Category Archives: Crew

The RAAM finish line through Analise’s eyes…

A guest post from our daughter, Analise. She had to write a descriptive paragraph for school.

I was wet, soaked to the bone. We were waiting for my dad to finish riding his bike across the country! It was rainy and windy, but it felt sunny inside my heart! I shivered as I sniffed the salty air of the bay. I looked out into the bay of Maryland and saw the darkness of 6:00 am. I felt like I hadn’t seen my dad in years, but it only had been two weeks. I turned around to see my cousins waiting with anticipation for my dad to come around the bend. As I began to turn back, I saw my brother screaming and yelping with joy as he saw my dad. My heart started to race like I was the one on the bike. I ran and pulled out my phone and almost dropped it. As I went to start the video, a nice man led me right up to the finish line. It felt like an angel was carrying me to up to my dad. As I saw him come around the bend, the wind made the American flag slap against its pole. I realized at that moment God had a reason for everything!

A family moment to remember
A family moment to remember

RAAM 2015 Race Report

Race Recap
I took off fast after the long neutral section and got caught up in all the excitement of passing people and trying to make it through the desert as quickly as possible. I stayed well below my lactic threshold power, but perhaps this was the beginning of my battle with heat exhaustion. That battle would play out the next day, but first during the middle of the night I crashed in the uneven lanes construction zone between Blythe, California and Parker, Arizona. My front wheel caught on the rise between the lanes and went right out from under me. I hit my head hard and slid on my face and left shoulder.

After a quick check of everything on my bike and my body, I was up and riding again. Heading into Parker, Arizona Rob White caught up with me, and we rode together for a few minutes as the sun came up and the temp started to rise (very quickly). I was struggling and told him to go on. The temperature just kept on rising and rising. It was unbelievable. I stopped at a bar/lodge that was open at 9AM to use the bathroom and change kits. It was already 100 degF outside when Kristine took the picture below:

After another hour or so struggling in the heat, I knew I needed to get out of the heat. Our RV air conditioner could only keep the temp at 20 degrees below the outside air temperature. So it was still 90+ degF in the RV. Fortunately, in Hope, Arizona there was a gas station with good air conditioning. We setup a small cot in the corner of the store, and I slept there for a couple hours. I was off the bike for about 4.5 hours before continuing.

Continue reading RAAM 2015 Race Report

A word from the #TeamToone wife…

Several people have asked my perspective on this Race Across America adventure, so while I’ve got some rare downtime on my California flight to meet Brian at the start line, I thought I’d share some thoughts. (I wrote this Saturday… I’m now here and things are rolling!)

The littlest #TeamToone members!

This has been a roller coaster of a ride, and RAAM hasn’t even started yet! How we ended up here is a long story, filled with unexpected nudges from God.

I didn’t say yes to Brian when he talked about doing RAAM last year. I wanted nothing to do with it, actually, and told him he could do it, but I would not be organizing, planning, or fundraising. I probably wouldn’t even go along during the race. I had lots of misgivings. But God nudged me ahead, and let me know that He would be in this endeavor, in spite of my doubts. Along the way, when I have tried to bail and convince Brian that this wasn’t good timing or when I’ve been overwhelmed with financial stresses or logistics and started to get angry at Brian, God would send another brutally obvious sign that this was indeed His timing. He would also remind me that I didn’t say yes to Brian (lucky for him!)… I said yes to God. It might sound crazy, and I promise I’m not trying to over-spiritualize it. But you have to know that although I am Brian’s biggest fan, I did not just jump onboard the Race Across America with my full support.

That’s the summary of about a year to this point. If you’d like the full story, ask me after the race. Some of the ways God showed up still bring me to tears. I can stand with much more confidence in the uncertain moments knowing it was God who nudged me into this adventure, instead of Brian.

I might look like SuperWoman (and I did bring my Super Woman shirt to wear!), but I’ve gone through every emotion these past 6 months. The logistics are overwhelming, even for the most organized of people. And Brian and I are not the most organized of people 🙂 The expenses are monumental, but God has amazed me with provision. I have a busy job, and 2 very busy {amazing} kids, and Brian was riding 40hours a week or more in addition to work at Samford. As a family we’ve had to put up with lots these past 6 months. But this is an amazing undertaking – Analise and Josiah are super excited, though admittedly nervous. They’re going to track Daddy’s progress on a chalkboard map at home with Brian’s parents while Brian and I are gone. Then, they’re all going to be meeting us at the finish line in Annapolis, including my parents (my dad is on our crew!). We have a beach house booked in Delaware for the week after the race, and it will be an amazing family time for all of us to recover and decompress and celebrate.


The logistics and details of the past 3 weeks (combined with some work deadlines) brought me to tears multiple times a day. Life was CRAZY, including the end of school, a Girl Scout trip to Savannah, and Josiah’s birthday. In fact, if you’d seen me Wednesday or Thursday of this week, I would likely have cried if you looked at me the wrong way. But somehow, God prepared a very quiet Thursday, Friday and Saturday morning with the kids, where I checked things off the massive to-do list, we stayed home, snuggled and enjoyed being at home and together. I’m in a much better place now, and ready to get to Oceanside and dive into start line logistics with our crew. That’s not to say I won’t still shed tears between now and the finish line, but that’s part of coping for me. These guys are going to have to learn that quickly 🙂

Why am I going with him? That’s a valid question, as some coaches won’t let a spouse be part of the crew. But I know Brian better than anyone. I have crewed for his 500-mile Heart of the South race (also with my Dad. He’s amazing!). I can anticipate his needs, and when he shuts down, I will be able to help the crew know how to handle him. I am not a wife who will be saying “Wow – he’s too tired/it’s too hot/whatever, he should stop”. I know he’s incredibly tough, and I will be the one to encourage him to just keep pedaling, no matter how tired he is. I’ll remind him the car is right behind him, and if he falls asleep on the bike to please fall to the right (only kind of kidding. this happens more than you want to know during RAAM). I want him to get to the finish line just as badly as he does. Though I’m not looking forward to the sleep deprivation, the cramped quarters being the only woman in an RV with a crew of 8 other guys, leaving the kids for 12 days was probably the hardest choice. I couldn’t let Brian do this without me, though.

Having lived and worked there, we are both very committed to Nuevas Esperanzas and our friends in Nicaragua. That fact has given this lifelong dream of Brian’s to race RAAM much more meaning as he sets out to achieve it. Even more, I hope our kids have seen the faith story that God’s built in me during this whole undertaking. Every piece of this adventure has been colored by His grace, and after the Race Across America, that is the story that will endure for us.

“And God is able to make all grace abound so that in all things, at all times, having all that you need, you will abound for every good work.” – 2 Corinthians 9:8

Meet the Crew: Wes Bates (chief)

(Kristine posting…) Welcome to our first installment of Meet the Crew!  I am really excited to introduce the amazing people who have committed to do whatever it takes to get Brian 3,000 from Oceanside, CA to Annapolis, MD. We’re still finalizing the last couple people, but I will start the introductions with the anchor of our crew.

Wes Bates is a sophomore at Indiana University, and he will be our Crew Chief.  He grew up in Aurora, Colorado and started racing bikes in high school. He’s currently on the cycling team at Indiana University.  This past summer, he rode from Astoria, OR to Mobile, AL (3,400 miles) in 42 days with the Ride4Gabe fundraiser . He has a background in nutrition, fundraising, and event planning, and he is proving to be wise beyond his years. 

From Wes:

I am so excited to be a part of this adventure. I met Brian when I was finishing Ride4Gabe last summer. It is hard to not like the guy. In August, I told Brian that I would take the 2 weeks off to be on his RAAM crew. I didn’t think he had taken me seriously until he reached out to me in January of this year

Brian is the only person with whom I would to take on this journey. I have met with plenty of people [about RAAM], and they have all told me that Brian “has the goods” to be successful. There is nobody I trust more than Brian to get the job done. And hey, it will be nice to say that I am the youngest crew chief ever.

This is one of those experiences that you can’t turn down. I actually turned down a pretty good internship offer so I could make this trip happen. I know that this is something I have to do. Adventure calls.