RAM 2005 Journal

Day 3 - 6/22
Today brought an unexpected turn of events and it unfortunately ended with Urs having to withdraw from the race...but most importantly - we want everyone to know Urs is recovering well and will be fine! He suffered pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs) which caused oxygen depletion as he was ascending to higher elevations in Colorado. We weren't certain exactly what the problem was at the time, as he'd been experiencing congestion and a developing cough at lower altitude, but made the decision together with him to get medical help as the symptoms got worse. So as we approached the Pagosa Springs time station, we took him to the local hospital. From there, we learned the severity of it - he'd been riding at a 40% oxygen rate(!) and he was immediately flown by helicopter to lower elevation for emergency treatment. His condition then improved quickly, but he's being held overnight tonight in the hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico and monitored for any possible complications. We just feel so relieved he's ok now.

We want everyone to know Urs has been amazingly strong and courageous from the very beginning of this race - through the ordeal he faced today! He had an extraordinary performance the first 3 days that surpassed all of our expectations (even with limited oxygen!). Of course we all feel the disappointment, but we're just incredibly proud of him and what he accomplished this far. We feel lucky to have been part of this amazing adventure - and are all with him in Albuquerque tonight to nurture him back to good health. Where Urs goes...so goes the team!!!

Thanks so much to everyone for the tremendous support and encouragement through your emails over the past few days - we loved reading them out loud to Urs. It meant so much and helped inspire him to push so hard. We were all touched by it and extremely grateful!

So it's with sadness and strong reluctance that we say so long to the RAAM - but only for now...

Urs & Crew

Day 2 - 6/21
Just outside Flagstaff, AZ, and we need to apologize for the lack of information! Our computer connection to the Internet has been pretty much non-existent except for those few minutes when we're frantically busy with shift changes or taking care of and feeding Urs.

Urs started this morning from Salome, AZ after a two and a half hour rest stop. He was on the bike and gone by 7 am race time. He made up some serious ground on other competitors and currently sits at #12 out of 25 on the solo list!! Before he stopped, he was even ranked as high as #9!!

Urs is planning to stop for his second brief sleep in Cameron, AZ, somewhere out in Navaho Reservation land. It turns out that Cameron is exactly 250 miles from Salome. We took that as a sign since that's an optimal distance for him to cover today.

Day 1 - 6/20
The first day started out with sunny skies and great riding weather at the waterfront in San Diego. After a brief introduction, we were off on our parade route ride through San Diego, with a swing by the NBC studio for a live camera shot of us rolling past.

The parade was a 14-mile ride through San Diego - pacer vehicles perched at mile 14, ready to join up with the riders and begin the real race. All other support vehicles were sent on to El Centro, 124 miles along the race course.

Urs made it through his first day of desert riding, no problems, despite temperatures in excess of 105 degrees F! Some stomach upset kept his food intake low, but we kept his liquid volume high. We poured bottle after bottle of ice-cold water over his head, wrapped wet bandanas around his neck, and he wore a Camel-Pak filled with ice bags. The crew was also equipped with a spray pump to hose him down from time to time. Amazingly, the heat wasn't nearly the obstacle Urs was expecting. He came through in fine form, looking good, feeling strong, and not even sunburned!!

As we write this, we are just outside time station #5 at Hope, Arizona. Hope puts us 280 miles into the RAAM: far past Urs's expectations for the first day. No one is more surprised than Urs that he did better than he'd anticipated.

We are planning to spend the night in Salome, AZ, at race mile 287. "Mother," the RV, is already there, with half of the crew preparing for Urs's imminent arrival. When we arrive, he'll be escorted to the shower, given a massage and an icing, fed dinner and put down for "the night." In this case, the "night" will be a maximum of 1 ½ hours of actual sleep time. With only 12 days to ride 3050 miles, it's REM vs. the RAAM, and sleep time will be pretty limited. Urs plans to spend no more than 3 hours down, and no more than 3 ½ hours off the bike per 24 hours.

----- Prior to race start ----

Seattle, WA, 06/14/05, 9am PST
Less than a week to go.... I am spending my days with purchasing and shipping of gear and other last minute preparations. Every day I also spend an hour in the sauna trying to get accustomed to the heat which we will encounter. I am both excited and nervous. Tuesday morning I am being interviewed by the local NBC Station King5 and Wednesday we are flying down to San Diego.

Seattle, WA, 06/08/05, 6pm PST
I finished my last block of training over the last weekend. Rode two 150 milers and two shorter rides. After battling an ear infection two weeks back it felt good to be back on the back. I have logged roughly 7,000 miles since the beginning of the year. This needs to be enough to reach my ultimate goal: Become an official finisher of RAAM 2005 (i.e. a sub 12 day finish).

Now it's tapering time. Easy 30 to 60 minute rides and trying to keep all the logistics under control. Thankfully I can count on a great multinational crew. I have 10 great people from four countries supporting me on my ride: crew chief David Harris ('Papa Bear'), Chiropractic Sports Physician Mike Lewis ('Louis'), writer Bruno Abegg, PR person Shannon Perry, massage therapist Tamara Farley, massage therapist Julie Dillon, mechanic Warren Burgess ('Waz') mother of all mothers Amy O'Tooles, navigator Annie Parker and last but not least Chief Technical Officer Ken Barnes.

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