Day 5 RAAM

LEN DEDICATES HIS 'RAAM DAY 5' RIDE TO FINLEY.

On Day 5 of RAAM, Len cycled up Wolf Creek Pass and The Continental Divide at 10,857 feet in 95 degree heat.   He cycled 207 miles, averaging a speed of 13.5 miles an hour, and a Strava Suffer Score of 256.  The Strava Suffer Score is an analysis of your heart rate data. The more time you spend going full steam ahead and the longer you ride, the higher the score.  Len has cycled 1162 miles in 5 days.

Screen Shot 2017-06-18 at 8.15.44 AM.png
Pagosa Valley Panoramic

Pagosa Valley Panoramic

Len discovered that he needs at least 2 REM cycles otherwise he is BEAT. As he arrived in Durango, for the last 3 days he was not getting any sleep.  He does not remember how he stayed awake on the 3,000 ft descent flying 20mph downhill.   Len had a better nights sleep when he reached Durango and he felt recharged the next day (Day 5).  Len started off early this morning from Durango, Colorado onto Pagosa Springs.   He was cycling at 7,100 ft and the air was thin and he faced a headwind up the mountain therefore his speed was reduced to 10 miles per hour.  There is no shortage of motivation for Len to keep cycling as he is always thinking about the children that have fought cancer, are fighting cancer, and for the ones that have lost their battle to cancer. With little heat and the stress he is putting on his body - motivation fights against the metabolics, with trying to stay awake.

Even though the crew was working great together and finding their rhythm to work as a team, the morale was lower and Len could sense that.  There was a RAAM soft cut off for when riders should arrive at the Durango time station of midnight.  Len was behind and did not arrive until 3 am.  There were times that the crew was questioning whether he was going to DNF.  Even though Len was on track for the same time he was cycling back in RAAM 2012.  Some reasoning as to why Len was behind up to Durango; the RAAM course was lengthened to a century ride to Flagstaff, Arizona, and not factoring the extra distance into the schedule, the dry hot desert heat, altitude change, and mental and physical fatigue.  RAAM is called the World's Toughest Bicycle Race for many of the reasons just mentioned.  There were 11 seasoned riders starting in Len's age division (50-59), today only 6 remain at Day 5.  Len was not in his 'groove' until today when he shot up Wolf Creek Pass.  The crew was elated to watch this unfold, and see the cycling beast mode Len they knew, and just like that the morale of the team went back up.  Len shot up Wolf Creek Pass in 90 minutes, the crew thought it would take him 2.5 hours!  Len made his way to Wolf Creek Pass and 'The Continental Divide' at 11,000 feet. He made the climb at the hottest time of the day at 95 degrees. He could not use the 'sock ice packs' he used in the desert as the air is to dry in the Rockies.  Day 1 Len's weight was 188, today it is 182, and when the ride is over he will be about 175.

On Wolf Creek Pass the team meet the Iron Indian Motor Association group and they donated on the spot to Hopecam!  Thank you for the donation!

 

Also thank you to the Broach Family at Twin Pines Motorsports in South Fork, CO for making a donation!

John Silkers RAAM 83 & Len Forkas

John Silkers RAAM 83 & Len Forkas

Len had the pleasure of meeting John Silker today.  John raced in Race Across America in 1983. Crew Chief John Moore was handing bottles off to Len when Mr. Silker ran across the highway to inquire about the race and introduced himself and shared stories about his race back in 83. Len stopped and enjoyed a brief conversation and photo.

Len and Dave at Mexican Hat, Utah

Len and Dave at Mexican Hat, Utah

Congratulations to Len's friend Dave Viens winner of the 2017 RAW Solo Male ( 50-59 )! This was Dave's first solo ultra cycling race. His 'Team Green Beret Foundation' won the 4-Man 50-59 RAAM team relay in 2013.  Race Across the West started at the same location as Race Across America - in Oceanside, California and ended at Durango, Colorado. Dave is a friend of Len's whom he cycles with back in Virginia. Dave competed in RAW to raise resources for the Team Green Beret Foundation.  Congratulations to Dave Viens, what an accomplishment!

Len said 'how else can you capture stories of these amazing children while riding across the country and spreading awareness about childhood cancer and Hopecam'.

Len riding onto to La Veta, Colorado his last stop for Day 5 and a good nights rest.  He will need it after cycling in a 25mph headwind.