Pre-RAAM 2015 days in Oceanside

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Saying goodbye to the kids in Birmingham, as I left for California. (below) These two kiddos put up with so much leading up to RAAM! They’re so amazing. Analise was super anxious about the race itself (see her reflections blog from the finish line experience), but as it turned out, they were so busy with friends and grandparents, they didn’t even have time to track the race daily. Before they knew it, I was surprising them by waking them up in their grandparent’s hotel room in Maryland to take them to the finish line. I think the time flew by for them, while there were moments and miles that crept by for me.


Finding a sweet treat from my sweetest girl on the airplane. I love Twix 🙂


{From Brian’s instagram… picking up the RV in LA!}


Sunday, June 14, 2015

A morning run that included dolphins! My two runs along the beach in Oceanside were definite highlights for me. I love exploring places with a run.


Finding my love at RAAM check-in in Oceanside! Brian’s comment about this photo from his post-RAAM blog: “We had no idea what we were in for.” No truer words.


Shopping. Wow. So many lessons in hindsight. More after the photo…

When it was all said and done, it barely fit in the rental car, let alone in the small RV fridge and cupboards. We had great expectations for food consumption. We had 2 vegans aboard the crew, including the crew chief, and we all desired to NOT eat very much gas station/fast food along the way. As it turned out personally, I barely ate. I was too tired when I came back to the RV after being in the follow car all day, and rarely found myself hungry, probably due to the stress. Peanut M&M’s, Coke, and Egg McMuffins were my main subsistence. We surely didn’t eat even one of the frozen chicken bakes, and they took up precious freezer space for 10 entire days, never being noticed. The Red Bull on the other hand… we should have had a few more cases of that. I wish I knew how much money in total we spent on Red Bull. {Funny memory coming in mid-Missouri when Luke gave Brian his first Red Bull…}


It was beyond awesome that my sisters, Anna and Kat (and Anna’s sweet 5-month old, Grayson) came to Oceanside to see my Dad, Brian and I off.  My sisters are amazing. {My Dad is amazing for putting up with 10 days and 3,000 miles of RAAM, but more on him later.} Sister support was crucial for me in Oceanside. My nerves were sky-high the whole time we were there, and they were so fun and encouraging. I’m not sure I would have made it to the start line without them being there.


Monday, June 15, 2015

Hanging out at the check-in and merchandise area, finding folks we know.


The background paperwork and pre-race check-in requirements were incredibly tedious. I said over and over that there’s no way we would have made it to the starting line without me. Copies of drivers’ licenses, proof of insurance, rental agreements, RV agreements.


And then comes the vehicle, RV and bike inspections, where they go through the rules list and your car. So stressful, as you are setting the stage with the officials as to how organized you are, and how well you follow instructions. By God’s grace, we passed our check-in paperwork and inspections on the first try. That was the last moment that the car and RV were neat and organized… it only went downhill from there.


Brian was invited to be a part of the pre-race press conference. That was a fun time! So proud to see my hard-working, hard-riding guy representing #TeamToone and all those behind us with his great smile and laugh.


Posing for the official RAAM photo.


This day before the race was crazy busy. After all of the above, we squeezed in a practice time of following him in the vehicle. There was so much to learn in such a short time.  Only my dad, Pete and I had followed him for any length of time. It takes full concentration by the driver, while the passenger focuses on the route book, and the third person takes care of getting bottles and food ready. Lots of hurry-up and wait. Frantic moments followed by exhausted sitting back and trying to anticipate the next needs. {I’d just like to point out that my HR and BP are up just thinking about this. It’s surprisingly exhausting and stressful to do practically nothing except follow a rider in a car.}


We also squeezed in a photo shoot with The Player’s Tribune. This was a crazy story. We thought the original email in April was a scam, as it referenced Derek Jeter numerous times. But it really is a website that was his inspiration, to tell stories of athletes from all walks of life. They interviewed Brian over email in early May, and we thought they had forgotten about it. But right as Brian headed to California, they got back in touch and wanted to send a photographer to Oceanside as they planned to run the story right as RAAM started. The article turned out great, and it was an honor to have them tell Brian’s story.


We ended this day with a fantastic meal at Macaroni Grill, where crew chief Wes had negotiated a discount. The chef and servers were so encouraging, and it was the perfect team dinner before race day.


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