Vic Armijo / Flagstaff, AZ
June 16, 2011 7:45p.m. EST
When men second place rider Christophe Strasser reaches Flagstaff in the next few minutes, he’ll have pedaled nearly 536 miles since noon yesterday. Not a bad day on a bike, eh? We passed him just minutes ago and he looked calm and smooth—the guy has great pedaling form.
Hard-core RAAM fans know of Strasser, he’s that young and quick fellow from a 2009. “Two years ago I was really fast in the beginning,” he said a few days ago in Oceanside, “I had a good start and a good first three days. Then in Colorado entering the Rocky Mountains I got problems with my lungs. I got pneumonia and had to quit the race. My oxygen intake was very low and I spent four days in the hospital in intensive care. Now I am back to get to the finish. I am very focused and very motivated.”
In the time since his 2009 DNF he’s earned some top finishes, “I had very good races. I won the World Championship title in Ultra Bike and was second place in Race Around Slovenia behind Jure Robic. And I set a new record for crossing Austria” He credits his successes to a slight change in his training, “I pushed down the hours of training and pushed up the intensity. I tried to take care of my nutrition.” And to avoid a repeat of 2009 he said, “I am going to breathe through a mask so that dust doesn’t go into my lungs.”
So far he’s looking good. Just another 2,453.7 miles to go!