RAAM 2021 – Day 1 – The Journey Begins

Susi Huschle Training

Miles 0-311

Participating in RAAM Is a journey like no other. We are currently just over 24 hours into the adventure – it feels like a lifetime. One day. 311 miles – who does that?!? One of our Hopecam parents shared this insight – think to yourself, what all you did between 2:00 pm yesterday and 2:00 pm today. It’s probably a vast and varied list, now just think all that while, Michael was pedaling, pedaling, pedaling…. And still there is so much pedaling to do. As you do the dishes, attend board meetings, drive kids places, visit with friends, sleep, eat, as you do all these things, Michael will be pedaling for the next 12 days.

Day one journey is full of excitement, we finally get to start. Add in some anxiety, Michael is not allowed to have his crew with him the first 23, so we wait anxiously to see that he successfully makes it through that section. And then dread, the dreaded heat, the soaring the temperatures….arghh! Could it not have been an unusually cool year – no! It has to present us with record high temperatures.

Last time around, the desert was the nail in the coffin for RAAM 2018. With that knowledge, Michael prepared long and hard to conquer the heat that drew the life out of him, but now we are faced with even higher temperatures. This type of thing always makes me wonder…. Just wonder a lot of things. Why must it happen this way!?!

Michael started off strong, kept a good pace, was showing his readiness. By Brawley, however the wear and tear of the desert heat was already beginning to show. Neck ache, stomach trouble which leads to poor nutrition, exhaustion, and just annoyed at the darn heat.

A few more check-ins and it is clear – we all just want to get through this desert and leave it behind us. After 24 hours of steady riding, Michael has decided to rest. The goal for this first leg was Congress, AZ. But the heat has just become unbearable. Michael is currently somewhere between Parker and Salome AZ resting in the ‘follow vehicle’, along with his crew chief and a couple of crew members. The ‘follow vehicle is equipped with a bed so MIchael can crawl in and have a quick rest at anytime. At this point, he is taking his official ‘sleep break’. A sleep break usually entail; get out of his bike clothes, shower, eat A little something, and get into a real bed with sheets and blankets allowing for deep peaceful sleeps two to three hours. This is usually done at a predetermined stop in the ‘mothership’ (this year named the ‘Vansion’). But with the heat beating down, it was determined he would do his sleep break out there on the road, to simply give him an immediate break and get him out of the heat. The van is also equipped with sun shades for all windows, so they can get it nice and cool. So now we wait. Wait and wonder, what will the next 24 hours bring? Can we get out of the desert safely and on to the rest of the open road…. Stay tuned….