Introducing our PHenomenal Crew
How do you get across the United States safely in under 9 days? The answer is with a dedicated and talented team. And Team PHenomenal Hope’s crew is ready and up for this challenge.
Although you see and hear about the racers training for RAAM, what you don’t see is this really cool group of people, all coming together to share their talents and enthusiasm and belief in this cause of Team PHenomenal Hope. Medic, drivers, navigators, team cook, strategist, mechanic and the leader of them all, the crew chief. Actually, compared to riding one’s bike, crewing RAAM and organizing the crew for RAAM is a lot more complicated.
Enter our Crew Chief, Kate Bennett. You’ve met her before, but might not know what a crew chief actually does. Imagine organizing 4 racers and 13 crew members to get prepared, get out to California, then know what to do to get the team across the USA. This means knowing the RAAM rules from front to back so our team makes it without time penalties. This also means having the final call on when to pull a racer early or pushing another racer further.
And then factor in the need for crew members to have shifts for sleep, while still keeping the caravan of 2 minivans and an RV continuously moving across the USA, rotating racers and crew members in shifts from the refuge of the RV into the hot zone of the race itself (bikes and support vans). The riders’ rotational schedules are one thing, the crew schedules are definitely a higher level sudoku. And where do you find gas in the desert? And food, and so on and so forth? What makes Kate the perfect person for this role? So many reasons, so many talents. She has the dedication and drive, a no-holds-barred approach to organization, and a detail-oriented methodical planner, but she also is our “glue,” knowing each team member well, with an ability to connect with team members and crew. Kate possesses so many talents and these “intangibles” that will hold the team together as one as we make the crossing.
In these early stages she has also had help from her assistant, Peter Kochupura, a man with a passion for ultra endurance racing in general and signed on for the adventure wholeheartedly. With a not-so-secret passion for minivans (he just cannot hide it), he joined our crew has stepped into the role as our vehicles expert, lining up support vehicles and the RV, and helping to plan out how to get the team across the country. While the team trains regularly, Kate and Pete work just as hard (if not harder) on the nuts and bolts of this operation.
But our crew does not end there. Over the past several months we have been honored by people who have stepped up and signed on for this 11-day adventure across the USA. These people are logging vacation time to spend ~8 days in an RV, get by on little sleep, shower maybe every other day, problem solve and do whatever they can to get us across the country as fast as we can go. The adage “In RAAM, whatever can happen, will happen,” and this team is ready to meet every challenge that comes our way.
Meet Cathy Kessinger, Ryann Beidlingmaier, Patricia Carlson, Greg Flood, Evan “Soupie” Robinson, Tom George, Beverly George, Chuck Finder, Carol Moore, who have joined Greta Daniels and Sara Harper on this adventure. In the coming weeks, we will be feature more about these spectacular people who are Team PHenomenal Hope!