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Team Wolcott

June 12

Today's recap (so far) -- Keith checked into Timestation #8 (Cottonwood, AZ) at 6:10 am RAAM time (5:10 am Central.) At this point, he was nearing the portion of the route that runs on I-17 south of Flagstaff, where racers and crews must stay on the shoulder of the interstate and are not allowed to pass one another. They are also required to leave the interstate at every exit (which allows them to then pass one another or stop and give water, food, aid to their rider.) A planned rest was waiting just outside of Flagstaff.

Eric and Claudia had identified a spot just south of Flagstaff where they could bring in the RV and give Keith a chance for an extended break.

The crew members are constantly rotating, so it is impossible to say who is in the "off-duty" van or the "direct follow" van or the "errand car" at any given time. Ellen had the schedule worked out for the first three days (and further), assigning crew 10-hour shifts in one van or the other. When they are not on duty, the crew members need to be resting (sleep, if they can, but of course part of the time they are not on duty they will be driving to the location where they'll sleep and then need to get going at the end of that period soon enough to reach the place where they'll go on-duty again. If Keith has been riding while they're sleeping, they'll need to catch up with him and find a safe rendezvous point to switch crews.) It's complicated.

Around 12:00 noon RAAM time, Keith completed the stint of interstate and reached the EC Ryder RV at the specified location on the southern edge of Flagstaff. His arrival at this location is on target with the team's plan and is a stupendous accomplishment! He has just completed a grueling ride through the desert, followed by continuous climbing. (see the image below - the red arrow on the profile of the route below the map gives you an idea of the amount of climbing Keith did to get to this point.)

Tracker screen shot - showing Keith's location at this moment. The team had planned a short break here.

Around 14:20 RAAM time, he was moving again. These aren't offical times - I'm just estimating based on results I can view on the tracker website. After about a two-hour break just outside of Flagstaff, Keith was back on the course -- no longer on the interstate. He headed through Flagstaff, making an official check-in at the timestation (racers are not required to stop at a timestation; they can check-in by having a crew member phone in the official time they passed the timestation.) The official check-in at Flagstaff time station was at 14:41 RAAM time. His average speed between TS #8 and 9 might look like it was slower, but you know that this time included two hours of time off the bike (hopefully, some of it was spent sleeping.)

While Keith was taking a short break, the off-duty crew had the luxury of 30 minutes at a Denny's.

30 minutes at a Denny's

The off-duty crew also took naps in the van and began to move north to catch up and make an exchange with the crew in the direct-follow vehicle at Tuba City, AZ.

RAAM racers and crew sometimes have the opportunity to enjoy the scenery. Lisa sent this photo from near Tuba City.

Near Tuba City, AZ
Keith is just plain happy when he's on a bike! (Ken's photo)

Climbing... (the clock in the foreground is set for RAAM time. The crew must use RAAM time when they call RAAM officials to check in at a timestation, and because the race crosses 12 states and passes through four time zones, it simplifies communication for lots of reasons.) (Ken's photo)

Looking good as he continues to climb upward.
Keith, as he passes another team's support vehicle somewhere out on the route.

From Flagstaff to Tuba City, Keith maintained a good pace. Parts of the course provide some descents that helped push his speed over 20 mph. Conditions in the area are windy (but coming from the southwest, so they are providing a push.) There is a forecast of breezy to gusty conditions throughout the night and tomorrow and some relatively strong winds forecast for Colorado sections of the route coming up. Could be helpful at times, tricky at others.

Durango wind forecast for noon Friday, Jun 13

Screen shot from the National Weather Service website graphic for the wind forecast in the Grand Junction, CO, region for 3:00 pm (local time) on Friday, Jun 13