Women’s RAAM Update

Although the 2007 RAAM had one of the largest solo women’s fields, as of yesterday the 1st place woman, Australian Kerry White, is a DNF at 2092.5 miles. You can follow Kerry’s unofficial ride to Atlantic City here. Two more solo men are also close to being eliminated for missing cut-offs.

Both mixed two person teams are out. One for missing cut-offs, the other, Beauty and Beast, due to an accident. Prior to the accident the female half of the team, Deborah Georges, had ridden about 1000 miles solo. When she came through TS19 on Friday she was riding as strong as any rider I’d seen and looked capable of a solo RAAM.

The two-person women’s Team Phoenix, Janet Christiansen and Nicole Honda, looks good. They are currently in 4th place of the remaining two-person teams.

Patty Riddle has ended her unofficial solo crossing in Pratt, Kansas.

This is pretty cool. Map of where the riders are from.

RAAM Riddle

Today Patty Riddle is officially listed as DNF on the RAAM website for failing to make time cut-offs. Her race plan was to just make every cut-off. Had she done that she would not only have established a women’s 60+ record, but also shattered the existing women’s 50+ record.

The speed requirement is one thing that makes RAAM so difficult. RAAM sets time cut-offs for various points in the race. One list of requirements for solo riders, another for teams. Everyone races against the same standard. There is no allowance for gender or age. Two-person teams have the same time limits as four- and eight-person teams.

Time limits include any time off the bike; i.e. sleep and medical attention for solo riders. Most two-person teams also occasionally have no rider on the road. The official mileage for 2007 is 3043. Solo time limit is 293 hours which equates to 10.39 mph. Team time limit 240 hours, or 12.68 mph. Compare that to these RAAM records which are below the pace required for 2007.

Division                Name              Year   MPH
Men 60+                 Fred Boethling    2006   10.31
Women 50+               Bonnie Allison    1992   8.48
2 Person Team Mixed 50+ Dutton & Riddle   2006   10.74

I understand that it is logistically difficult to allow the race to trail out across the country for 3-4 weeks. RAAM officials were lenient with Riddle, allowing her to continue as an official participant until she fell well behind the last teams. I’ve heard that Riddle plans to continue her unofficial ride across America. I hope if she makes it to Atlantic City her time will be listed as the Women 60+ record as a goal for women and men who dream of their own RAAM.

This year solo riders left Oceanside on Sunday, June 10, followed by all teams on Tuesday, June 12. I hope that future events will incorporate a system of staggered starts that allow more women and older men to attempt this challenge with a chance of an official finish; possibly starting solo 50+ women Friday, solo women and 50+ men Saturday, solo men and 2-person women and mixed teams Sunday, 2-person men’s teams Monday, 4- and 8- person teams on Tuesday. That would give 50+ women two additional days, and 50+ men and all other solo women one extra day. Far from a level playing field if historical RAAM data is any indication, but at least a slightly better chance to show themselves and RAAM fans what they can do.

Be sure and check out the Fasching quote below!!

RAAM, the greatest challenge?

Kerry White. La Veta, CO. June 14, 2007.

Leader of the Women’s Solo race, Kerry White, rolls into TS 19
for a quick break Thursday evening.

After 3+ days at a RAAM time station, I’ve come to see RAAM as one of, if not the, greatest challenge in sports. I would love for an interviewer to ask Wolfgang Fasching, who has summited Everest and won RAAM multiple times, to compare the two endeavors. RAAM makes a 100 mile trail run seem like a stroll through the forest. Consider Jure Robic, currently leading the 2007 race. It was reported yesterday about 1:00PM EST that he had about 6 hours sleep since the race start. So he had covered 1900 miles in just over 5 days on approximately 6 hours of sleep.

There is still one rider who has yet to make it through TS 19. Sixty year-old, Patty Riddle, is going steady and is expected between 8PM and midnight local time. She and her husband, Terry Dutton, set a record for two-person, over-50, mixed team, in the 2006 RAAM.

Eight woman RAAM

RAAM 2007. Friday morning. Team Blazing Saddles.

Leigh Hunter of Team Blazing Saddles, arrives in La Veta
Friday morning.

The eight woman team came through about 6 AM on Friday. They looked like they were having a lot of fun. They are riding as two teams of four, which I guess is typical for eight person teams. Each team takes a ten hour shift. The four riders that are “on duty” rotate with each one riding about five miles. Anyone want to ride on an eight woman team in 2009?

The weather has been beautiful the last day and a half, sunny and unusually calm. All the riders this morning have seemed to look forward to the La Veta to Trinidad leg. I have been told by people who have seen the whole route that it is the most beautiful section on the course.