Monday, June 21, 2010

FW: Great RAAM!

-----Original Message-----
From: John []
Sent: Sunday, June 20, 2010 11:00 AM
To: Martin D.(Gator) Cochran
Subject: Great RAAM!

Kevin AND Crew,

Congratulations on an excellent RAAM. What seperates the great riders
from the others is that the great riders WORK THROUGH problems and keep
going. You are a terrific example of this. Well done!

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Friday, June 11, 2010

Rocking through Flagstaff

We crewed for Kevin from Gladden, AZ (middle of nowhere, only thing there was the Donkey Hotel and had an Adults Only sign...hmmm) to Cottonwood, AZ. Kevin got to Congress yesterday which is truly an oasis in the desert with a manned time station complete with kiddie pool. Kevin talked about the pool since the start and it was truly a welcoming reward. He wasted no time jumping in for 5 minutes, went down for his first sleep of 1 1/2 hours sleep after 26 hours of riding. He rode 360 miles his first 24 hours! Total time off the bike was 2 hours to get fresh clothes on and get him coated with 100spf sunscreen.

Some of you have asked what he is eating. He sort of stuck with his plan of consuming less solid food and less Ensure in the desert heat since that gave him some serious stomach issues last year. This requires him to slow it down a bit in the desert but it paid off in huge dividends. Stomach issues are hard to get through in the desert heat. Bonking can be overcome fairly quickly but he is consuming a fair amount of grape soda, endurolytes (electrolyte capsules), he ate a yogurt parfait, and we gave him a ice cream fruit bar before he left Congress. He's eating a lot of pickles and just keeping the soda flowing freely kept his motor running until it got dark. The temps dropped at sunset and he was able to start drinking Ensure on the rocks. The key to his fluids is keeping them over ice in the Camelback ice jacket bottles. He climbed Yarnell grade with ease even though it was hot. This part of the race last year was the low point and he certainly struggled a bit yesterday but had no severe issues and stayed on the bike. He had a 12 mile climb after the Yarnell grade and dance on the pedals. He got a treat with some Black Sabbath on the XM radio. I was joking with him and made sure to let the man know that was a reward for such a great ride so far. Last year we told him "no Sabbath until day 3" but this is a new year.

As we headed into Cottonwood, AZ for the crew exchange a RAW rider by the name of Mark Metcalfe came up to pass Kevin. Mark and Kevin are good friends and have raced against one another in the past. We actually passed Mark on the 12 mile climb and Mark caught up just to talk to Kevin. Racers are allowed to ride side by side for 15 minutes as long as one of the support vehicles stays behind them. We witnessed some serious camaraderie between 2 guys that really struggled for over 400 miles and they had huge smiles on their faces. This is truly what this race is about and is the spirit of RAAM.

Update- Just woke up here in Flagstaff and apparently Kevin came through while I was sleeping. Phil said he got a quick shower, 15 minute nap, and a huge McD's big breakfast. We also got word that he ate an egg mcmuffin 2 hours after that. This is great news since we got him through the hottest part of the race. What you will most likely see is Kevin getting his legs and moving up in the standings. He climbs well and should through the Colorado Rockies and is an ace across the plains of Kansas. This is the leg of the race he made up some valuable time and got himself into the race.

Keep your thoughts, prayers, and comments coming! You all rock and are putting smiles on his face.



Sunday, June 6, 2010


Some of the scenery towards the Lake Henshaw
Sent from my BlackBerry Smartphone provided by Alltel


Getting some fuel for registration.
Sent from my BlackBerry Smartphone provided by Alltel


Augusta crew members on the way to Atlanta and on to Oceanside for RAAM 2010
Sent from my BlackBerry Smartphone provided by Alltel

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

From the RAAM site

KEVIN KAISER: "I didn't leave a whole lot on the table."
Annapolis, MD
June 28, 2009

By Vic Armijo

Kevin Kaiser arrived in Annapolis this morning, posting a time of 10 days, 17 hours and 3 minutes. While he originally had a goal of something closer to ten-days even, that plan went by the wayside due to stomach issues that he suffered through in the first couple of days, "I got pounded in the desert pretty good," he said, "I lost a good ten hours there."

Somewhere out there in the heat of the desert, with his stomach in knots he recalled the rider introduction," Standing on that stage back in Oceanside with those 27 other incredible athletes, I had to ask myself, 'Do I really belong here?'" His answer to himself was a resounding "Yes." As he began to feel better his speed increased and, "And from then on we were just trying to claw a few minutes wherever we could."

Indeed. This reporter waited at more than one time station, hoping to get a word or two with Kaiser, only to see him roll by without stopping, "I wanted to avoid any unnecessary time off the bike," he explained, "We hurried in and out whenever and wherever we could." He kept a tortuous sleep schedule, getting only 3 hours of shut-eye a day, in two 90 minutes stints

Most RAAM riders will a recall that "funniest moment" of their RAAM experience. But Kaiser said "There wasn't anything funny about it! I had to focus for 11 straight days!" This isn't to say that he didn't enjoy RAAM, "I was impressed with all the athletes. We'd all help one another if we could—encourage each other, cheer and say nice things. Great camaraderie out there."

In the end Kaiser was proud of his achievement, "Anything under 11 days is fine by me. That's an average time for a rookie. But with those first couple of days…"

This is Kaiser's second RAAM in two years. Last year he teamed with friend Jeff Bauer on the 2-rider team "Gran Fondo Fixie," riding on fixed gear bikes. Ouch! While the two have no plans of repeating their coast-to-coast-no-coast feat, Kaiser did say that "Maybe there's some other crazy thing we can come up with to do."

And what of Kaiser coming back as a solo? "Maybe in a few years," he said with a chuckle, "I've been neglecting my wife a few years already. I think I'll need to take a nice vacation with her before I start talking about another RAAM!"

Monday, June 29, 2009


Now that I've had a few hours of sleep, I'd like to thank everyone for keeping up with my race. As you might expect, there were a lot of highs and lows.

Compared to other riders, I feel like I started the race in a conservative fashion. I knew from previous rides that day two of the race would likely make or break me. Those long hot climbs out of the desert didn't destroy me, but they left me far behind on nutrition. To recover, I tried to back down on speed. I went from having a 9 hour cushion on the minimum average speed to being 1:45 behind on the cutoff. I felt o.k., but I couldn't take in calories and knew my race soon would be over if things didn't change. I think I was the last rider on the road before things finally started to turn around.

Once I reached the Rockies I became a new rider, but the long climbs and need for sleep prevented me from getting comfortable on time. As hard as I rode, I never got more than about a 2 hours cushion over the minimum time. It seemed very similar to riding from control to control on a brevet when you're barely above the time limit. Finally, we crossed the Divide and started to get some nice tailwinds. Instead of relaxing, I pushed just as hard and started to get some time breaks.

As you might expect, catching up to other riders was nice. I got into a loose pack of 8 riders that lasted for several days. Whenever one rider in the pack would get a little ahead, the need for sleep would catch up to them and nothing ended up changing. It seemed to me that everyone in the pack was content to get 4 hours of sleep each day and just survive until the finish. At some point I felt it was necessary to make some noise and attack the pack. I started the assault by getting 3 full hours of sleep at once, which was something I had not done previously in the race. Then, however, I rode 22 straight hours with almost no time off the bike, slept 1.5 hours again, and then rode another 22 straight hours. It was enough to take a significant lead over the group.

During the race I became engrossed in position. The possibility of rookie of the year and 1st American finisher opened up. These are significant honors, and even if I thought I shouldn't be in contention for them, I was. I rode very hard and tried to get constant updates on the other riders. I had spent 15 minutes riding with Gottwald and knew he was a superior rider (much like Jock Boyer), but somehow felt like he didn't have any real interest in finishing high in the standings. He was getting 6-7 hours of sleep each night riding amongst the pack, but despite being the first person to every time station, he would take long breaks after arriving. I was also keeping a close eye on Ben Popp because I knew how fast he rode the Fireweed 400. Despite the media hype, I wasn't too concerned about Jim Rees because was neither a rookie nor an American.

I rode my heart out through the rest of the race. As soon as Gottwald woke up, he blew past the remaining field of riders and quickly made short work of me. I got a little satisfaction out of making him work at least a little harder for his victory. He's a great and humble athlete who definately deserves rookie of the year. I also have extremely high opinions of Daniel Rudge and Jim Rees.

The last 300-400 miles were very difficult. The crew would tell me that all I had was a 600k remaining, but this didn't make me feel any better. Every mile seemed like 3 miles and the climbs were never ending. I worked very hard to stay ahead of Jim Rees and knew he was close every time his crew's RV would pass me.

In the end, I finished feeling pretty good. My mouth is a little sore and my lip is bleeding from wind burn, and then I had to tape up my left achilles just before the finish. There's also a little bit of soreness in my hands from all the rough roads (which were plentiful during the race). Still, not too bad for 3,021 miles.

The finish was amazing. Standing on the stage with all those great athletes in Oceanside was very intimidating and had me feeling out of place. I don't think I would have ever dreamed of a 5th place finish at RAAM. It's now back to work. I hope with a little time that I'll be able to thank all of those people who helped make this such a successful race.