In Doing So, Becomes First Rider to Finish in Under Eight Days
By Vic Armijo
ANNAPOLIS, MD (June 19th, 2013)— Christoph Strasser has earned his 2nd Race Across America win, reaching Annapolis this afternoon in a record time (pending certification) of 7 days, 22 hours and 11 minutes with an overall average speed of 15.56 mph, thus becoming the first rider to finish RAAM in under 8 days. He has also broken Pete Penseyes’ record of 15.4 mph average speed set back in 1986, "It’s so great I can’t even realize it, because the record—it was from back in 1986 when I was just 3 years old," Strasser said minutes after crossing the finish line, "It is unbelievable for me because I was not planning doing this record before the race. I was just trying to be as fast as possible. When I was thinking that it can be possible if everything works out, but it was not my concrete plan to do it. So I am really surprised that it has worked so nice."
During his post-win stage appearance at the finish, RAAM owner Fred Boethling called Penseyres on the phone and held the phone to the stage’s microphone, "Christoph you are awesome! That was the most incredible cross country ride ever," Penseyres said in congratulating the man who had just broken his record. Asked how it felt to have his record broken, Penseyres replied, "I’m glad he did. He’s a worthy champion. I’m just so happy it worked out for him this year."
As for the Reto Schoch, the man burst onto the scene last year with a dominant and surprising win over Strasser, " I knew that he was my main opponent and knew that he’s a good finisher like last year. And we also had some personal things before the race—I don’t know what to say—we are not friends. When I found myself after just three minutes I thought ‘That’s not going to be a good start for him.’ Then a few hours later he was stopping in the desert, and then I was passing him and from then on I never saw him."
When asked to name the most special moment in the race, Strasser shook his head and quickly replied, "There are hundreds of them, there is not just one special moment. There are clear skies in the desert, there is a special atmosphere during the night rides in the Rocky Mountains. There are the good feeling within yourself and there are the hard times. These moments are why I do this." Also special is the crew and the obvious bond and camaraderie among them and with Strasser, "My crew is great!," he said with great enthusiasm, "I am always trying to have a crew that are good friends altogether, which are having a lot of fun, which are enjoying the race and supporting me. I think if you don’t have that it can become complicated."
Strasser’s eyes are a little sunken, he’s quite a bit darker than when he began and could use a shave, he otherwise looks quite good physically considering how he’s spent the past week, "I have bit of problem with the feeling in my toes," he said, "I am not standing very stable. My voice is not good because of the air and the different temperatures." While last year at the finish his hands looked more like talons and it took weeks for the numbness to subside, this year they look quite normal, albeit bearing callouses and sunburn, "They are better," he agreed at this assessment, "But they are not good. There is not so much problem this time." The one injury he has is a very slight scrape on his left knee, "That was this morning," he explained, "It was wet, it was raining, but luckily it is not so bad."
After his podium appearance he signed some autographs, reported to doping control and was soon on his way, saying that the next 12 hours will consist of "…a lot sleep and rest and a lot of eating," including that big steak that he mentioned a few days ago. "Yes, a big big steak," he said with anxious eyes, "The biggest that they have here. Do you know a place?’