Transplant Athlete
Saturday, June 30, 2007
  Am I Generating Data?

There were moments early in the race, where I would zone out momentarily. Completely gone, yet somehow pushing the pedals forward. I would snap back to reality and in one instant, I would be asking myelf, "Am I generating data?" It was just a couple of random synapses firing and coming up with a random phrase from my subconsious or maybe my past. I don't know, but it was a bit freaky.

I would frequently zone back in to ask myself, "What am I doing here?" but less in that you're doing something way above your skill level kind of way and more in that you have Alzheimers kind of way.

I would also zone in to, "How is my brain making the pedals go around?" and, "Is the goal to get me or the bike across the finish line? Do I need to be carrying something?" The something was some sort of cargo my brain was imagining at the time.

There were a couple other random thoughts that were bouncing around my empty cranium at the time, but they were too vague to put words to now. After a few seconds of these strange thoughts, I would realize where I was (I could tell you to the nearest state) and what I was doing, but it was very disconcerting. At the time, I was worried that maybe I wasn't getting enough oxygen to my brain, but it could have been sleep deprivation, or maybe I fried my brain in the heat.


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Friday, June 29, 2007
  Anza Borrego Desert

This is the Anza Borrego Desert Near the western edge.

This is the Anza Borrego Desert near Salton City.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007
  Loudoun County Sheriff

I was pulling the kids in the trailer behind my Softride today. We went to the Little Gym and on our way home, the Loudoun County Sheriff pulled up alongside me and told me that he would like me to stay to the right while riding. I tried to explain that I wasn't turning right and therefore shouldn't be in the right lane. He said, "I know what you were trying to do, I'm just worried that a car is going to come up from behind and hit your kids." I've always been told to operate my bike like a motor vehicle, I'll be predictable to motorists and by not surprising them, I'll be safer.

The problem with staying to the right in the right hand turn lane is that when I get to the intersection, I'll have to watch for cars making right turns in my path. SO...All you cyclists out there...Do I follow the law enforcement officer's suggestion even though it contradicts safe riding behavior?


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Tuesday, June 26, 2007
  Good Question

So where do you go from here? I know you are probably still unpacking from this adventure, but I think you do have one more year of eligibility based on your team RAAM finish. Are you considering giving this another go, or is it time to get back to the "real life"?
# posted by Anonymous : 7:05 AM

That's a good question. The answer depends on a couple things.

  1. First and Foremost, it depends on what my Nephrologist has to say. If I've done damage to the kidney then I won't be racing solo RAAM anymore. My kidney function has declined gradually over the 7 years that I've had it, so if the Doc's say no more RAAM (to preserve the function I have left), then I'm done as a racer. I'll crew, officiate, volunteer at a time station but no more racing. I have an ultrasound and a blood draw scheduled for early July, then a DR. appointment shortly after that, so we'll all know soon enough.
  2. I promised ABL no solo RAAM next year, but I'd like to crew for a solo or team.
  3. After next year, it depends on ABL, my family situation, and my financial situation. When I do RAAM, my wife gets deported to her parent's house and she isn't that keen on being away from home for 3 weeks at a time. We're also trying to have a third child, so the timing may complicate things. Also, as most people know, RAAM is incredibly expensive. I haven't had much luck raising funds to offset the costs.
  4. As much as I love RAAM, it's incredibly tough to train for it, so I would like to be able to just kick around on the bike riding a century here and there. I'll probably close out this year with a couple of 24 hour events, I'd like to take this RAAM fitness for a spin before I lose it.

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Sunday, June 24, 2007
  Incredibly Uplifting Moments

There were a lot of incredibly uplifting moments in this year's Race Across America. First of all, as long as I was moving forward and was not experiencing one of the lows in the last post, I was generally in a good mood and enjoying the ride. Here are some of the highlights:
  • Box Canyon Road: Last year, Box Canyon Road really messed with my head, but it's not a particularly bad climb, it's very gradual and long. I put my game face on at the bottom and said I'm going to rock this climb. I felt great during the entire climb and was wide awake at the top. I pushed on to Chiriaco Summit, stopped briefly and then pushed on to Blythe. That put me way ahead of last year.
  • Climbing the Yarnell Grade felt almost as good as last year. While I hit it earlier than last year, there were less people around me than last year.
  • There was a detour to Prescott and I was rocking it until my dad shouted out the window..."There's 8 more miles of this easy stuff before the HARD CLIMBING begins..."I still felt good and I still powered up the climbs, but some of the wind had been blown out of my sails.
  • When the temperature started to moderate between Williams and Flagstaff and I was rollin' along on Route 66, feelin' like I could ride forever.
  • Mexican Hat, Utah: Getting word that Terry Zmhral, the race director, had said I could keep going to the next time cut-off in El Dorado, Kansas. I literally felt like I was on top of the world. I had solved my GI and vomiting issues, I was on great terrain, and I was ready to ride. This high lasted most of the way to Cortez, Colorado.
  • Seeing stars (actual celestial bodies, not the oxygen deprivation kind) on the climb to Durango. I was cold, but felt good.
  • Wolf Creek Pass: My crew told me I took 2 hours from bottom to top (and then 15 minutes back to bottom)...While I was sitting in a heap at the top, Lee Mitchell came over and in that "I know what you've been through" kind of way, shook my hand.
  • The climb to La Veta Pass was a big ring kind of climb, nice and gradual. Then flying down the other side on my Softride.
  • Team Pheonix lending me Anthony, their Massage Therapist for 5 minutes. He worked on my IT Band and it's felt fine ever since. That man is a god.
  • Cuchara pass felt good until I got dehydrated near the top.
  • After getting an IV in Springfield Colorado, I felt like I could hit El Dorado within the time cut-off.
  • Even when I got to Ulysses and was told I was out, my legs felt great. I felt like I had the legs to get across the country. The saddle sores were bad (lanacane bad), but I could still ride. The numbness in my hands couldn't keep me off the bike.

So even though, I knew at the Kansas border that I was going to be pulled from the race, I still felt like a winner.

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Saturday, June 23, 2007
  We Now Return You To Your Regularly Scheduled Blogger

The Race is over. The RV has been stripped of its badging and returned to Cruise America. The saddle sores are healing, feeling has returned to the hands (but not the feet), and the neck muscles are gaining strength every day. My thanks go out to Scooter for posting while I was on the bike, my crew for keeping me "motivating over the hill", and everyone who posted encouragement by blog or email throughout the race.

There were some incredibly tough moments during this year's RAAM.

  • A combination of HEED and Perpetuem meant I was taking over 500 calories in per hour (my upper limit in training was found to be about 400 calories). It took me a day to do the math on the calories, but by then the damage was done (GI Distress and Vomiting) and I had lost around 2 hours (between bathroom stops and riding slower).
  • The climb into Kayenta Arizona was so long (30 miles) and gradual that I asked my crew if it was the "Roadway to Heaven". I was told I had 160 miles to go to the time station and only 10 hours to get there, meaning I would have to average 16 miles per hour to be official. In actuality, I probably had to cover 160 miles in 14 hours (an 11.4 mph average). Because I believed there was no way I could meet the time cut-off, I listened to a suggestion to sleep and I ended up losing 5+ hours in Kayenta.
  • Outside Monte Vista Colorado, I went down for a sleep break and I had an incredibly hard time waking up. My father ended up calling Clare for advice. I lost a couple hours there, and even after waking, I was able to get a little further down the road, (about 40 miles) before I started falling asleep on the bike. I crawled into the Escape a couple of times to "rest my eyes".
  • My ride into Kansas was incredibly tough, the heat was getting to me and even though I was hydrating, I may not have been getting enough electrolytes, because it was a tough slog.
I was really depressed after last year's race, because I crashed out, and because I didn't get very far, but I'm happier with the distance this year. It hurts to DNF, but it hurts less when you get nearly half way across the country.

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Sunday, June 17, 2007
  Final Thoughts On A Race Well Run

Lou came roaring into time station 23 in Kansas at 8pm est physically exhausted like I hadn't yet seen him during this entire journey, but there is no question that psychologically there was a glow from within that shone even through the red eyes and glistening sweat that encased Lou's flesh.

And while I'll be the first to admit that the fiery glow of the setting sun behind him may have been a part of the whole effect, it was nonetheless impressive to see a person exceed the limits of what their body demands through sheer will-power and inner strength.

There are those who live to win the race by finishing it and those who win simply by achieving what for them was previously considered impossible -- the actual finish line is a pretty arbitrary place in these matters, if you ask me.

To digress for a moment, I'm a professional videographer and editor who's worked on many projects over the years and if there's anything that I've learned while doing this kind of work is that projects aren't finished in any clean and clear fashion. Time simply runs out and you're left with what you've got and it had better be damn good so the client doesn't notice that although you personally feel like you didn't have enough time to do the best work possible, that you DID DO the best work you could under the circumstances in such a way as that they have no idea that it could have been any better. And by that I mean there are now flaws visible to the client -- but only to the creator who only wishes to do ever more.

The simply stated phrase is usually: Art is not finished, it is abandoned.

(Although, to be clear, Lou did not abandon this race -- to my way of thinking, the insane amount of travel needed to be accomplished in such a short amount of time frankly abandoned him and a lot of other people who's body were pushed to unreasonable limits by my outsider opinion. But I'm just here to shoot what I see, folks, so mine is just one more opinion based on what I've seen around here and should be taken as neither refutation nor endorsement).

Not to diminish the incredible achievement of those who do end up crossing the finish line in whatever physical shape the race will have ended up pounding them into, but I suspect anyone who follows an event like this knows that those who cross the finish line are not the only winners.

The passion of the supporters -- the people in the crew vehicles, those who left comments on the blog (and even read the blog), and those of you who took phone calls at all hours of the day and night to talk to Lou and offer advice and inspiration (your know who you are, Clare) -- was truly moving to behold. Cold, dispassionate camera eye am I supposed to be, but I nonetheless found the level of support both moving and inspiring.

So I'm damn proud to have worked with Team Lamoureux again this year, and especially pleased to see that Lou bested his distance from last year and, more importantly, achieved a personal best when he crossed the border into Kansas. I thought he looked happier crossing the train tracks by the WELCOME TO KANSAS sign than he did reaching the time station -- which I think sums up what had become more important to Lou at that point in the race.

I'm looking forward to seeing what Lou does next year -- maybe with team mates or supporting another rider -- as I suspect Lou will somehow always be involved with the RAAM organization in one capacity or another.

Thanks for keeping up with our adventures this year -- and Happy Father's Day to all.

Scooter McCrae, reporting.

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Saturday, June 16, 2007
  Towards El Dorado

We're down to one follow-vehicle now as the diligent crew people who've been helping Lou these many arduous days - Matt (a Lamoureux family member), David (repeating his help from last years RAAM) and Jakson - need to bring the RV to a neutral place to be driven home at a later date, as well as get back to the real world that lies behind the dotted white-lines and rail guards of the open highway that is Americas pulsating artery.

The deadline to reach Kansas in time to not be DQ'd from the race is now breathing down all of our necks. Lou is doing a great job and continues to ride in a manner that is tirelessly tired -- that is, despite the exhaustion wracking his body and his mind, he has tapped into a reservoir of inner strength that is able to ignore the call to quit or rest.

How appropriate indeed that we should be racing towards a place called El Dorado.


Gaily bedight,
A gallant knight,
In sunshine and in shadow,
Had journeyed long,
Singing a song,
In search of Eldorado.

But he grew old-
This knight so bold-
And o'er his heart a shadow
Fell as he found
No spot of ground
That looked like Eldorado.

And, as his strength
Failed him at length,
He met a pilgrim shadow-
"Shadow," said he,
"Where can it be-
This land of Eldorado?"

"Over the Mountains
Of the Moon,
Down the Valley of the Shadow,
Ride, boldly ride,"
The shade replied-
"If you seek for Eldorado!"

Edgar Allan Poe

Scooter McCrae, reporting (with much thanks to E.A.P.).

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Lou had two milestones this week that I didn't report on as they happened due to problems with internet access, so let me backtrack for a moment.

TUESDAY NIGHT: Lou made it past the point at which he had been unceremoniously dumped from his bike during last years event.

WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Lou broke the 1000 mile mark with his continued pedal pumping. That's some damn good work.

Next goal for the wheeled-demon leading our charge across America; Kansas.

Lou is still looking good and has the most important element anyone in his seat should have plenty of -- a good sense of humor. Somehow he's able to gain combustible energy from the half-remembered fumes of SIMPSONS, BUGS BUNNY cartoons and whatever pop cultural detritus we can yell to each other from the open windows every now and again.

Like another famous traveler who's goal was Kansas, Lou is being helped along by as much brains, heart and courage as can be squeezed into the two companion vehicles that are accompanying him on this challenging journey.

Unlike Dorothy, however, we don't need to wear any disguises for Lou to be quite well aware of the good qualities of the people who are surrounding him, helping him and loving him as he pushes himself beyond the ropey limits of mere flesh.

If there's no place like home, then home for all of us is currently anywhere behind Lou on the open roads of America.

Scooter McCrae, reporting.

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Friday, June 15, 2007

Hey There you blog-reading folks with big ambitions and even bigger hearts; Team Lamoureux is looking for a few good folks to help us out in the days ahead by joining the follow-vehicle team -- WE NEED DRIVERS!

This weekend we're going to be losing a number of folks from the team that's been helping push Lou forward to the point he's thus far achieved. These good people were unpaid volunteers; friends, supporters and even family who joined the cause to see Lou (literally) chase his dream on a thin pair of spinning wheels.

So, what are YOU doing next week starting this coming Saturday, June 16th?

Feeling tireless? Wanna see first-hand a human being pushing himself to the limits of his physical endurance? Feel the need to be part of a group effort that's larger than any individual member alone can provide?

Oh -- and do you have a driver's license?


We'll be passing through El Dorado, Kansas, around 6pm on Saturday and we'd love to have some new recruits join us in our quest. Hey, your friendly neighborhood videographer will be along for the ride till the very end, as will Lou's very dedicated and tireless parents.

Please contact us via this blog or Lou's cellphone at (703) 303-3817 (don't worry, he won't answer if he's riding!) if you're available and willing to suffer for a good cause.

Hey, look at the bright side. You'll be doing something cool and hanging out with some nice people in a common cause.

Scooter McCrae, reporting. And recruiting, dammit!

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Thursday, June 14, 2007
  West End Squirrels

Okay, technically they're chipmunks -- but one of the best things about traveling is making new friends along the way.

And this little guy certainly made me feel welcome.

Needless to say, he wished all of us the best of luck before continuing to chew on the food some friendly youngster was feeding him.

Scooter McCrae, semi-reporting.

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  By Special Request

Some people have been wondering what song would be referenced next on this blog, so just before heading back onto the road I asked Lou what song lyrics best reflected his state of mind during the random moment I put the question to him.

"C'mon, Lou -- the people need to know, man!"

Lou thought about it for a moment. And let me tell you that when a person has spent the better part of five days with their butt welded to the seat of a hot bicycle seat, you can really see the cogwheels of the mind turning in the facial expressions displayed while thoughts are being processed.

Finally, an answer.

"You Can't Always Get What You Want".

Lou started reciting a few lines to me like he did with that Madonna song the other day. Again, thankfully, he did not sing the words. At this point Lou's voice sounds like Leonard Cohen after a rough day of gargling Draino.

He smiled when he requested the song, so I suspect it's not intended as a kind of reconciliation in case he doesn't complete the race in time so much as a fun, defiance of caution and a dare to the elements to just try and stop the man who has his heart set on victory.

I saw her today at the reception
A glass of wine in her hand
I knew she was gonna meet her connection
At her feet was her footloose man

You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you might find
You get what you need

Oh yeah, hey hey hey, oh...

And I went down to the demonstration
To get my fair share of abuse
Singing, "We're gonna vent our frustration
If we don't we're gonna blow a 50-amp fuse"
Sing it to me now...

You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes well you just might find
You get what you need
Oh baby, yeah, yeah!

I went down to the Chelsea drugstore
To get your prescription filled
I was standing in line with Mr. Jimmy
And man, did he look pretty ill
We decided that we would have a soda
My favorite flavor, cherry red
I sung my song to Mr. Jimmy
Yeah, and he said one word to me, and that was "dead"
I said to him

You can't always get what you want, no!
You can't always get what you want (tell ya baby)
You can't always get what you want (no)
But if you try sometimes you just might find
You get what you need
Oh yes! Woo!

You get what you need--yeah, oh baby!
Oh yeah!

I saw her today at the reception
In her glass was a bleeding man
She was practiced at the art of deception
Well I could tell by her blood-stained hands

You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you just might find
You just might find
You get what you need

Scooter McCrae, reporting (as if you didn't know that by now).

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  Behind-The-Scenes of RAAM 2007

No, this photo of your intrepid videographer hard at work is not a fabrication for the camera. I really do ride through most of the day (and sometimes the night) in the passenger seat with the camera mounted on a tripod that my legs hold down to keep bounce to a minimum. The headphones are for the iPod that keeps me pacified while shooting. And when things to shoot are scarce, I get on-line and try to upload photos and keep the blog in order (when internet access becomes available) while also trying to be diligent with my e-mails.

It's a tough job, but someone has to do it.

But it's certainly not as tough as riding a bicycle 3000 miles in 12 days!

I just got word that Lou has crested the peak of the Colorado mountain range and is headed to the hotel room I'm typing this from for a well-deserved shower and one-hour rest period.

It sounds like he's earned it, don't you think?

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  Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

Greetings Everybody!

The mountains of Utah and then Colorado kept the wireless internet signal from coming anywhere near our shared laptop computer, so we've been far quieter than we intended to be.

To briefly fill you in on what you've missed, Lou got exhausted and was out of the race. Then he got energized and is back in the race.

Certainly it's all a bit more complicated than this, but for now that's the long and short of it and all that matters right now is that I'm looking at the back of Lou's head from the follow-vehicle as he goes flying out of Durango and heads into Pegosa Springs here in Colorado.

Lou's spirit has been energized these last 48 hours and his enthusiasm and will-power have been the main fuel that's been powering his bike-battered body as he goes hurtling over the white-lined blacktop.

Memo to Utah: speaking as the cameraperson welded to the passenger seat with a camera mounted on a tripod, the quality of your road work leaves much to be desired. Far too many bumps when I'm trying to get the best footage I can.

Otherwise, a lot of beautiful countryside has been trickling past our collective windows and everyone is united in the cause of seeing Lou crossing the finish line into the gambling haven known as Atlantic City (aka: Frantic City to those of us raised on old FLINTSTONES cartoons).

Scooter McCrae, reporting.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007
  A New Day Begins

Tuesday morning and we're creeping up on the time station at Williams. Thirty miles to go and counting as Lou pedals in the early post-dawn dappling of vibrant sunlight that creates a lively orange rim around the edges of everything tall enough to receive its blessings.

Matt, a new crew person for the race to chew-up and spit-out, arrived late last night after the idiots at the airline he was traveling with misaligned the connection between his two flights that created a 7 minute gap between them which left him stranded at the airport. Apparently, after a long delay, his airline told him that the fact that they didn't hold the connecting plane after endlessly delaying the first one was his problem and not theirs.

But of course. Heck, I could have told him that!

Silly passenger.

I suspect that sitting in a car for 36 hours at a time without proper food or shower access will seem like a picnic after dealing with that kind of stupidity. At least here he'll be among friends.

By this point, Lou has once more earned my humble respect and had the title SUPER HUMAN bestowed upon him by yours truly. I've seen much more of the back of his head than his face since this race started and there's still an energetic spring to the up-and-down piston-snap of his pedaling that is shocking even at 9am EST this fine morning.

In fact, let me extend that admiration to not only my teammate but to everyone who has made if this far. It's a damn impressive physical achievement and is the product of a perspicacity of internal vision that is difficult to describe, especially in my exhausted state.

Looking forward to seeing where the rest of this day takes us now that the deliciousness of the two hours of sleep I got while curled-up amongst the coolers, empty bottles and video equipment in the back seat of the follow-vehicle gives me a burst of much-needed energy.

Twelve miles to the interstate and counting.

Scooter McCrae, reporting.

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  Steaming, Boiling, Cooking Hot

All day we've seen tiny lizards skittering across the stark sun bleached soil as dust devils seem to constantly form, whip the surrounding dirt into angry formation for a bit and then dissipate until a new one starts all over again a little further down the horizon.

The day began with us in the follow vehicle crew realizing we had a sharp screw embedded in one of our rear tires. As it was only a matter of time before something bad might happen, we were lucky to be near civilization where we found a garage that was able to effect a repair at 7:45am. By 8:05am we were back on the road.

Lou is doing his best but he's fighting a relentless enemy today. The few times I got out of the relative air conditioned heaven of the follow vehicle to take pictures and shoot video was like stepping out into an angry sauna. Lou is capable of taking a great deal of punishment, and it looks like the forces of nature themselves are curious to see if he has a breaking point today.

I'm reminded of a line from the movie DUNE (which both Lou and I have a fanatical appreciation of) -- ARRAKIS WAS CREATED TO TRAIN THE FAITHFUL.

Today, Arizona is the desert world conspiring to test the mettle of a faithful athlete and the crew and family who are working to serve his goal.

If you're reading this, be sure to drop a few helpful comments to Lou as he's checked your messages and laughed out loud while reading them. Peter Pan asked for your belief to help bring Tinkerbell back to life, so a little love certainly couldn't hurt here.

Scooter McCrae, reporting from Hell's boiler room.

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Monday, June 11, 2007
  This Is Serious!

I ended up taking in too many calories on Sunday and my stomach started getting upset. Then came the Diarrhea. I backed off on the calories and the fluids, but the nasuaea wouldn't go away. I had a good ride up Box Canyon Rd, that road kicked my butt last year, so I had a grudge to settle. I've been told that was my fastest segment of the race so far.

Ironically, on my way to Hope, Arizona, I was losing it...I started vomiting, but the vomiting seemed to clear up my stomach. I grabbed an hour and a half sleep stop just after leaving Interstate 10. I'm about 20 miles from Hope and I'm ready to go. That's all for now from me.


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  All Through The Night

Nighttime bicycling looks to me like one of the most difficult and frightening things that a rider has to endure, especially when they're going through a desert environment. Last year I remember bats swooping down around Lou in the glare of the car headlights. This year Lou pointed out a large snake to us as we looked on in horror from behind the safety of the follow-vehicle windshield glass. Lou had no such protection between him and the snake.

His energy level was much higher pedaling through the shifting sands than it was last year at the same time. It was truly inspiring to see the level of energy he was still exuding some 15 hours into the race.

To counter Lou's LIKE A VIRGIN lyric quote, I'm posting the lyrics from a ditty by the undervalued Cyndi Lauper (who I always found more interesting and playful than Madonna anyway) that could be applied to Lou's nocturnal journey.

All through the night
I'll be awake and I'll be with you
All through the night
This precious time when time is new
Oh, all through the night today
Knowing that we feel the same without saying

We have no past we wont reach back
Keep with me forward all through the night
And once we start the meter clicks
And it goes running all through the night
Until it ends there is no end

All through the night
Stray cat is crying so stray cat sings back
All through the night
They have forgotten what by day they lack
Oh under those white street lamps
There is a little chance they may see

We have no past we wont reach back
Keep with me forward all through the night
And once we start the meter clicks
And it goes running all through the night
Until it ends there is no end

Oh the sleep in your eyes is enough
Let me be there let me stay there awhile

We have no past we wont reach back
Keep with me forward all through the night
And once we start the meter clicks
And it goes running all through the night
Until it ends there is no end
Keep with me forward all through the night
And once we start the meter clicks
And it goes running all through the night
Until it ends there is no end

Take away all the mushy stuff and it kinda' works. Hey, she even mentions meters in the song!

It's daylight now and we're in Arizona now and moving forward, ever forward.

Scooter McCrae, reporting.

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Sunday, June 10, 2007
  RAAMbo of RAAM

The plants of the desert are dry, vein-like strings that reach towards the merciless skies and pray for moisture like so many parched faithful. As if on cue, our entrance into the desert triggered a waiting tumbleweed to scurry across the road before our arriving vehicle. Later in the day, after filling-up with gasoline, a road runner charged across the parking lot of the station.

And now the sunlight is beginning to seep behind the desert mountains as Lou continues his quest just North of Salton City. The shadows cast by the setting sun are as long as the road that lies ahead for all of us this hot evening.

But I digress and wallow in cliches.

Lou is doing well and when I asked him how he was doing when he took his first break of the day after 9 hours of power-pedaling, he started quoting me the opening lyrics to Madonna's 1980's classic LIKE A VIRGIN.

I made it through the wilderness
Somehow I made it through
Didn't know how lost I was
Until I found you

I was beat, incomplete
I'd been had, I was sad and blue
But you made me feel
Yeah, you made me feel
Shiny and new

Like a virgin
Touched for the very first time
Like a virgin
When your heart beats
Next to mine

Thankfully, Lou simply recited the lyrics and did not actually sing them to me. It was only the first line or two anyway, but just thought I'd remind you of the rest of the song.

Back to the road. The sun is setting in a yellow blaze behind a dip in the curtain of rock we call mountains. In the distance, Lou's butt shimmies towards the horizon.

Scooter McCrae, reporting.

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  Breakfast of Champions

Lou and his crew ingest their just-before-the-race breakfast, which will keep everyone up-and-running for the next 12 hours (okay, maybe not 12 hours, but certainly it should do for the first 90 miles or so, right?).

Lou is especially concerned about being fully-fueled for his jump from the starting line.

Everyone is in good spirits and looking forward to a fantastic journey across America.

Keep an eye on this blog for updates as often as we can manage in the grueling days ahead.

Scooter McCrae, reporting.

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Saturday, June 09, 2007
  Twas The Night Before RAAM 2007

All was calm, All was bright...

Yeah, things are going a lot more smoothly this year. I was uber-stressed during registration and inspection especially when I realized I left some stuff at home and left some stuff back at the hotel, but the officials were cool and we were done quickly, quite the opposite of last year when the officials told me on the STARTING LINE that I didn't have all my paperwork in and wouldn't be allowed to start until it was, I was on the verge of tears.

Shout out to:

  • Mark Smith and Jonathan Nathanson at Bonzai Sports
  • Craftsman Auto Body for fixing up my ESCAPE and cleaning it inside and out
  • Clare Zecher for recording some stuff for me to listen to during RAAM and shipping it out
  • Sheila from Bermuda for her email
  • Hugh and Julie Chapman of Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas for their email of support
  • And last but not least, My Beautiful wife, ABL, for her extreme sacrifice during this, my cycling vacation...

I'm really excited about my communication prospects for this year. My APPLE makes it super easy to create podcasts, so I may be able to record my thoughts along the way. Stay tuned. My videographer will attempt to string together some footage for brief video updates along the way. If that's not cool, I don't know what is...I may or may not have time to check my email.

The race starts tomorrow at 7am EST (10am Pacific) so if I blog it'll be late at night. My crew may blog for me. If you'd like to leave a comment, my crew will read it to me on the road.


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Tuesday, June 05, 2007
  A Moment Of Silence Please

A transplant team, including two surgeons, two transplant donation specialists, and the flight crew were killed when their Cessna Citation crashed a couple of minutes after takeoff. They were transporting organs for a patient in critical condition in Detroit.

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Saturday, June 02, 2007
  Fate, Destiny, and an Angel?

Up in Wisconsin, I had the the oddest feeling about Clare. I couldn't put it in to words, but if pressed I would have said something like "a twin separated at birth or a long lost friend". During the 400K, I had planned on riding it in 16 hours, which would have put me back at the start just a little past dark. For some reason, I started at the back of the pack, just a bit slower than I had during the 200k and 300k. I was starting to work my way up the pack, when I stopped to chat briefly with Clare. Briefly turned into 2 hours, Which eventually turned into all day and night.

During the 600k, I committed to riding with Clare again (Steve Born had told me to ride it real easy). I've already written about the rainstorm and how well Clare took care of me. Again, we were out after dark and I didn't seem to mind. I was wide awake.

During RAAM 2006, I had difficulty staying awake on the first night, which wasn't a good sign. My plan was to ride straight through as most riders would do, but I needed a nap. I knew I was capable of riding straight through, but I couldn't stay awake.

So all the while I was in Wisconsin, I was trying to spend time with Clare hoping my brain would figure out why I had such an odd feeling about her, but like when you are trying to remember something, it comes to you after you stop thinking about it. It may seem obvious now, but I was 10 hours into my drive home when it hit me. That nagging feeling was my gut saying I needed her on my crew. I needed her to keep me awake and riding fast.

Way back when I first tried Sustained Energy by Hammer Nutrition, I wasn't really impressed (for about 30 seconds) and then it hit me how strong I was riding because of it. With Perpetuem, I had higher expectations, but again I was surprised by how strong I was riding because of it. I think having Clare on my crew is as essential as bringing along Perpetuem. She unlocked my potential; whether it will stay unlocked without her remains to be seen, I'm having a tough time convincing her to come along.


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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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Warning Signs for Kidney Disease:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Burning or Difficulty when Urinating
  • Frequent Urination at Night
  • Blood in your urine
  • Cola or tea colored urine
  • Swellig of the eyes, ankles, or feet
  • Lower back pain unrelated to physical activity

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