PEZ: How are things going so far?
Phil: Everything is going phenomenally. For the 8 person corporate challenge, we’re 100 miles ahead of second place and we’re 2.8 mph over the current record – and we’ve just gone through the hardest part of the course, the most mountainous, which means it should only get better from here.
The race started under perfectly blue skies in Oceanside, California on Tuesday afternoon.
Our crew has been doing an amazing job, always having food ready for us when we need it, taking care of everything, making sure that all we need to do is get on our bikes and go hard.
PEZ: Where are you?
Phil: We’re close to Alamosa I think [Ed. I talked to Phil around 11 am Eastern]. We just went over the infamous Wolf Creek Pass, about an hour and a half ago or so.
We had some pretty stellar teamwork leading up to the climb, which really limited our losses to Team Vail (a team of pro mountain bikers from, you guessed it, Vail). They’ve been killing us on the climbs, so we drilled it up to the climb and hit it as hard as we could. Essentially we climbed for 27 miles. The 150 mile stretch before that, we did 110 miles of climbing – so to have an avg speed of 22.8 so far is pretty solid.
There has been a lot of climbing so far.
PEZ: Now you’re into the flatlands more or less?
Phil: We have two more mountain passes to cross, not nearly as bad as Wolf Creek, but after that…hopefully the Weather Channel can provide us with some tailwinds.
PEZ: What would you say has been the best part of the race so far?
Phil: Well, everything has been great so far for the most part, but I’d say two best’s: coming down from Flagstaff, which was a 30 mile descent with 50 mph tailwinds, the first part of the downhill I was hitting 65 mph and I only had a 53×12. The others were cruising at 55 on the downhills and flats.
You gotta love hitting speeds over 60 mph on the bike.
On the other side of the spectrum, the exact opposite of highway car speeds, Wolf Creek, we had some stellar work done by the crew so we could fly up the climb. The climb got up to 10,897 feet, we were way up there, and we did very well through that stretch.
PEZ: How about the worst part?
Phil: The worst was probably the first day. We were all anxious and we were going out too hard in the first 5-10 minutes and then paying for it.
The team was rolling through Colorado earlier today, heading toward the long, long, straight roads of the Midwest.
PEZ: How have the teams been working?
Phil: We’ve broken off into the red team and the white team, four riders apiece, 8 hour shifts between teams, within that, we’ve got a set order for 20-30 minutes, but if need be, we’ll break it up to put someone in there where they’re good. Primarily we have one person on the road, but sometimes two.
PEZ: So you can do it team time trial-style?
PEZ: How has your nutritional strategy been working?
Phil: It was kind of tricky the first day, we were running low blood sugars, because it was so different from what we’d done before. We really are going all out for as long as we can go, and then someone else goes, you rest, and then go again. We’ve been using a lot of ECaps/Hammer stuff and for the most part everyone feels phenomenal. Each team has done approximately 24 hours now, each rider, probably 6-8 hours at threshold in the past two days. The fact that everyone is feeling so good is phenomenal.
Monitoring the team’s blood sugar is a constant duty – even on the start line.
Like I said, the first day was tough, getting everyone adjusted with their blood sugars. I think everyone has their optimal one lined up now, and everyone is doing a very good job staying there. It’s just adjustments. We’re all stoked to be where we are right now.
PEZ: And the equpipment?
Phil: It’s been amazing, we’ve had wheels and bikes for all situations thanks to Litespeed and Zipp. It’s nice to have a full aero set-up when you’re rolling it at 50 without any perceived effort, and then hit up the climbing bike with the 303 wheels.
PEZ: How has the fundraising been going?
Phil: I haven’t had any live updates, but we’re raising some big money, and if everyone who reads this article threw in a dollar, we’d be much further down the road to our goal of a million dollars.
PEZ: When do you go again?
Phil: I have approximately 7 hours off.
A win in the corporate category looks good, but what about the record? Phil sees good prospects.
PEZ: So you just finished about an hour ago?
Phil: The last one was good, it was tough. It’s funny, we got clothes from Hincapie specifically for the mountain weather. We were all in a big rush this morning and forgot all of our clothes. We ran into a climb and the elevation was getting pretty high and we didn’t have much for clothes and our RV had gotten off-track. We eventually caught up to our RV and got some clothes before hitting Wolf Creek.
We’re right where we want to be – we just have to continue to ride hard and go fast and try and win this bad boy.
We’ll be talking with Team Type 1 tomorrow again to get an update and see how the flatlands are treating them.
You can get nearly up to the minute updates about Team Type 1′s progress as they head eastward across the US – have a look at their excellent Race Blog.
Check out the RAAM site for more overall information, as well as up to the minute updates from all of the competitors.
Get a Wristband! The red and white is so hot right now.