Onwards and upwards all the way to Congress...

Monday 19 June 2017

36 hours past the start line and the team is riding high, literally.

The start of day two of RAAM 2017 has been all about the climbing for the riders.

Taking over the graveyard shift at midnight was the second 4-man section. Craig Preece and Andy Perrin on the uprights, with Rob Cromey-Hawke on the recumbent and Michael Swain on the handbike.

The focus was on getting through the Arizona desert and the temperatures were again as hot as the hill climbs, tipping 45C.

In the saddle the cyclists had two mountains to summit. The first, coming out of the town of Congress, saw Andy climb 1800ft in just 7 miles, overtaking three teams on the way. The reward came on the other side as he reached 45mph in the descent.

The final run in to the changeover stop had Craig cross Skull Valley with a 1100ft climb in just 6 miles.

Rob and Michael have been going strong too. Taking the ups with the downs as the undulating terrain and poor road surface took its toll. At one transition point team mechanic Don popped no less than five inner tubes while trying to change the front tyre in the blazing heat.

Water refueling and iced towel hand-offs on the side have helped to keep those in the saddle hydrated and racing fit.

The afternoon saw more climbs and long descents through the beautiful towns of Flagstaff, Cameron in to Jerome, where Josh had to slam the anchors on as the speed limit dropped to 10mph for the weekend shoppers.

For the crews who's turn it was to rest, sleep didn't come easy as the air con struggled to keep the RVs cool. Some large tarpaulins and a few solar showers freshened everyone up, in a Walmart car park as locals went about their grocery shop.

36 hours in and the team has clocked more than 700 miles, riding an average of more than 22mph.

As the Milky Way sparkles above us the next handover takes place in a pizza parking lot and we ride out in to the Navajo Indian reservation.

Next stop: Utah.

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