June 22, 2011
While Christoph Strasser continues on through west Virginia, exciting things are happening behind him.
Somewhere before time station 41 in Oxford, Ohio, Alberto Blanco (USA) moved past Marko Blanco (USA) to not only take over third, but to also pull a 24 minute lead over the Slovenian. Blanco has rallied the support of RAAM fans for his tenacious ride, in spite of his having to wear a head support to counter severe “Shermer’s Neck.” He’s now just 22 minutes behind 2nd place Gerhard Gulewicz (Austria).
And not to be overlooked is Chris Gottwald (USA) in 6th. Gottwald was 4th in 2009, earning RAAM Rookie of the Year honors. He was up near the leaders in the very early miles of RAAM 2011, but then settled into a pace that saw him drop back as far as 12th in Arizona, “We’re running a pace race,” said Gottwalad crew member Tony Giovinazzi, “A lot of the guys went out hard and fast. Now they’re all coming back to us—it’s not that we’re catching up to them.” If Gottwald is indeed wants to at least match his 2009 finish, with less than 700 miles to go, things need to happen soon.
Aside from a flat on day one, less than 50 miles in to RAAM 2011, Chris Gottwald's luck has been mostly good.