The Scenery Helps Pass the Time

Lyrics adapted from Tom Cochrane:

Life’s like a road that you travel on
When there’s one day here and the next day gone
Sometimes you bend and sometimes you stand
Sometimes you turn your back to the wind

There’s heat rising on every blacktop
Where Shermer’s won’t haunt you anymore
Where the brave are cycling and crews roar
Come ride with me to the distant shore of Annapolis

Peter won’t hesitate
To speed over the cattle grate
There’s not much time left today

Life is a highway
I wanna ride it all night long
If you’re not going to sleep
I wanna cycle it all night long

Through all these cities and all these towns
It’s my fourth time in RAAM and

It’s in my blood, and it’s all around
I love this test of body and mind now like I loved it then
This is the road, and these are the hands

From Oceanside to those Durango nights
The Wolf Creek Pass to Effingham’s lights
Knock me down and back up again
My saddle sores won’t stop me

There are no Watts I can’t hold
A chipseal road so rough this I know
I’ll be there when the light comes in
Tell ’em we’re survivors
Life is a highway
I wanna ride it all night long

Scenery passes the time for the crew

Day 3 for our crew began at 1:30am as we made our way to catch Peter. We had stayed in Camp Verde and had hoped that we would be able to grab a coffee and all-night breakfast from McD’s or Denny’s – no such luck. There were forest fires and heavy smoke reported between Camp Verde and Flagstaff, so the riders were to be transported from mile 33 to about mile 46. Rather than going through two changeovers (once for crew change and once for the fires) and stop Pete, we made our way to mile 33 and waited for their arrival, at which point we gathered Peter, they took his bike and we motored to the designated spot. Peter had been cycling for about 5.5-6hours since his last sleep and he looked good. It was much cooler than it had been at just around 60 degrees, and we had layered him up. Another 2 hours and it was felt that he needed a 15 minute nap, again the witching hour for Peter was happening (5-7am). The scenery at this point was beautiful, greenery vs desert, no traffic and decent roads. As you sit in the car, direct following Peter for hours at a time, it is hard to imagine the effort it takes to continue pushing the pedals, under the constant cloud of fatigue.

Powering along on the TT bike on way to Flagstaff

During training, an athlete will focus on workouts that stress the body and then go through a process of recovery. In fact, there is a desire to create significant stress and recover and do it again. Depending on the focus of a particular training block, full recovery may not come for 2 or 3 weeks, but it is almost always the case, that the athlete will have a rest day in a 7-day block of training and of course the athlete will have recovery post workout – eating, drinking, massage and sleeping to optimize the recovery process and flushing of the system. RAAM clearly alters that reality materially, where the athlete has no recovery opportunities beyond downhills and material tailwinds. While descents allow you to rest the legs and the heart, you are not able to rest the mind, in fact, it could be argued that much more concentration is needed during the material descents versus the same route in reverse. It doesn’t allow Pete to relax, which is critical to recovery. Despite these observations, Peter was working hard, taking advantage of those tailwinds and downhills.

We stopped at a Walmart in Flagstaff for another cooling break for Peter, getting resupplied with ice, water, Gatorade and some coke. It was now 198 miles into this day following his 3 hour sleep in Yarnell or about 14 hours. There was some hope that Pete could get to Medicine Hat – travel through the iconic and picturesque monument valley before he went down for his next sleep. To get there, he would need to ride 190 miles – a mammoth day. There were tail winds for the most part, which allowed Peter to ride the TT bike. The challenge coming out of Flagstaff were the road conditions TERRIBLE and the velocity of the traffic (WARP SPEED Mr. Sulu). Peter made it to the Conoco gas station at Kayenta and Time Station 11 (TS11) by late afternoon. He had a PBJ sandwich and a mixture of avocado, rice and egg. Diego began to work his magic on Peter’s legs, cooling was applied to his head and shoulders and we changed over his lights. At this point, a decision needed to be made on pushing forwarded to Mexican Hat before Peter slept or to grab a hotel room here. After much discussion, Peter and Greg decided this was rest point.

One of the Monuments

The second crew arrived around 6:30pm and we started to make our way to Cortez to sleep, but first we had to drive through the infamous Forrest Gump scene in Monument Valley. Of course, this was Raptors night game 6, and I was in the middle of somewhere, just not a place where there was reliable streaming. It would be 11:45pm before we would get to the hotel (22 hour day) and we would learn that Toronto Raptors were World Champions.

4 thoughts on “The Scenery Helps Pass the Time

  1. Thanks QB for the great insight into the days of RAAM. Keep it up. We love it. Go Crew. Go Peter. You’re doing awesome. We’re all behind you!

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  2. Loved the new Life is a Highway lyrics! These blogs are fantastic! Thanks for giving us such great perspective on what is happening in Pete’s race. Stay strong team Oyler!

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  3. Another classic song that seems fitting (courtesy of John Parr)..
    ….
    Growin’ up you don’t see the writing on the wall
    Passin’ by, movin’ straight ahead you knew it all
    But maybe sometime if you feel the pain,
    You’ll find you’re all alone everything has changed
    Play the game you know you can’t quit until it’s won
    Soldier of only you can do what must be done
    ….
    Burning up don’t know just how far that I can go
    Soon be home only just a few miles down the road
    And I can make it, I know I can
    You broke the boy in me, but you won’t break the man
    I can see a new horizon underneath the blazing sky
    I’ll be where the eagle’s flying higher and higher
    Gonna be your man in motion
    All I need is a pair of wheels
    Take me where the future’s lying St. Elmo’s fire
    I can climb the highest mountain, cross the widest sea
    I can feel St. Elmo’s fire burning in me, burning in me
    Just once in his life a man has his time
    And my time is now I’m comin’ alive

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  4. Amazing account of Day 3. And all of you are incredible. Sending positive vibes and tailwinds to Peter. ❤️

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