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Transplant Athlete
Monday, January 09, 2006
  New RAAM Rules

I am so depressed right now. First of all, my cable modem is down, so I can’t even get this out to you. Second, on Friday, The Race Across America (RAAM) changed its rules making rest breaks mandatory for solo riders. I’m upset that as a registered rider for the 2006 event, I still haven’t been notified by the organizers about this huge change. The change has not been publicized on the website. I found out about this change when I went to the Ultracycling Listserv. Chris Kostman posted this article link concerning the changes. Another person said the new rules were on the RAAM website, but you have to look really hard to find them.

Essentially, they are making almost half of the time stations into control points where riders can stop and sleep. Five of these 20 control points are "Required Stops" of 2 hours or more. Riders don't get credit for stopping anywhere but the control points, so I predict big business for restaurants and hotels near the control points and a reduction in business elsewhere along the route. Theoretically, one could ride across the country stopping only for the mandatory breaks and then be required to stop for 30 hours in McKee City only 14 miles from Atlantic City.

The solo RAAM that I fell in love with is now called the "Solo Nonstop Record Challenge". They've stripped it of prize money, which is ok by me, I'll be lucky to finish. But the main thing is entrance is at the discretion of the race director/owner Jim Pitre. What if he doesn't let me enter? I won't compete in the sleeping category.

I can't help but think this is equivalent to the New Coke blunder. I just hope it doesn't kill the race. I have to agree with Bryce Walsh who said (on the listserv) "I can't help but feel a bit sad, like an escalator has been installed on Everest."

I am so depressed.

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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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