Day One Tuesday June 8
Arrived safely in US for the Race Across America, amazing that even after 24 hours of travelling you cannot sleep. Woke at 5am re-packed and went to visit our Sharp Direct operation in San Diego. Very impressive and an interesting meeting. Back in the car to drive to LA airport to pick up the rest of the crew, which is where I am now.
The weather is and close and the clothing advice is to wear light coloured, loose fitting clothes; so Team Sharp’s skin tight black Lycra sounds like a good choice! Logistics start with a vengeance tomorrow. Let’s hope the bikes arrive in one piece!
We have teamed up with Zero, the US equivalent of the Prostate Cancer charity and they are running a Facebook campaign and other media activity throughout the race. This is a great chance to raise awareness and money whilst we are over here. Let’s see if we can hit the US in the pocket.
Day Two Wednesday June 9
Day two dawned bright and early at around 5am (jet lag still not over). Kit sorted again and then breakfast with the crew. Registration at Race HQ followed and a chance to meet some of the other teams in the race. The RAF boys looked pretty bling in their white kit (it’s the new black) and the 2 man team Velocity (firemen) looked fit and raring to go.
The bikes were built, the vehicles stickered and bike racks fitted. Safety compliance is a big issue in the RAAM and each team has to pass a full inspection before they can start the race. We then watched the start of the men’s solo race. These are the real hard men who are riding every one of the 3000 miles; respect. The weather in Oceanside was ok, around 80 degrees, but inland on the first day route it was over 100 at 7 at night!
The riders then went out for a ride in the afternoon; a 2 hour blast down the coast road to stretch the legs and get rid of the jet lag. There were lots of other riders out on the road and it ended up being slightly quicker than planned (all good).So we are all in good shape and on schedule. Having seen some of the competition we have got our hands full but that’s why we are here.
Day Three Thursday June 10
Another early start – about 5 30, jet again. Breakfast was followed by a crew briefing to set out the day ahead.A full pre inspection of the bikes and vehicles was carried out before the official inspection tomorrow.
The riders and crew chiefs talked through the complexities of day one as the first 40 miles are pretty much unassisted and we want to avoid any major problems. Adam and Karl will lead out as they are the most disciplined. Dan and I would just start racing from the gun….not good with 3000 miles to go.
We all split with different jobs to do; food to buy, crew chief meeting to attend, the last member of the crew to pick up from the airport and the riders to ride part of day 1. What followed then was like the opening act of Madame Butterfly as Karl and Adam appeared looking more like Geisha girls than bike riders. Karl had caught the sun the day before, and certainly wasn’t catching it today!
The ride was good, hot as we went inland. Adam had a problem with his saddle and emergency repairs were found in a dodgy motorbike shop; all part of the experience. Coming back to Oceanside was a stiff headwind which Dan and myself drew the short straw for.
Arriving back at the hotel we had a quick turnaround to be at the pier for the official RAAM photographs. The Rapha team kit is drawing admiring looks and is probably not helping our cause as I am sure expectation of our performance is higher than the reality!
Post photographs was a quick trip to the local bike shop for last minute purchases. Karl was going for a new look and has become obsessed with pink (aren’t we all). The compression tights look particularly good with shorts! The coach turned up late afternoon and so we are now complete. Vehicle inspection tomorrow and we are then ready to race: at last! The crew have done a great job all we have got to do is ride the bike!!
Team Sharp4Prostate are four self-confessed middle aged men – Paul Molyneux, Karl Chandler, Dan Broom and Adam Denton – who are to tackle this year’s 3000-mile Race Across America (RAAM) in a bid to raise £100,000 for The Prostate Cancer Charity.
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