, we never quit.  Alex finished at the Missouri/Kansas border on K-68 with a total time of 30 hours and 12 minutes, and, considering the conditions, that's a huge accomplishment.  That's 420 miles, roughly, in 10 hours less time than RUSA gives riders to finish a 600km brevet.  Not bad...and with a goal of approx. 300 miles daily for ten days in June, we're on-target.  Here's the weekend in pictures.... enjoy, and stay tuned for RAAM!

Thunderstorms, thankfully, happened Friday - not Saturday during the ride, yet, they made for interesting driving conditions on the trip west.
Tornado-warned storm, near Alexander, KS.
The backside of the storm, after clearing it.
Sunrise at the KS/CO border
Colorful Colorado - looking west at the border, on K-96 highway
CC, team mechanic, readies the bike

Alex and Alice preparing for the task ahead

Looking east, into Kansas... the thought of crossing the entire state is overwhelming to me... yet, I want to try it someday!
The ride covered two time zones, technically - very cool!

Not sure what the building houses, or where we were... somewhere along K-96, there's not much out here.

Alex, making his way east with wicked cross/headwinds.  The expanse of Western KS, all around.
Alice mixing nutrition.  Note the wind's effect on the tree in the background.  A rough training day.

At Ness City, KS. a quick chat and water push as the temperature climbs

Dighton, KS., and another hand-up.  The motorcycle in the foreground shadowed us for a while, cheering Alex along.  They were travelling in the same direction, and couldn't believe that we'd make it to Missouri before them.  We did.

The task of officiating such a ride with the UMCA requires meticulous records.

Dighton, KS... this was to be a shot of the bank temperature, but I caught the time instead.  It's 102ºF, and not even noon.

A section of train, sitting alongside K-96.
An interesting minimum-maintenance road, looking south from K-96 in western KS, near Scott City.
More of the vastness of the plains
Shoe change - comfort is key!
The night shift, nearing dawn on US-50 west of Emporia, KS.

The battle-van in night-mode livery.
Old US-50, west of Emporia after sunrise on Sunday.  No sleep breaks logged, Alex pushes on.
Williamsburg, KS., and the first real tailwind in over 350 miles!

Dr. Shnyra on the home stretch.  K-68 highway, approaching Louisburg.  You can almost see the finish if you squint!
 Congratulations to Dr. Alex Shnyra and crew on a terrific cross-state ride.  We didn't smash the record, but there's always next year.  Looking forward to a strong showing at RAAM 2012 -- Stay tuned!

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