In my opinion, Day 3 of any journey is a telling day. It is the day when the adrenaline from the anticipation of the start begins to wear down and you start to feel the fatigue of the road. It is the day when you figure out what works and what needs modifying. It is the day you search for some constancy and a good routine. It is the day when you show yourself and the world just how you respond to adversity. . . Our day 3 was a long one but held within it were so many dimensions of the Team FARA's strength.
Having overstuffed the RV with food the day prior, Meir and I didn't have any shopping duties today so we stayed close with the team to be on hand as things came up. In being with the team for a longer time, the first thing I was struck by was how upbeat all of the cyclists were. Nobody whined about being fatigued. No mention of sleep deprivation or physical challenges from time on the road. Look in their eyes and you'd see a trace of the weary but look at their faces and watch them out on the road cranking up hill after hill and pull after pull and you'd be overwhelmed by their heart.
On Day 3, the guys finished up our time in AZ in the morning, spent the afternoon moving through UT all in time to start climbing in CO in the evening and through the night. Climbing in CO in the dark. . .traffic moving by you going at least 65 mph around turns, up climbs and just whipping by you on the descent. Look at this figure moving in the dark night illuminated only by a bike light, reflective tape and the lights from his trailing support car and you'd be awe struck by their courage.
The follow vans and RV crew have been right behind the cyclists for every turn of the crank- keeping some long hours to make sure the cyclists are safe and that the efforts on the road are coordinated (ie studying maps to be sure the work is shared between riders and that everyone knows the exchange points so that the effort keeps moving forward and wastes little time). They found that some of the shifts were extending too long and needed some modification. It took the day and a lot of flexibility and selflessness from the inpidual crew members to get transitioned to the new schedule. It was a challenging transition but the team really pulled together to cover the intense shifts of the day and get on a new rotation.
Sean sustained a minor injury around his eye that we needed to have checked out at a local ER in Durango....(no worries Mom...it happened in the safe confines of the RV while trying to wrestle a sleeping bag into its sack and he is OK with eye drops to treat it). Because we arrived in Durango (location of the medical facility) in the middle of Sean's on the bike shift, the crew chief took him off the course to get this addressed. This meant subbing John in on his rest time to keep the group moving forward. John rose to the challenge, and Sean immediately following his return from a 2.5 hour ER wait jumped into the rotation eager to get back and serve his team. When I left them around 4am this morning, John and Kyle had just finished their shift and Mike and Sean were about to climb to the highest point on the RAAM route. They started at an elevation around 7500 feet and were climbing to over 10500 feet. Watching the crew and the cyclists come together and cover each other, you'd be inspired by their teamwork.
You all feed us with you energy. Your notes, your postings, your well wishes, your eagerness to be on the route cheering the riders along. Keep up those kind thoughts and prayers for safe travels, health and energy. We really do feel it when we are tired. . . and it gives us the heart, the courage, and the inspiration to keep going.