In 2012 during my first RAAM I was struck, dragged and then run over by a vehicle while riding through Kayenta, AZ. I spent 7 hrs in the hospital, was then released and with the help of a great crew rode another 2,300 miles to Annapolis to finish in 8th with a time of 10days 20hrs.
This year we came back with a new mentality; lighter, faster, with fewer comforts. With a crew of just five, and supporting using just a mini-van and a pick-up, we shaved 30 hrs off my 2012 time, finishing in 9 days 16hrs. We set a new Canadian record, we were the fastest North American racer, were the only non-professional rider to break the 10 day barrier, and finished 7th overall in what was the most competitive field EVER assembled in the history of the Race Across AMerica.
Within an hour of finishing, we began looking ahead to 2014, with the main goal of finishing under 9 days and securing a spot on the podium Can we take another 16 hrs off? You bet. We'll save a few hours tweaking our support setup a bit more, and will leave it to me to pedal a few hours faster. There is certainly a lot to be said for talent but the greats of RAAM are not great because they are talented, they are great because they race a lot. We learned a lot last year and learned lots this year. We will continue to race and train and learn.
On a final note, RAAM is a preposterously costly venture, and with the exception of my nutrition sponsor Spiz, this year I paid for the entire race out of pocket. With a little creativity and a crew happy to sleep next to me in the hay fields we put together an amazing race for pennies to the dollar of the Pro riders. This year was amazing and as we look forward to next year we are seeking title sponsorship for the 2014 season. We look forward to finding the right partners that can share this experience with us. There's only so much one can accomplish as a self-funded athlete and we need your help to make the next leap and take that step onto the podium. Please contact me if you are interested in helping Team Hammerfest.