We are not in Kansas anymore
The strong winds mean no one will be sad to leave Kansas. It has been a hard slog, and disappointing not to have made up more time.
Shu has been putting her engineering background to use developing a system of ‘tacking’ to get forward momentum in the cross winds. She didn’t see another cyclist all day yesterday and I think she found the long, slow sections hard.
The half way point was an important milestone for Shu, she is proud to be one of two British women, alongside Ann Wooldridge, who have ridden more than half of RAAM. She was also pleased to get there with some time in hand, she has a full 6 days plus 21 hours to complete the second half of the race.
The men’s race is being dominated by Christoph Strasser who is 500 miles ahead of his nearest rival. The three leading women of Joan, Janice and Shu are much closer together. We have regularly seen Janice and her support vehicles on the route while Joan, the race leader, is that bit further up the road.
The time difference between the riders doesn’t really show the full picture though as much depends on each rider’s sleep strategy. For example Janice took the race lead while Joan was taking a three hour sleep break. So there could be an interesting battle today between Joan and Janice to retain the lead.
The race is characterised by its camaraderie. Shu had been in touch with several of the female solo riders before the race and the women riders all met and bonded at the start village. We have also benefited from the help of another female solo rider’s crew when we made a navigational error. Everybody wants to see each rider make it safely to the finish.
In fact we have only really seen positive reactions to the race. We have found throughout that people we meet spot the RAAM branding on the cars, or our team shirts and want to talk. Several have asked for a picture with Shu.
We’ve hit another milestone today, Shu has raised £6000 for the Herts Air Ambulance. This charity provides a free life saving helicopter emergency medical service for Essex and Hertfordshire. We have Erica and Arnold along with us as part of CrewShu.
Shu thinks this charity is awesome because it does so much to help cyclists and other road users. The crew would really like to see if we can increase this amount, so we’d welcome any fundraising ideas. Perhaps there is something you’d like to sponsor the crew to achieve (which is within the rules of RAAM and any State or Federal laws)?
The off duty crew have had the best shower of the trip so far – a swim in Lake El Dorado followed by a proper shower. We also now have some cables to play iPods through the car radios so, happy days.