Faced with no other choice I
reluctantly reached for the previous days clothing, though more
than a little soiled, they would serve they’re intended purpose.
Next I was faced with the task of locating an even more important
artifact, my bicycle. As I peered out the door, I gazed upon a welcomed
sight. Crew B had arrived and Micky, dressed in his Pensacola beach
attire, was at the door to greet me. Micky brought a natural comic
element to the crew that always put a valuable smile on our faces
in times of need. This time however, his eyes revealed fear as he
explained that my bike was nowhere to be found and Crew A were AWOL.
Both my crews had been performing quite well up to this time, but
this was a gross error in judgment. I had only slept for one cycle
and despite my body’s desperate need for additional rest,
I was in a race and sleep would just have to wait.
Stefan and Italy’s veteran RAAM soloist Fabio Biasiolo had
again passed me as I slept. It was now time to get back on my bike
and chase them down. The unusually long hill out of Ogden, Utah
was just the place to do it. A feat that would prove impossible
had my Trek Y-foil not showed up when it did. Crew A was back, bike
and all, and though surprised to see me awake and waiting, no time
was wasted in sending me back on my way.
This was the longest hill on this year’s
route and at 36 miles I would definitely be there a while. Hills
were not one of my weaknesses and this one really wasn’t that
steep, so I welcomed to change from the dry desert of the Great
Salt Basin to the fresher high mountain air of Monte Cristo summit.
It wasn’t long before I once again found myself passing Stefan
Lau. He made it easier this time as he was off his bike in an attempt
to find relief from the relentless heat of the climbs lower slopes.
Up ahead however, Fabio was still pedaling on. Having placed third
two years prior, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this Italian
veteran of “the worlds toughest race.” Could I catch
him as I had Stefan or did he possess wisdom beyond that of my own,
enabling him to outpace me in the long run?
I refused to continue that train of thought
as I was here to meet my specific goals and Fabio had nothing to
do with them. I continued working my way up Monte Cristo until about
5 miles from the top when Scott Johnson from OLN came up along side
for another interview. I enjoyed talking about riding and how I
was doing etc. as it was quite uplifting to think that maybe I’d
see some of these interviews come September when RAAM was scheduled
to air. They were enjoying the race thus far and then got very excited
as we found ourselves coming up on Fabio. I had caught him without
even making a concerted effort. I had caught Fabio. This was apparently
the type of moment the film crew deeply desired capturing on tape,
the pass. Two riders engaged in a battle of will, steadily, but
slowly pedaling onward and upward. I knew at that time I would pass
him. There was no way he could stop me. He had at least a 45-minute
lead on me at the bottom of the climb and now I had made that deficit
back. Fabio was not applying much energy to the pedals as I steadily
reeled him in. “Could he be suffering or was he merely pacing
himself?” I wondered. Once there, we chatted for a few minutes
as the film crew basked in the glory of the often occurring, but
seldom caught on tape, pass. Later I would learn RAAM once again
showed no mercy to Fabio as he DNF’d 1082 miles into the race
at Dinosaur, Colorado, the same location that witnessed his demise