Vic Armijo / Ulysses, KS
June 18, 2011
After spending the first couple of days trading the lead and otherwise staying within shouting distance of one another, a distance of over 120 miles now separates RAAM Solo Male leader Christoph Strasser (Austria) from 2nd place racer Marko Baloh (Slovenia). Your friends here in the Mighty RAAM Media 1 Van found Baloh mid-day between Trinidad and Kim Colorado.
Spend a few days on the road chasing RAAM racers and you learn to recognize them from a distance. Baloh for instance; look for a rider who is tall, thin, has long legs and has a smooth as silk pedaling form. He’s still exhibiting all of the above traits including the smooth only-thing-moving-is-legs form. Which is good. Seeing wobbling and pedal mashing in a rider like Baloh would be a dead give-away that the race is taking its toll. My guess is that the 44 year old Baloh realized that continuing to play cat and mouse with the 29 year old Strasser wouldn’t be wise, especially considering that the race hasn’t quite reached the half-way mark.
One of the challenges of RAAM is keeping the rider and crew motivated. Fatigue and boredom take their toll so a smart crew finds ways to relieve a little tension and provide some comedy relief. Baloh’s crew filled this important role today by standing at the side of the road doing “The Wave” for him as he passed. In past RAAMs we’ve seen crew members don hula skirts, clown suits and such. We’ve seen riders sprayed with Silly String and have seen them become the target of squirt gun assaults. And yeah, there’s a reason that the RAAM rule book specifically states that road-side nude dancing by crew members is strictly prohibited.
Next up on the agenda for RAAM Media 1 (after Andrew uploads his latest video) is to head up the road toward Montezuma, Kansas to catch Strasser. Andrew will shoot some video, I’ll shoot some photos and hopefully I can hold a microphone in Strasser’s face, or at lease a crew member's.