Saturday, 17 September 2016

RAAM 2016 (ACTION PACK) 14 July 2016 to 25 July 2016

For RAAM 2016 arrived in USA on 29 May 2016 with two crew members stayed at friend’s house (kishore) in Mountain View till 07 Jun2106 then moved to Anaheim, stayed at Air bnb for 24 hours and then to Temecula and the entire team reached Temecula stayed at Air bnb house till the start of the race.

12 Jun 16: Attended pre-race inspections and crew chief meeting. There are 52 time stations in the race route. Each time station needs to be reported when a rider crosses time station. There is a GPS tracker with each rider and that tracks the rider all throughout. We rented two support vehicles for the race.

13 Jun: Rider meeting,
My crew: Niranjan Upasani, Venkatesha Shivarama, Prafulla Srinivas, Kishore Gopalakrishna, Dhanasekaran S, Shreyash Gowda and Gyanendra Sharma.
14 Jun: 1310 h I was flagged off, the unsupported race route was easy to navigate no issue then till 23 miles later could get in touch with support crew. From there onwards I see so many solo riders blazing past me till Lake Henshaw, was feeling that I am slower than them, did not push because I felt I need to conserve it for the later days to come. Reached the summit of the glass elevator and started to descent, I was very careful about the descent and was under control but the cross winds was making life really diffiuclt, would come down to a standstill at some places on the descent, found Ricardo Arap and by passed him there. At Christmas circle met the other crew members and was moving on, did not stop at that stage. Reached Brawley at 2300 h local time, kept cycling

15 Jun: Reached Blythe early morning 0600h local time, Blythe to Parker in 06 hours, don’t remember what else happened, Parker to Salome was a tough ask, the heat was catching up and was getting weaker on the bike reached congress in the night

16 Jun: Reached Prescott in the morning and from there onwards reaching camp verde was a challenge, reached in the afternoon and from there that long stretch took a very long time, was feeling very sleepy in the night

17 Jun: Dragged myself after fighting for sleep to Flagstaff, by then I was done I was a broke, I said to myself that I have not trained well for RAAM and succumbed to the mental calculations in my mind which was telling me you can’t make it to Durango by 81 hours, I told my crew about it, they put me to sleep for 1 ½ hour and when I woke up I had given up. Prafulla and Kishore told me to get on the bike and ride to the next time station that is Tuba city. I was riding very weakly to Tuba city. At Tuba city my whole crew was kind of given up on me except Prafulla and Venky. We went to Mc Donalds and lazed out there and at around 1530 local time decided let’s go to next time station but after a lot of hesitation. At this stage I gave up on RAAM dream. Lost focus completely on the race. Now I feel the crew had totally given up on the race. But Venky pushed me to reach kayenta by 1010 local time, so I literally was riding strong with unnecessary stops uncalled for, till this stage no one knew that Durango is a Soft Cut off. All were riding only to make it to Kayenta.  

I reached Kayenta and was feeling so strong that I told my crew, ask for permission to ride further. At this point the team realized that it is a soft cut off and we were all happy to know that we are still alive in the race. With a Shower break, left Kayenta with lot of energy
18 Jun: Mexican hat and Montezumma creek was good but from there the motivation was succumbing to sleep deprivation and exhaustion, the ride to cortez was one hell of a ride as I started feeling breathless and was struggling to breath, that was a shocker to me, I felt that there is an hypersensitive reaction in my airways to the pollens around, did not tell my crew but as I was nearing cortez I started to wheeze and then my whole respiratory tract was choked, I manually tried to cough heavily and bring out the massive mucus plugs, it was yellow green and stained with blood, I was bringing out lot of sputum from then onwards. I happened to meet Alberto there at Cortez and was amazed at the concern he had for me. At cortez, stopped for a loo break and was ready for Durango. 

After 5 miles I told my crew that I want to relax for some time along the road, at that moment I could not sleep but did get massage from my crew. I started antibiotic in that stretch and was back on the bike. It was very hard to be on the bike reached Durango in the evening. Stopped at Durango for one hour. Ricardo Arap overtook me there and I was trying to keep him in sight

19 Jun: Reached Pagosa Springs and then was all charged up for Wolf creek pass, my chain broke at this juncture, had to change my bike to one I have never ever used but I was fortunate to scale wolf creek with decent timing, the descent from there onwards was a struggle. Don’t know why I was so slower and reached south fork in the morning, took a hour break there and was given deadline to ride faster. After which I was speeding like hell to Alamosa and then to La veta and finally to Trinidad

20 Jun: Reached Trinidad, slept for an hour here, was riding ok till walsh, walsh to Ulysses was a challenge with cross winds, life was tough for me,

From here I will put whatever I remember because I am not able to recall events , did an awesome el dorado, took a shower and after yates and ft scott, suffered hallucinations to the highest level for 6 hours and then slept after reaching ft scott. I  was hit with the strong roller coasters  to weaubleau really rode very strong here, at this stage we were out of the time that we were given for Mississippi and did ask for another soft cut off here and we were granted then. Again excited to be back on the bike made it to Jefferson city, slept for a while there and then to Washington and then was fighting my way out to Mississippi, really boring landscapes which remain monotonous

25 Jun: At Mississippi I felt like a hero, rested for one hour again, and back on bike, reached Bloomington took a shower and started calculating the remaining distances, and I started to lose hope and I felt that I am fighting a lost battle. Dragged to Greensburg, where Kishore quit the ride and I dragged myself to Ohio. At Oxford Ohio, my desire to race was subdued and had no hope left and gave up there. I cycled 2460 miles in 11 days.

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