RAAM 2012 – Day 1 – California
Allan Duhm – Saturday, June 16, 2012
Team Sarcoma by Bacchetta has joined the other relay teams in the Oceanside staging area, awaiting introductions, the 3-2-1 countdown, and the inevitable “GO” command which starts our clock. There is no “pause” button on RAAM. There are no “time-outs”. There are no “do-overs”. Much like Tom Hanks told his lady players in “A League of Their Own”…”There’s no crying in baseball”. That would apply to RAAM a hundred times over. There’s no crying in RAAM!
Like water pooling, rising, and building pressure behind a newly constructed dam, day by day Team Sarcoma by Bacchetta has for eleven months been building toward this day, this moment, this challenge. The water has reached the top of the dam. The flood gates are about to open. Like a torrent of water through a floodgate, riders of all teams will surge from the staging area, following the brief serenity of the Oceanside bike path before turning inland in search of the California desert. Day by day, one by one, they’ll battle the states of America and their unique challenges. California and Arizona’s deserts and climbs, Utah’s Monument Valley, the Rocky Mountains, the Kansas plains, the Missouri rollers, the Mississippi River, the Illinois & Indiana farmlands, the undulations of the RAAM-loving state of Ohio, and finally the cruel, damning climbs of the West Virginia and Maryland Appalachians.
As much as the ocean daily cannot resist the pull of the moon, so to Team Sarcoma by Bacchetta will be relentlessly drawn toward our moon, Annapolis, Maryland. Riders will ride, drivers will drive, and crew will crew. Every second in every rider exchange will be critical. We’re ready, we’re prepared, and 3-2-1 we’re off.
Look on Google Earth and see the Oceanside Pier where every rider has strolled during the past few days to calm their nerves and to soak in the majesty and power of the Pacific Ocean. Note the Beach Recreation Center where the riders start. Envision them dropping down the temporary RAAM ramp, rolling south along the Pacific Ocean boardwalk for 100 yards as they pass in front of the Pier Plaza Amphitheater. They’ll finally pop up the very steep First Street beach access entrance ramp onto South Pacific Street. Photographers will be capturing their smiles and eager faces as they crest the top of the ramp, framed by palms on each side and the magnificent backdrop of the Pacific Ocean. Pomp and ceremony are now complete. The race that is RAAM is now officially ON. Team Sarcoma by Bacchetta has “chosen the obstacle as our path.” The obstacle is America!
Half of the team and most of the crew are now racing ahead to Borrego Springs and the California desert while two of our riders are hammering toward the High Sierras and Lake Henshaw, Time Station Number One. Then they’ll drop 3,000 feet down the Glass Elevator and into an inferno of desert heat. Towns out here have names like Thermal and Desert Palms. Parks have names like Anzo-Borrego Desert State Wilderness, and while there is a lake in the area, it is called the Salton Sea. You get the idea. The second shift will tackle the heat, while also enjoying the calm and cool serenity of the desert night. Look up. The stars are spectacular. No cities. No lights. No traffic. Just riders and their crew piercing the night in search tomorrow’s sunrise. Tomorrow brings a new day and new obstacles on our path. We hope you’ll follow Team Sarcoma by Bacchetta as we surge like the tide toward Annapolis.
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