By Vic Armijo
CHILLICOTHE, OHIO (June 18, 2013)-- Christoph Strasser has been racing this 32nd RAAM on almost a fully liquid diet. While he’s had a few tidbits along the way "Just to make me feel like I’m eating something," he’s following a dietary plan used by many endurance racers. It’s quick, efficient, avoids most digestive issues and eliminates having to have the motor home close by for…obvious reasons. When asked a few days ago what food he’s most looking forward he smiled broadly and replied "A steak, the biggest that they have!"
It seems that the 18-ounce porterhouse of his dreams will not have to wait much longer. Barring a major failure on the part of Strasser, the Austrian will reach Annapolis some time tomorrow morning, possibly in record time. At his last time station arrival in Athens, Ohio Strasser’s overall speed average for the 2,612 miles he’d traveled thus far was 16.48 mph, well above Pete Penseyeres 1986 record of 15.4 mph.and may become the first rider to finish RAAM in under 8 days. But first Strasser must face the Appalachian Mountains, the cruelest section of RAAM that he has just begun, where after having ridden over 2,500 miles the racers are faced with relentless 150-plus miles of steep hill repeats on twisty rural back-roads dotted with farms and little else.
Even in the final miles of an apparent victory a rider of Christoph Strasser’s stature has tough times.
Last year Schoch used his small size and considerable power to pull away from Strasser, but this year he’s nearly 150 miles back and as of this writing he has been stopped for several hours. Meanwhile Dani Wyss in third is gaining on Schoch, with less than 30 miles separating the two Swiss riders. While its unknown what has caused Schoch to stop for so long there are two likely scenarios.
One: Schoch is having some sort of physical problem; cramps, stomach issues, overall fatigue and tendonitis are common maladies that affect RAAM riders this late in the race.
Two: Stopping may have been a tactical decision. With any thoughts of Schoch chasing down Strasser having likely been dismissed miles ago, he and his crew may now be racing for second place and are letting Reto get as much rest and recovery as possible before fending off Wyss.
Seana Hogan DNFs!
After having held the womens overall lead since day one (she was at the front of her age 50+ category and was ahead of the Under 50 category) late last night 6-time RAAM winner Seana Hogan called RAAM race headquarters to report that she was withdrawing from the race. She was still seven hours in the lead at that point, having reached El Dorado, Kansas. The reason for her posting a DNF (did not finish) are unknown at this time. However when she called in she indicated that a statement from her and her crew was forthcoming.