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Team Wolcott

Gallery - part 1
Communications Test
Keith with radioWe got our Cardo radio system this week, and Lisa helped us set it up yesterday. It works great! The intercom system between the two radios works well. We tested playing music from Lisa's phone via a bluetooth connection and Keith could hear it on his headset, but we could interrupt it with talking when we needed to. We also tested phone calls. I could call Lisa's phone and Keith could answer it with his headset and talk to me. Unlike the radios we used last summer, both parties can talk at the same time. This is a big improvement.
January Training Meeting
January crew training meetingThank you to all of the crew members that participated in our recent crew meeting. Amazingly we were only missing two support crew members (they had a very good reason and we will be giving a personal recap of the session to them soon.) We think it was a successful meeting, since we got a good exchange of ideas with improvements and refinements, and some more things to think about. Our run through with the mock-up of the van helped us visualize better how things will work. As the plan improves, we gain confidence. We are going to do this!
Tech Support - Charging Stations
Charging stationThree cheers for John Looby who designed and built three compact charging stations for RAAM. Each charging station has ten available outlets. The power strips are securely velcroed in each box. The little orange light indicates that the unit is receiving power. The attached lid makes a handy shelf for the devices being charged. It should work really well for us. Thanks, John!
Hilly Hundred 2013 Report
We have just returned from the Hilly Hundred in Ellettsville, Indiana. The ride consists of 56 miles on Saturday and 44 miles on Sunday and includes about 3,300 feet of climbing each day (see Kathy, Lori, John, Ellen, and I all had quite a good time with Kathy and Lori completing their first Hilly Hundred. There are dozens and dozens of climbs on the route, but easily the toughest climb of the two days is Mount Tabor. It is only .3 miles long but is a steady 20% grade until it hits 24% for the last part. A majority of riders walk this hill, but our group all made it to the top looking strong.

If the weather was reasonable, I had planned on doing three laps each day as training for RAAM. I also thought that even if the weather was bad that I would still do three laps each day, so I'm disappointed that I just did two laps each day. I started on Saturday at 5:35 am (the group started at 8:00) when it was 44 degrees with a steady drizzle. The rain continued for 6 hours, the temperature dropped to 40 degrees, and the wind picked up. After 2/3rds of the second lap I caught up with Ellen and friends and decided to come to my senses and just do two laps. Then as we finished the lap, the sun came out and it started warming up which tempted me to do another lap. But as my coach (Ellen) and I have learned many times, "Train, don't drain." That is, it's counter-productive to train so hard that it takes a long time to recover. Instead, do more moderate to strong efforts that have a better training effect in the sense that it only breaks you down a little and you then bounce back quickly and stronger.

On Sunday, I started at 6:50 am (the group started at 9:00). There was no rain, but it was windy and 43 degrees. The temperature then kept dropping until it was 32 in the valleys and 37 at the tops of big climbs. But the cold was short-lived as the sun rose and warmed it up nicely so I could strip off most of my clothes for the second lap. At this stage I felt really strong so I pushed hard for the 24 miles to the lunch stop and caught the group there. Then we had quite a nice finish. I climbed Mount Tabor quickly with the intent to take everyone else's photo as they crested the top, but alas, my inexperience with the camera on the phone made me take too long and I only got pictures of Lori and John.

It was a great weekend and even though I am disappointed that I only did the Hilly 200, it is the first time that I have done it. 200 miles in two days with 13,000 feet of climbing is not bad. I am only moderately worn out and will recover in two or three days so I think it was excellent training.
Survivors of the 2013 Hilly Hundred
Hilly Hundred 2013 Survivors - from left: Keith, Ellen, Kathy, Lori and John
Pre-ride dining
Members of Team High Maintenance, ready for some pre-ride nutritional intake. This is an important aspect of the the team motto for THM -- "ride, eat, repeat." Clockwise, from lower left: Ellen, John, Judy and Kathy.
Cold start to Hilly
Weather on the Hilly Hundred can be tricky - it was a cold, rainy start this year. Above, the riders take in a little snack at one of the stops on Day 1. From left: Lori, Ellen, John and Kathy.
John's helmet cover
John is the master of improvisation. A hotel shower cap becomes a helmet cover.
Nicer day on the Hilly
Day 2 of the Hilly was much friendlier weather.
Keith and Ellen, Day 1 of the Hilly Hundred 2013.
UltraMidWest 24-Hour

For the past decade or so, the UltraMidWest 24 Hour race has been held on Labor Day weekend in Port Byron, IL. It was at this race last year that Keith qualified to do RAAM by completing 400 miles in 24 hours without drafting. We had planned to return to Port Byron this year and both do the race, Keith in preparation for RAAM and Ellen to experience another 24 hour race. Unfortunately, the race was cancelled, mainly because of health reasons on the part of one of the directors.

To honor the two couples who founded this race, a group of racers organized an informal version of the UltraMidWest 24 Hour race. There were no numbers or entry fees, but the school where it has always been based was rented again and racers were asked to donate money to honor the founders, the Parkers and the Jamisons. Even though we had only been to the race once, we were glad to return and participate. Friday evening before the race, a group of us met for dinner at a local pizza shop. There we met and conversed with some fellow bikers, several of whom have participated in RAAM as either crew, rider, or both. We heard many RAAM stories and gathered lots of ideas to consider in planning our RAAM.

As for the race itself on Saturday, about 20 riders showed up at the start. There are three loops for the race – a 53 mile loop, a 20 mile loop, and the short night time loop of 8 miles. Riders were free to ride whichever loops they wanted to. Ellen just wanted to do a century, so she started with a long loop, took a modified version of the middle loop, and finished with the small loop for 102 miles. As the day wore on, there were fewer riders out on the loops. Keith rode with Paul Carpenter the whole time. They worked together to make their goal of 400 miles. They did 404 miles in 23 hours. Earlier in the week, the weather predictions had called for a high of 96 on Saturday, but fortunately that was revised to 86. Most of the day was overcast – a real blessing. The high was 85 which was hot enough to cause Keith a lot of trouble with dehydration despite the fact that he took in fluids constantly. As it cooled off in the evening, he recovered. Several other riders were out after midnight, but only Keith and Paul went for 23 hours. It was a good training ride for both of them. Keith got to practice another aspect of RAAM – sleeping in the screen tent on a thin pad. He got a 30 minute nap before the presentation ceremony for the Parkers and Jamisons.

Keith sleeping in screen tent on UltraMidWest 24 Hour

Arizona Road Report - Day 1

Report for day 1 (we'll post an overall report on the Team Wolcott page eventually - don't feel mentally capable of doing so now.) I'll try to make this concise. Keith started out at 4:45 a.m. yesterday from Congress. The first thing he got to do was the Yarnell grade, a seven mile climb. It gave him no trouble. (The photo below was after he had cleared the grade.) There was more climbing to the first time station of the day in Prescott, but he made it in good time. Unfortunately, we lost some time when we missed each other at the time station. The next time station was in Cottonwood. Keith made good time getting there. He had a flat tire shortly after that. We passed through Sedona, AZ on our way to the time station in Flagstaff. The road between those two was very busy and not much shoulder. The switchbacks going up to Flagstaff were tough, but manageable. We got lost in Flagstaff, so we lost some time there. The next time station at Tuba City was 70 miles away, but mostly downhill. Keith went to within 15 miles of it, stopping at 7:30 when it got dark and he had made 200 miles. He climbed 17,000 feet in that time. My day was very hectic. I could not be driver, navigator, and foodie all at once, but I did my best. We were both pretty tired when we drove into Tuba City. I had the phone numbers of the four hotels in town. Three were full. The fourth was an Inn that seems to be associated with a school. We had our own room, but the bathrooms were down the hall. No wi-fi, so no reporting last night, not that I could have. It had taken us an hour to find the Inn. We had no dinner, but just ate what we had in the car and hit the sack.

Keith after clearing Yarnell Hill, AZ

Arizona Road Report - Day 2

Report for day 2 - We were up at 4 a.m. this morning. Keith began by changing the flat from yesterday and replacing his rear tire as the tread was worn. We had a REAL meal at McDonalds for breakfast (I had to drive around the four horses wandering down the middle of the street to get there.) He got off at 6:23, heading for the time station at Kayenta, AZ, 72 miles away. He got another flat early on, but I was close by to swap out the wheels. I got to practice changing the flat tire. Today was much less hectic for me, probably because there was little navigation to do, just stay on the same road. I would leapfrog ahead of Keith two miles, wait for him to go by, wait 10-15 minutes and repeat. The first fifty miles of the route was a climb, though not steep and he had a tailwind. He was starting to get his energy back by the time he got to Kayenta, but he still wisely decided just to do two time stations today. The next one was 44 miles to Mexican Hat, UT. This is the segment that goes through Monument Valley, so he was really looking forward to that. I did manage to get the iconic shot of him climbing up out of the valley. (He hit 47 mph going down the previous hill.) He arrived in Mexican Hat at 1:50, having done 115 miles and 3500 feet of climbing. We drove through the next two time stations and are now in Cortez, CO. If Keith does three time stations tomorrow, he will be over Wolf Creek Pass.

In Monument Valley
Arizona Road Report - Day 3
Support report for day 3 - Today turned out harder than yesterday. I got lost at one point. I have no idea how I got off the course and wasn't aware I was off of it until I was waiting for Keith and saw a sign for the road I was supposed to be on. At that point, I backtracked for a while, then went forward on the course. Not knowing if Keith was ahead of me or not, I called him on the phone. He was a few miles ahead of me. Most of the day was like yesterday, leapfrogging in front of Keith. I recovered from not having a navigator, but got into trouble because I didn't have a foodie with me. The foodie's job is not only to feed Keith but to feed the crew in the support vehicle. It didn't hit me until we got to Pagosa Springs, but I was really low on calories and felt pretty bad. A good Mexican restaurant has remedied that. Another frustrating aspect of crewing alone in a car rather than a van is the lack of space. The spare wheels are quite important, especially seeing how many flats we have had, but they are continually in the way.
inside the back of the support car
Rider report for day 3 - Keith got off this morning at 6:46 a.m. By 7:00 it was raining, but it was a light rain, lasting about two hours. By the time he got to the Durango, CO time station at 10:15, it was sunny. After refueling, he continued on to the next time station in Pagosa Springs, CO. We decided that two time stations were plenty for today. The goal is to experience the route, not wear Keith out completely. We were doubly glad of that decision as it started to rain and thunder as we approached Pagosa Springs. Three miles out, Keith got a flat tire (rear one this time). So far, the trip has been a great success. We've learned lots of things. Keith now knows what to expect when he looks at the climbing profile for each route. He's also solving other problems, for instance, the nagging problem with his big toe seems to be caused by his socks. If you look closely at the Monument Valley photo, you can see that he's not wearing a sock on his right foot. Since it worked so well for part of yesterday's ride, he took them both off today. He covered 100 miles today, climbing 7400 ft. I didn't get many photos today, but the one I'm posting gives some perspective, with Keith appearing pretty small.
Training ride in the Colorado mountains

Arizona Road Report - Day 4

Keith crest of Wolf Creek Pass
Report for day 4 - Today was the big day, Wolf Creek Pass, 10,856 ft in altitude. It was 51 degrees when Keith started this morning at 7:16. He started out bundled up, but by mile 18, right before the climb got steep, he shed the warm layers. It was a nine mile climb, alternating 6% and 7% grades. After three miles, we got into the routine of Keith stopping every mile for a drink of gel and a swig of caffeine-free coke, while he rested for a few minutes. He crested at 10:23, feeling pretty good. He was pleased that the altitude seemed to have little effect on him. He was breathing a little heavier than usual, but not gasping and he did not experience any headaches. He bundled back up for the twenty mile descent to the time station in South Fork. From there, we skipped the next section. It was all downhill, so it would have been easy, but since we were short on time, we wanted to make sure we got a look at some more of the major climbs. I let Keith out part way through the next section, where he climbed La Veta Pass, cresting at 7500 ft. That was much easier than Wolf Creek Pass. With the day wearing on, we continued on to the next section, heading for Cuchara Pass. This was a much tougher climb, cresting a 9995 ft. Keith bundled up for the descent. The temperature had dropped to 49 degrees and it started to rain. Even though it was a nice fast descent, Keith stopped at 92 miles for the day since we didn't have sufficiently warm clothes and hypothermia was a real concern. He had climbed a total of 9000 ft for the day. We drove the rest of the course into Trinidad where we found a hotel and a nice restaurant to celebrate our anniversary. We continued to learn more today and have a lot to digest as we rework our plans for RAAM. (Photo - Keith cresting Wolf Creek Pass)
Support report for day 4 - Today was a decent support day. The only frustrating part of the day was when I stopped in the small time station town of La Veta for ice. The conveniently located gas station was out of ice and I wasted 15 minutes going to another store to get some. I sure wished I had an errand car then! We did find someone to take a photo of both of us at Wolf Creek Pass. Tomorrow we start the drive home.
Keith and Ellen at Wolf Creek Pass
Illinois Training Rides

If you live around Charleston, IL, perhaps you've seen him on the roads. Keith is always out on his bicycle or running. Here are a few photos from some recent rides.

early morning ride, July 2013
Above: early morning ride in July 2013.
John and Keith, Bike the Bridges 2011
Above: John Looby (left) and Keith, on the Bike the Bridges ride in nearby Rockville, IN. We thought this was an intersection of destiny.
Keith on training ride in IL, fall 2012, bean field in background
Above: On a practice ride in central Illinois, fall 2012.
Video - July 2013 RAAM Test
Team Wolcott gratefully acknowledges the support of Sunflower Productions for these two masterpieces of video editing.

Day Riding - The Crew's View.

Night Riding - The Crew's View