Carrie Ward is one of the members of the four person team heading to RAAM from Rolf Prima. We recently had the opportunity to chat with her about the different aspects of RAAM and the challenges the team will be facing, from training to logistics.
Since you started preparing for RAAM what has been the hardest part of the training?
The hardest part has been the weather here in Oregon. We are having a true Oregon winter which means I am NOT riding my bike outdoors. I am closing in on 2000 miles on the trainer since October. I did get to watch all 4 seasons of Arrested Development though.
We know you were invited to be on this RAAM team by Mike Bishop but what made you wake up one morning and decide to do RAAM?
Oh, this idea did not occur in the morning....it happened the way all really good ideas happen - we agreed to do RAAM after having a beer (or two). After initially declining Mike's invitation, I started thinking you know what? We are not getting any younger or healthier, and the opportunity to do RAAM with good friends probably won't happen again.
RAAM is a huge undertaking and requires endurance. What type of ultra-cycling events have you done in the past?
I have done a couple of double centuries, a handful of Ironman triathlons, the ABSA Cape Epic 8 day mountain bike race and several years ago Brian and I rode across the country (self supported) 100 miles a day for 30 days.
While preparing for the more detailed parts of RAAM, what do you think the most challenging part of the course will be?
I think the east coast will be the most challenging. The hills in the east are really steep compared to out west. Apparently they didn't know about switch backs when they built their roads. And we will be fatigued and sleep deprived by the time we hit those hills. Did I mention the heat and humidity on the east coast?
What are people's reactions to hearing you're doing Race Across America, an over 3000 mile bike race?
I've only told a couple of friend's. They just laugh and say "of course you are." Other than that, I haven't really told anyone.
Because RAAM is a multi-day nonstop race, how are you preparing yourself mentally and emotionally for this endeavor?
I am telling myself I will need to trust the crew to make good decisions, and I will need to follow their directions and advice (with minimal questioning). My main objectives are to eat, sleep and ride.
Throughout your training and preparations so far, what has been the most surprising thing you've encountered?
So far there are two things: 1. I thought Brian was the king of Excel spreadsheets, but Mike has taken over the title. 2. We did a team training in Sacramento a couple weeks ago. We practiced transitions and following a rider with a big van in traffic and on back roads - it seemed pretty sketchy, especially when cars passed. I have a much better idea of the inherent dangers of this race - I am much more nervous about our safety during RAAM than I was initially.
We look forward to hearing more from Carrie as the days and weeks pass bringing us closer to RAAM - Race Across America.