It’s time to get down to some logistics: RAAM Crew

February 07,2013

RAAM Crew Seminar

Columbus, Ohio

February 2, 2013

How do you get Team PHenomenal Hope 3000 miles across the USA safely, going continuously 24h/day, start to finish in under 9 days? The answer is the CREW. The crew (~12 team members that include drivers, mechanics, navigators, etc) – led by our crew chiefs – are vital to making sure we make a safe crossing. And although the race is over a year away, it will require tons of planning and – well – our chiefs Kate and Greta have already started (even before this past weekend). 

So meet Greta Daniels, one of our Team PH crew chiefs, and get your first installment about the crew from her blog about their trip to the RAAM Crew Seminar.

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On Friday, February 1, Kate, Stacie, and I piled into my trusty suburu wagon and hit the road for Columbus, Ohio to participate in our first official RAAM crew seminar. This full day event promised to give us some much needed insight into the logistical puzzle that is RAAM and help banish a few of those pesky butterflies that have already begun to flutter in our stomachs.

The administrators of RAAM hold a handful of these special crew seminars in cities all over the US, so we were so grateful to have a seminar scheduled in our general area. Even though we had to drive three hours from our home in Pittsburgh, other teams had come in from cities all over the country and had to lay out quite a bit of dough to participate.  To make the trip even more affordable, Stacie’s good friend Maura and her family generously hosted our ragtag bunch for the weekend and welcomed us in true Ohio style.  I am still dreaming of the chocolate peanut butter “buck-eyes” that Maura and her girls made for us! Thank you so much Stacey Family!

The seminar experience itself was surprising.  Not because the information that was shared was so mind-blowing, rather how much of that information we felt we already had.  RAAM is a huge undertaking and requires an incredible amount of preparation, planning, and sacrifice to accomplish.  And I am not even talking about the riders! Sometimes I think they are the ones who have it easy.  All they need to do is ride their bikes, eat food, and get some sleep.  Sure, they will each be riding approximately 750 miles over the course of eight days. Sure, they will be sleep-deprived, tired, and physically worn out. But so will the crew.

Ever since Patty approached me about joining the crew for Team PHenomenal Hope, RAAM has been on my mind. The more I learn about it, the more I realize how critical the crew really is. The crew has to manage a complicated rotation of riding, sleeping, and eating for the riders, coordinate the rotation of three team vehicles, cook food, maintain and fix equipment, navigate the route, take care of team vehicles, and deal with any problems that pop up along the way (and they will pop up!).  Oh yeah, and they’ll need to sleep and eat according to their schedules too.  Our preparations are already in full swing: securing sponsorships and financial support, organizing logistics, and envisioning our perfect crew. Many of the teams we met at the seminar were thinking about these logistical questions for the first time as their summer 2013 races loom closer and closer. Considering our race doesn’t get under way for over a year, I feel like Team PHenomenal Hope is in really good shape.

When you hear Fred Boething, President of RAAM, talk about star teams of past races, he doesn’t spend that much time talking about the riders.  Yes, they were fast, fit, potentially national track champions from the land down under, but that isn’t the point that he focuses on.  When Fred talks about great teams, he is really talking about great crews.  Crews with precision, planning, and skill.  Crews that know the game plan and stick to their schedules, but have the flexibility and patience to pivot on a dime whenever a wrench gets thrown into the works.

This revelation has thrown new meaning on our team slogan, “It’s not about the race, it’s not even about the bike. It’s bigger than that.” Over the next year, Team Phenomenal Hope will be training hard, raising awareness for our cause, and preparing for an amazing journey across the United States. The success of our venture is so much bigger than 4 amazing ladies on bikes. It’s a team effort all the way to Annapolis. And you better believe we are gonna get there.

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