"It all ended glorious enough.
Pedaling up the final feet of the world’s toughest race, I
couldn’t believe it was finally over."
Nine states, 100,000 feet of climbing and 2992
miles of non-stop pain and agony were now behind me. I’d finished
3rd in the toughest race in the world, something only a few other
men in the race’s 20 year history had accomplished as rookies.
My family and friends, who had helped me make it this far, greeted
me with tears and hugs. It had seemed like an eternity since I’d
held my daughter, Kimbrlee.
The beauty of the Gulf with its white sandy
beaches and glistening teal blue waters was a welcome sight almost
worth the pain and torture it took to get me there. As the MCs voice
resounded through the Gulf Breeze Beach pavilion announcing my arrival
and the crowd began to cheer, I found myself overcome with a wave
Feelings of relief, joy and exhilaration were hard to identify in
the midst of all the excitement. Television interviews with OLN
and ABC along with a personal interview from David Jacobsen masked
the excruciating pain that was beginning to build. Yes, this was
truly a glorious moment, but one that came with a high price. The
road began 8 months prior when I decided to attempt RAAM, “the
worlds toughest race.” What compels a person to abandon all
reason and rational thought, mount a bicycle and pedal 3000 miles?
This was a question that even I could not answer.
Something deep inside yearned to push the envelope to the brink
of self-destruction testing the very limits of my own mortality.
Some people are just made with a drive so fierce it causes them
to do things beyond themselves and unfortunately, I happen to be
one of them.
The task appeared insurmountable - to race,
not ride a bicycle 3000 miles from Portland to Pensacola. While
most people require 8 hours sleep after a day of mowing the lawn,
eating Bon Bons, and watching a movie, I would be riding 22 hours
a day while consuming 10,000 calories watching mile after mile of
highway shoulder pass by and only pause briefly to sleep 1½
hours. To up the ante and the pain, my goal was to finish in 9 days
so I knew my time off the bike had to be minimal. I wasn’t
sure how to prepare for this, let alone all the other elements of
RAAM, so I decided early on that it would be essential to find a
A friend of mine recommended John Hughes, an
ultra cyclist and certified trainer from Boulder Colorado. As a
RAAM veteran, John had experienced the horrors of this race for
himself. Sleep deprivation, blistering saddle sores, debilitating
muscle fatigue and surrealistic delusions just to name a few were
by no means unfamiliar to him so I determined who better to help
prepare me. When I contacted John he asked for my cycling history
and other necessary details concerning my physiology, before he
would assemble a training plan specific to my abilities and goals.
I made it clear my desire was to do well not just survive, so John
developed the plan accordingly. He considered it to be quite aggressive
in comparison to my past volume of cycling. I would ride more miles
in the next six months than I had ever ridden in a year.