...supporting the sport of cycling
TeamHolland's was training to compete in two incredible races. Well, that was the original idea many years ago.
First, the most grueling 508 mile race in America - Furnace Creek 508. The course covers roads less traveled, stark desert scenery, epic mountain vistas (35,000 vertical feet of climbing), the lowest point in the lower 48, and some of the world's finest cycling.
The second, the Race Across AMerica (RAAM) a 3,000+ mile bicycle race - "the toughest endurance race in America." RAAM has been an annual event since 1982. This incredible race starts from the Santa Monica Pier, California and ends at the Empire State Building in New York City. The race crosses some of America's most challenging terrain, including the Mojave and Arizona deserts, the Rocky Mountains, the wind-blown plains of Oklahoma, and the rolling hills of Tennessee. This race is about effort, determination, teamwork, and insanity.
Years ago, TeamHollands, entered the 1996 Furnace Creek 508 and finished a remarkable third place. The team was using Furnace Creek as a prelude and "trainer" to their entry into the RAAM.
The team returned to Furnace Creek in 1997 with aspirations of a top finish and acquiring the necessary experience to compete in the RAAM. We learned that there is a big difference between 26 hours of racing and six to seven days of racing. We finished second in our category after a heart pounding (mine was up to 189, 97% of max heart rate, more than a couple of times) 250 mile head-to-head, wheel-to-wheel race with Team Quail. They passed us only after their rider screamed down the back of Towne Pass at 60 miles an hour...in the dark!
We did learn a lot!
I learned to ride my own ride and that you can't always expect your body to cash checks your head writes...oh well! Our team logistics were getting better. Other than buying way too much food that didn't get eaten, we were very organized. A BIG difference from the previous race where we lost a motorhome in the soft dirt at 3:30 am and couldn't find anything until the day after the race.
In 1998, we rode again. Perhaps our best effort and my last. At 49, I no longer needed to prove anything, well, at least not in this particular arena.
As we get older and smarter...OK...older, we've decided that RAAM is a bit much. So instead, we were looking at a leisurely 150 miles a day for three weeks to cover this great country of ours.
In 2002, Jeff looked at taking eight weeks during the summer to cross America, and I looked at other distractions to keep me healthy and sane. As much as I think riding across America would hold great significance, it does not fit into my plan for life.
I look back and love the fact that I can look back, but I would rather look forward, actually, I would rather see the beauty of the moment, with periodic views backward and forward.