June 20, 2011 8:07p.m. EST
The Mighty RAAM Media 1 van rolled in behind 5th place RAAM male solo Mark Pattinson this morning somewhere between El Dorado and Yates Center, Kansas. In spite of the howling wind Pattinson was making good time and didn’t want to stop for an interview.
Fortunately his very accommodating crew took me into the follow car where I was able to interview their rider over his radio headset while we traveled down the road. It was impressive how well he was able to talk while answering my questions.
So far his race has gone very well, “Other than a few hiccups on the whole I’m pretty much on schedule,” Those “hiccups” was a bout of nausea, “I got sick on day two in the desert. I couldn’t keep any liquids down. But I had to keep moving. I was off for two hours, but it wasn’t too bad. It was a little bit scary. I wasn’t quite prepared for it.”
And so far he's escaped any signs of the dreaded “Shermer’s Neck” that ended his 2010 RAAM, “Last year it came on around Greensburg (Kansas). We fussed around with different braces. But the following day it was just getting so bad. I couldn’t even lift my chin off my chest. I thought it was too dangerous. So far so good this year. I feel very comfortable and haven’t had any problems.” I told Pattinson about Herman Bachman, the age 50+ racer who had his 2009 RAAM defeated by Shermer’s neck, and how Bachman told me of doing neck exercises with bungee cords attached to his helmet while he pedaled his trainer. Pattinson laughed at the suggestion, saying “I’ve done neck exercises, but I haven’t done multi-tasking! I just spend about ten minutes doing them before I begin my training session.” By the RAAM leaderboard (http://www.raceacrossamerica.org/raam/rcrank.php?s_N_category_group=1&s_N_Race_ID=1) we see that Pattinson is a good distance from anyone. Asked when he last saw another rider Pattinson again laughed and said “Good question. I saw…oh back in Arizona maybe. No, I haven’t seen a solo man since back in California. I’ve seen David Jones.” And he’s fine being alone and riding his own pace, “I don’t want to get involved in a head to head battle,” he said, “That would be the death of me. I ride, I recover, I ride, I recover again. Because of that I’m not the best rider in the middle of the race or the beginning of the race. If I keep doing that I’ll be in good shape. I’m still on target for my nine days. So we’ll see.”
With that I bid Mark good bye and turned to speak with his crew in the follow car. While Pattinson is listed as an American, he has a distinctly British accent. His crew told me that he’s been a US citizen for a few years, and that his work brought him across the pond, “He’s an ex finance guy,” one said. Forgetting that I was still wearing the team’s communication headset I joked “A lot of those ex-finance guys are doing time,” and Mark chimed in with “Well, I’m doing time out here on the bike.” Indeed Mark, indeed.