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· Large blurry non-mythical
1,275 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
By Vic Armijo
Camdenton, Missouri

While no one is even in the same state as Jure Robic, he continues to keep pace as if he had someone breathing down his back. Yesterday I once again spent most of the day chasing him. I know I’ve said it before, but it’s still amazing how hard it can be to chase a rider like Robic. His speed average so far is just less than 15 miles per hour. While we travel at highway speeds of 65 miles an hour or more, he basically doesn’t stop. So if I stop to sleep, eat, etc. and get going eight or ten hours later, he’s 150 miles or more up the road AND, he’s still keeping that 15 mile an hour speed, so I’m chasing a moving target.

Throughout his RAAM career Robic has rarely stopped at Time Station unless it was required. When he does stop, to eat, change clothes, etc. it’s usually beyond a Time Station or in some random place where he can be taken care of in relative privacy and not be delayed by fans. That has changed in the past couple of days. With a comfortable margin afforded him by a 12 hour lead, he has taken to stopping and enjoying himself a bit. For instance, I was told that at the Time Station at the McDonald’s in Pratt, Kansas, he stopped, had a hamburger and an ice cream and spent several minutes meeting fans and posing for photos. The Time Station workers at Yates Center, Kansas, told a similar story. At Fort Scott he did much the same and even took time for an interview for the local news.

Yesterday I caught up to him just outside of Camdenton. I passed him and waited at the Time Station where I found his auxiliary crew ready to give him their now standard road-side salute, complete with Slovenian flag. “Is he stopping?” I asked, and they all shrugged, unsure. But as he approached crew member Matjaž Planinšek called out to him
“For public relations,” and Robic nodded and promptly pulled in. He stopped, and was helped off his Scott carbon fiber bicycle, then promptly sat down to take off his shoes and gulp down a cold Coke. As his crew wiped him down fans’ cameras clicked away. I chatted with him as he enjoyed a Dove Bar ice cream.

I hadn’t spoken with him since the night before during the lightening storm in Kansas.
“I had never seen something like this before,” he said, “Very exciting. I enjoy watching. I heard that it was dangerous time for tornados. So when no tornado, I think everything is okay.” I told him that it wasn’t okay and that we were very afraid for his safety when he continued to ride as lightning struck all around., “It was first time my experience, and I didn’t know that,” he said with a shrug. So, it seems he didn’t know to be afraid. Okay.

With such a lead no one could blame if he slowed down some, yet he continues to keep pace as if second place was right behind him. “Go slower? NO! RAAM is not finished until the finish line,” he said, “I’m not thinking about how much advantage I have. I ride my own race. My pace, I am capable. In the past that’s what pace is good for me for results. So why should I change now? “But would he perhaps enjoy his race more if there were another rider nearby, I asked. “No,” he said with an emphatic smile, making clear that total domination is the only way for him.

Throughout our talk, he was downing a Dove Bar ice cream. One of my favorites that I know is very rich, very high in calories. I asked if that’s something normally in his diet, “Well, I am a professional athlete. And I eat proper food for a sportsman. Eating ice cream? Of course it’s very hot and in RAAM one burns a lot a lot of calories. So it doesn’t matter if I eat some ice cream or some hamburgers or something, you know. I need the calories.” So there you have it, all you have to do to enjoy your favorite decadent dessert is ride your bike 300 or so miles per day. Easy. Of course that also means that you’ll only sleep an hour and half a day, but hey, we’re talking Dove Bars here.

Robic finished his snack, called for his bike and in moments was rolling off again. Crew member, Planinšek, who speaks excellent English, was back with Robic’s motor home. So I chatted with him for a while. “He knows the only serious competition was Gerhard Gulewicz,” he said, “We were not afraid of him but he was certainly serious competition. But now, he is so confident and he is feeling good. Everything is going smoothly. There is no sensible reason that someone could catch him. He can not be beaten by competition but only by himself—an accident, getting sick is only way. Why not stop at the time stations? If someone wants to take a picture of him, he is a celebrity for those guys at the time stations. So why not? They are coming like two hundred miles into Pratt, Kansas to watch him. So he should just take off? No. He stop. Take pictures, have a burger and an ice cream and then we went on. Everybody is happy. It’s a big promotional tour you could say, but it’s still a race. More than a thousand miles left.”

LOSE THE SHOES! Bicycle racers are generally very particular about their cycling shoes. They look for fit, comfort and performance. But even with the best shoes it sure feels good to take them off when riding on a hot, humid day in Missouri.

· white trash
83 Posts
we (my kids and I) have been following the race off of the site as well as here. we picked out favorites as they were coming through our small town and are cheering them on from afar now. it is so heart wrenching to see these people suffer the way we know they do. My favorite guy we saw was Franz Preihs who took the time to give the kids a wave and a smile and looked like he was having fun. So sad he broke his collar bone but what a stud to keep with it. RAAM is just a huge inspiration to us and as the laggers are still coming through we find it hard to tear ourselves away from the road in hopes of bolstering someones hopes of making it.
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