Race Across AMerica – Tales From The Lack of The Peloton

Janet finished the Race Across AMerica in good time. It took her 12 days, 3 hours, and 54 minutes to ride the 3016 miles in this single stage race. I can’t help feeling that watching the Tour de France will be a disappointment for me this year, having witnessed this race up close and personal. When Janet reached the podium, she graciously thanked our Crew Chief Bill and Logistics Coordinator, Kathryn for their all out efforts throughout this past year, to bring her dream to fruition. Indeed they all deserve a hardy congratulations for making this transcontinental crossing a reality.

But there are some unsung heroes who were a part of this race, and I think it’s right and appropriate to shine a light on these people who gave their all during these past 12 days. They are the Team Osprey crew. One might refer to them as “…and the rest” which is a shame, for without them there would have been no Team Osprey, and therefore no finish line. Remember, all of the following people were volunteers; there was no payment given to any of them, save the feeling of a job well done when Janet finished. They are Patty Jo, Tom, Kat and Greg.

Patty Jo (aka Snow Kitty) – Feeder, Navigator

Fun loving, upbeat, and silly when needed (to brighten our spirits), Patty Jo was the veteran ultra-distance woman of our team. She has been in so many different ultra-distance races, that it would be difficult to name them all. She knew exactly what to do when Janet suffered from saddle sores, and did not hesitate to step in as, well, crotch expert, when we needed it most (I think this is something that only a cyclist could truly appreciate). She also understood far more than anyone else, how and when to distribute Janet’s supplements throughout the day, and gave me much needed advice on how to deal with being in the Feeder’s chair. The feeder is a very important job, as this is the person who not only hands off food to the rider, but also makes sure the the nutritional needs of the rider are balanced well, and evenly distributed throughout the day and night. Her roadside antics kept Janet laughing, awake, and most importantly on the bike. I couldn’t imagine a better team member.

Tom – Driver, Head Mechanic

Logical and serious, Tom was a true backbone of the team as Head Mechanic. Janet’s bike were not the easiest to work on; as one of the mechanics, I know this for a fact. Her main bike was an old Lemond with a ceased seatpost set too high for her leg length, and an odd combination of componentry that would have been hard for the finest mechanic to keep tuned. But Tom made sure that Janet was always rolling and that the bikes were as good to go as they could possibly be. He was also an unwaveringly good driver, in spite of insanely long hours, and sleep deprivation. He has a great sense of humor, that I was privy to as his navigator for the first seven days.

Kat – Driver, Massage Therapist (aka @Katerpillar, on twitter)

I was lucky enough to have Kat as my driver for the second half of the trip. Charming, sarcastic and quick witted, Kat kept me laughing and giggling for days. The story that few knew about, was that she became very ill due to severe dehydration in the last 48 hours of the race. I drove about 6 miles for her at one point, at about 2:00 in the morning, but then had to switch back to navigator, as the section of the route became complicated through the small town of Clarksburg, WV. As her shift partner I watched helplessly as she struggled to finish her last shift, which consisted of 26 hours of driving, with only one hour’s rest. I am beside myself in awe of her performance, as she buckled down and hid her extreme nausea from Janet, to keep the team moving forward. She is truly a gem.

Greg – Driver, GPS Tracker (aka @watchmyrace on twitter, and owner of http://www.WatchMyRace.com)

Greg brought a warm and calming influence to the team in the short time he was with us. He has been a “twitter friend” of mine for a while, but this was the first time I’d had a chance to meet him. He was only was us for the first five days. Unfortunately, I had little time to get to know Greg, but in the little time I spoke with him, I realized that he is a very cool individual. I find it interesting how you could tell that about him, just from twitter. An Ultra distance athlete in his own right, I’m sure he has many interesting stories to tell. Greg had broken his hip not very long ago, so for him to come out at the last minute, and do an extraordinary amount of driving for us was beyond kind; I can imagine that was physically uncomfortable or even painful, but apparently he never complained. Over a quick lunch at the airport lunch we discussed the Furnace Creek 508, and he has agreed to be one of my crew, so I’m happy to say I’ll have a chance to work with him over the course of the next few months.

Lisa – Navigation Specialist, Feeder (aka @girlmeetsbike on twitter, http://www.girlmeetsbike.com)

Hey, dassa me!!! It would be impossible for me to say objectively how I influenced the team, so I won’t even try. I will say that I tried my very best, to do whatever I could to keep us moving forward. This included a very rare singing performance while hanging out of the window of a moving van, to keep Janet awake at 2:30am, when the sound system went. My utmost apologies go to the citizens of West Virginia, but I suppose we do what we must.

Congratulations to this amazing set of individuals. I hope your roads are as well paved as you wish them to be, and tailwinds all the way. 🙂

from right to left: Janet, Bill, Tom, Kat, and Kathryn

from right to left: Janet, Bill, Tom, Kat, and Kathryn

with the help of her crew, JAnet completed 3016 miles in 12 days, 3 hours, and 54 minutes

with the help of her crew, JAnet completed 3016 miles in 12 days, 3 hours, and 54 minutes

Patty Jo and Janet hang for a moment before the race

Patty Jo and Janet hang for a moment before the race

Bill and Janet, before the last 50 miles

Bill and Janet, before the last 50 miles

Kat cheers on Janet

Kat cheers on Janet

Tom in Beautiful Monument Valley

Tom in Beautiful Monument Valley

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