Vic Armijo / Rolling East in the Mighty RAAM Media 1 Van, somewhere in Indiana
June 21, 2011
Race Across America 2011 leader Christoph Strasser (Austria) is flat smoking! His current overall average is 16.05mph and he’s pulled a lead of over 150 miles on 2nd place Marko Baloh (Slovenia), who’s speed average is 14.9mph. While there’s still a lot of America left to Race Across, barring a sudden problem, the 29 year old is on track to not only take his first RAAM victory, but to also break the long-standing completed RAAM record of 15.4mph set by Pete Penseyres way back in 1986. So essentially, it could be said that Strasser is no longer racing against Strasser, he’s racing against Pete Penseyres!
Normally a RAAM rider's speed average will be slowing down a bit by this stage, but Strasser has actually speeded up, since yesterday when his average sat at 15.92mph. Meanwhile Baloh has a speed average of “only” 14.9
Penseyres, now 68 years old, visited the start of RAAM 2011 back in Oceanside. Pete still rides up to 400 miles a week and aside from having more gray hair and a few more facial creases, he looks about as fit as he did 25 years ago. “The ’86 RAAM was like the perfect storm,” Pete said of his record ride, “Everything worked. I tried a whole bunch of new stuff; the aero bars, liquid food, I had a disc wheel that year. Everything I tried worked.” Strasser has also enjoyed a fairly charmed RAAM. Aside from the heat in the California desert, weather conditions have been the best that this reporter has seen over the course of six previous RAAMs.
The Mighty RAAM Media 1 van is chasing down Strasser and will have updates on the Austrian later today.