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Transplant Athlete
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
  RAAM Redux

There are tons of articles on training for Team RAAM, there are tons of books (Complete Book of Long Distance Cycling, The Cyclist's Training Bible, etc.), and many good coaches that can get you to the fitness level required. The only thing keeping Team RAAM from exploding is the logistics involved. As you can see from my account of RAAM, and Martin's account of RAAM, logistics were the most difficult part. We both agree that the riding was probably the easiest part.

Before:

  1. Fundraising - In our case, we were raising money for a cause, so we had a committee in charge of raising funds. We also had a committee for publicity to raise awareness for our cause. We had a committee to plan and throw 3 fundraising events. This adds a whole other level to planning and organizing. We joined RAAM a bit late, so we had a limited time to plan and execute, but under the circumstances, our team did well.
  2. Transportation to the Race start - In our case the airfare was donated by Independence Air. For other teams, purchasing and coordinating flights and pickups at the San Diego airport is time consuming.
  3. Team Kit - Since we were trying to raise awareness for the Give Life Foundation we decided to get a Team Kit, which took several weeks to be made.
During

Once in San Diego, there is surprisingly little time before the race starts. And in that time, there are a million things that need to be organized.
  1. Vehicles and equipment - Renting an RV takes a lot of advance notice for an event like RAAM which depletes the inventory in the area. You can't just show up and rent one at the event. Picking it up generally requires several hours (getting to the RV center, learning how to use the equipment, driving it back). In our case, we rented a minivan and we had the Independence Air Jet Truck. All three vehicles needed signage, some needed bike racks, and others needed safety lights and other safety equipment. In our case, we had to track down the correct minivan, we had to get longer crossbars for the roof rack, and we needed to get the rear rack for the RV which had not arrived on time. Tick Tock.
  2. Bike Equipment - While putting the bikes together, the mechanic noted several problems with equipment and we spent a good part of a day going from bike shop to bike shop finding parts. My Zipps, with maybe a thousand miles on them, had wear and tear that prevented them from working properly and once opened up, looked like they had 20,000 miles on them. I brought 2 spare tubulars and purchased one more in San Diego, I ended up having about 5 flats on the trip.
  3. Groceries - Shopping and Storage - This takes time and scheduling to shop for food at the start and then arranging storage in the RV.
  4. Rider Swaps - This proved to be the hardest part for our team, especially in the large portions of the country without cell phone access. Were I to do Team RAAM again, the crew chiefs would be in charge of all decisions once the race started. I use the plural because Martin covered the need to have two crews, one to support each set of riders. A rider can get dehydrated, a rider can lose concetration, a rider could forget to tell the next team when their pull starts, but not a crew chief. Two crew chiefs can discuss how their 'team' of riders is doing and schedule them appropriately.
  5. Hotels - There are hotel rooms to be arranged (early) in San Diego and then at the finish line in Atlantic City. During the race, we had no problem getting hotels along the route all had vacancies, except for the expense which hadn't been budgeted.


As Lon Haldeman points out in his article How to: Team RAAM , it doesn't take a lot of funds to do Team RAAM. Lon points to $4725 per rider, but I think it can be much much lower than that. Nearly $1300 of that is hotel rooms and another $1300 in food. Lon is saying that there would be $5200 for food, which seems high to me. Although, I would add in an RV which would bump the price up by $900/person. As an aside, its definitely cheaper to do a PACTour. For $3295, you can travel across the country in style over the course of 25 days.

I think more people should and could do Team RAAM. Any suggestions on how to get more people involved? Leave a comment.

 

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I've gone through kidney failure twice. The first time in 2000, my mother donated a kidney; and again in 2008, I'm on dialysis waiting for a breakthrough in immuno-suppression medicines before seeking a new kidney.

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