Its 9pm Saturday night. The race starts in 12 hours. Today has been extremely chaotic and a little stressful...probably a good taste of whats to come. But, as I've said all along, we'll figure out how to deal with it, adapt and adjust accordingly.
At the race meeting they called all the riders names and had us come up on stage. I sort of expected to have a revelation and all of a sudden realize how big of a race this is at some point tonight. It didn't happen. I think that's a good thing. I think it means that mentally I'm operating on the plane that I need to be. I know how big it is and I feel like I'm ready. We'll see over the next few days if I'm right or just naive.
This will be my last post for a while. During the first couple days of the race my mom will be posting info that she'll get from my crew. After that the crew will start posting directly from the vehicle. Before I start there are a slew of people that I would like to thank for their support, help, etc.
This is no particular order and I know I'm going to leave a lot of people out...sorry in advance. I'm pretty well stressed right now.
Peter Lekisch and George Stransky. They put on one of the best races I've ever done and their support and encouragement has been invaluable. I can't explain how much help they have been. The tip of the iceberg is that Peter changed his own travel plans to be able to stay with me while I used his house in Fredericksberg, TX as a training base in April.
My boss, Brett Nelson, was one of the first people to say "you've got to do this" when I first talked to him about it. I've missed a lot of work getting ready for this and him and the other NRCS engineers (Brant and Amiee mostly) have had to pick up my slack.
Morgan, who set this blog up because she knew I would talk about it and never do it.
Justin at Orbea Bicycles and Iron at Cytosport. They have both been awesome and made what is a financial disaster a little less so. I really appreciate what they've been able to do for me.
All of my friends and riding partners in Fairbanks and Colorado who've entertained me by pretending that they wanted to talk about this race because I was mostly incapable of talking about anything else...Kraig, Tim, Whitney, Ros, Tom in CO and Rocky, Luke, Julie, Norma and John, and a whole mess of other people in Alaska.
My parents for their support and for planning to meet me in Atlantic City in a race that statistically I've got a 50% chance of finishing. I appreciate their confidence.
There is no way I can adequately thank my crew. Larry and Noreen Best, my mother and father in-law, Gail Koepf our friend and next door neighbor, Rob Sampson, my former boss and friend from Boise, Idaho, Ben Couturier, the youngest RAAM finisher ever and future holder of Rob Kish's record for most completed RAAM races (kidding), Tim Stern, who has been a great friend and riding partner for a long time...and most of all, my wife Heather. She's been living with me, and therefore with this race, 24 hours a day for about 10 months.
The concept of RAAM as a 'solo' race is ridiculous. This group of people is taking time out of their lives so that we can try to accomplish something together. Something that is my idea, but that I can't accomplish without their help. They are going to suffer along with me on this. I hope they experience the highs too.
In general I'm not a hyper-competitive person, and winning races does not motivate me to train. I train because I love riding and I have fun. But early on in my training I knew this was different. I felt something like 'pressure' to make sure that if this group of people was willing to commit to doing this with me that the least I could do was make sure that I did everything I could to be prepared. Over time that feeling sort of changed from 'pressure' to more like inspiration, and has really been a source of strength for me.
Finally...I've had more fun with this blog than I thought I would. I don't have a clue who or how many people have looked at it, but thanks to you who do for taking the time. I'll probably do some post-race posting and then put this thing on the shelf.