Friday, June 5, 2009

My Secret Weapon revealed!!!

I know that some of my competitors are following the other rider blogs. That is why I have waited so long to post what my secret weapon will be of the Race Across the West. My secret weapon is my wife and crew chief Connie.

Connie and I will celebrate our 23rd anniversary the day RAW is officially completed on the 21st of June. Her first crewing experience was Paris-Brest-Paris 2003. She was able to meet me at every time station along the route to feed and water me and listen to me complain about how much further I had to ride. Crewing for PBP is not an easy task if you had a co-pilot but she did it solo. Each time check was about 50 miles apart so she had three hours to drive to the next town (by the way the vehicles do not follow the bike route they have to go around the route), find the check-in point, get a parking spot, find and purchase food (guessing what I was hungry for) and be back somewhere on the route where I could find her. I would be there maybe 15 minutes and then the entire process started again.

In 2006 and 2007 she and Eric signed up for the 6 hour challenge at the Ultra-Midwest race. After riding they crewed the rest of the day/night for me. In 2008 she crewed the first half with Chris and the second half Eric came up to help.

When I finally made up my mind to enter RAW she immediately started working. Her first task was fund raising. She wanted to sell something to raise the money and came up with the idea of baking pecan or pumpkin pies and selling them at Thanksgiving and Christmas. She made close to 50. After Christmas she opened the choices to any kind of pie you wanted. To date she has made over 100 pies and raised over $1500.

My wife has always been the travel agent of the family. I think she enjoys planning the trip almost as much as the enjoys the trip itself. As you can imagine RAW can be a huge logistical task. Just the drive out and the stay in Oceanside can be daunting let alone finding Hotels along the route at just the right distance to make it ideal for the rider and crew. There was also the second vehicle to rent(point to point), and airline tickets for Eric.

Other tasks that you don't even think about are vehicle/bike inspections and photo sessions at the beginning of the race, the correct signs for the vehicles, documents that are needed for the drivers, first aid supplies, and the list of "little" things goes on and on.

All the above mentioned thing are just what she does for the trip. There are many other ways that she has supported me in the last 6 months while I was training. She has dropped me off/picked me up for tailwind rides in the winter when I am too much of a weenie to fight the winds. Many Saturday's are spent at home doing the house work while I am out riding. Making sure the maintenance on the van is up to date. Convincing me to ride on days when I don't feel like riding. Reminding me to take care of the few things that I need to do for the race.

While she is doing all this she is still training 10-12 hours per week for triathlons. If you have ever seen our fireplace mantle you know who the real athlete of the family is. At the end of each year we take all the plaques, trophies, certificates and other prizes she has won for the year and put them away. It only takes one season to fill the shelf back up with awards. She has twice been the Quad Cities female multi-sport champion and top 5 in the Midwest Multi-sport. in 2006 she competed at the World Championships in Hawaii. She has been nationally ranked in the top 10 percent of her age group most years and is a real force to be reckoned with on the bike. Her latest physical challenge has been adventure racing.

I have been riding for over 20 years and have been fortunate to have a wife that understands my obsession. Not only does she understand but I am lucky enough to share the adventures with her. The few of us riders that are lucky enough to be in that situation need to thank our spouses more often then we do.

Thank you Connie for everything you do to support me!

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