Highlands Ranch Area Cycling Road Cycling Colorado Streech Greg Streech Gregory

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Interesting Read

This came from a friend of my parents. Makes us look like some fat old men. Oh, we are!

E-Mail #1) Hi,

I just arrived home late last night from being in Florida to see Chris participate in a 24 hour ultra marathon qualifying race for the Race Across America. Riders need to complete 425 miles within 24 hours to qualify. Over 200 riders participated, however 25 were trying to qualify for RAM. Only four riders qualified, one of them being Christopher. There were 3 different races. The Century, the first 100 mile race, a 12 hour race and the 24 hour race. I am please and proud to inform you that Chris won all three races.

The race started at 6:30 AM on Sat. and finished at 6:30 PM on Sunday. Chris reached the 425 miles at 2:30 AM. He continued riding until the race finished. According to the computer on his bike he rode 520 miles, however the race computer had him at 500 miles. There were two reasons for this. When he first got on the race track at 6:30 PM the cones were still set up for the formula one cars that had just finished racing and Chris did some extra riding off of the bike route. This also was the first year the race officials were using a computer counting system for each lap. The computer wasn't always beeping each time his bike went over the counter.

Needless to say it was a little frustrating at times. Cal kept saying he was going down to the officials for his hourly harassment.

Chris broke a couple of records. One was the Sebring track record for the last eight years, which was 437 miles in 24 hours. The race officials and other riders had lots of nice things to say about Chris and his steady riding pace for the entire race. He was only off of his bike for 6 to 8 minutes for a couple of bathroom pit stops and to change into warmer clothing. It was amazing to watch him ride the at the same pace from the first hours to the last hour.

After dusk the riders were brought in off of the road course and rode the last 12 hours on the Sebring Race track. The only lights were in the pit area where the support crews were set up. The corners on the track were marked with glow sticks, however the last few laps of the race the glow sticks had gone out and it was total darkness. Chris said it was quite dangerous and he ended up in the grass at times. He had to slow his pace and hope he didn't crash, which a few riders did.

During the night Chris could hear rustling in the grass along side the track, all he could think of was alligators. He thinks it was the rabbits which were all over the track.

The only down side after the race was no massage therapist to work on Chris and stretch his body. This won't happen again.

Cal's nephew Rob, and my brother Denny and Royce drove to the race and were there for several hours. It was great fun to see them, however Chris was only able to yell a quick hi or comments, such as "this is boring", as he rode past where our support crew was set up.

Chris's crew chief for the RAM, Dan Cline, and his wife Debbie met Chris in Atlanta and followed him as he rode to Sebring. Dan is a cyclist as well and he rode part of the time with Chris. Chris's mechanic, manager and a television camera man came from Denmark as well. All of us with the support crew were given team jackets and we looked quite professional.

Chris left Florida for San Diego to ride the first part of the RAM course. Cal is out there with him to follow behind him. The weather isn't the best. Chris will return to Denmark on Monday where he will continue his 12 hour a day training.

April 2 & 3 he will compete in another Ultra Marathon Qualifying Race in Alabama. This is a 500 mile two day race and the terrain will have more climbing, which Chris loves. Cal and I are going to be part of the support crew. This race will be a chance to practice driving behind Chris like it will be for the RAM and to work out the kinks for the support crew.

The camera man and manager had digital cameras and will email us pictures which I will forward on to you.

My goal is to get myself in better shape for the Alabama race. Chris is a great inspiration.

E-Mail #2)
Chris arrived in Birmingham with an achilles tendon injury, however he rode the 500 mile race any way. The weather was lousy. Cold with high winds steady at 38 to 40 miles per hour with strong gusts over 50 mph. There were downed trees and power lines in some places. These were his head winds all the way into Georgia the first day. At night the wind switched directions so instead of having tail winds on the return ride he had head winds again.

The tree pollen was incredibly heavy. Thick clouds of yellow which triggered asthma for Chris and caused him to spit up lots of yellow junk. Even for those of us not riding the pollen burned our lungs. When he finished the race he had a streak of yellow pollen up his back side.

This race was a staggered start as riders could chose when they wanted to start. Two riders who were trying to qualify for RAAM started at 8 pm the night before Chris started. One other rider from Texas started at 7 am with Chris. A couple of teams had started earlier as well. Chris passed every one by 1 am.

This race is considered to be one of the most brutal courses. Lots of steep ascents some 2 to 3 miles long with short descents with lots of turns. When he got into the Georgia mountains Chris could see the painted signs of Go Lance Armstrong painted on the rocks from the Tour de Georgia last year.

Chris finished the 500 miles in 29 hours and 27 minutes. This was a record for this race. Previous record from last year, in excellent weather, was 37 hours. One of the riders who was 30 miles from the finish was attacked by a German shepherd and ended up with a fractured collar bone. There were lots of loose dogs all along the race course. They all seem to go into attack mode when seeing a cyclist.

Chris was referred to as "an animal, a machine & a freak of nature". As his mother I prefer a well trained athlete. Chris received a lot of nice comments from riders and officials as well. One of the race officials, who has ridden the RAAM, and his wife kept referring to Chris's "Armstrong legs."

Before the race the official said that when Chris finished they would present his medal and then take it back and get it engraved and mail it to him. Chris suggested that they were premature in talking about medals before the race began.

After the race the comments were that Chris will bring the RAAM title back to the USA. Which is Chris's goal.

The support crew learned lots of new things during this race. One is the essential job of previewing the race course. The discovery that there was major road construction on part of the course with a detour was a surprise for the race officials. The night before the race they had to redo the maps for riders.

Another one is to know where the spare tire is on a rental vehicle and how to get at it and operate the jack. Several hours into the race Chris heard the sound of air leaking from a tire. He thought it was one of his, however realized that it wasn't and the sound was coming from the follow van. He radioed they had a flat tire and kept getting the response "Is it your back or front tire?" It took a good part of an hour for the tire change. Fortunately the second van wasn't too far away and could take up the place of the follow van. It was good this happened in the day time since at night the van with the official lights and signs must be behind Chris at all times and must keep Chris in the beam of the head lights.

Other hazards for the rider are screw drivers thrown at the rider (fortunately hit Chris on the shoulder) & swarms of African bees that are huddled in a compact group until a car or cyclists go by and then swarm into the air.

Chris left Birmingham for San Diego and a few days of rest to try to heal his achilles and to be fitted with new cycling shoes, which won't put pressure on his tendon.

Cal left on Sunday to meet in San Diego for the preview of the RAAM route to Atlantic City. The plan was for Chris to ride parts and drive the rest, however on Monday when he trained his achilles flared up again. Chris stayed in San Diego to connect with a physical therapist and sports medicine doctor and will go back to Tucson to train.

The 3 crew members are on the RAAM route for the next few days. Without Chris they won't have to prepare peanut butter & belly sandwiches, which is what one of the Danes thought the name was.

Chris is now officially registered for the RAAM and if you are interested you can read is rider profile at the Race Across America website.

I'll up date you on this continuing endeavor.


At April 13, 2005 9:03 PM, Blogger Dirt - LPBME said...

"He had an achillies tendon injury but decided to ride the 500 mile race anyway".......

I suck

At April 13, 2005 9:18 PM, Blogger Redlight said...

Whatever. He trains 12 hours per day. At that rate, he'd better have Armstrong legs and be serious about the whole thing.

How would you like to have him along for a Deer Creek trip? Probably take him about 6 minutes from the bottom of Chatfield Dam Road to the top.

At April 14, 2005 5:10 PM, Blogger RideTrek said...

Amazing. Must have some serious callouses on his ass.


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