Day 9 RAAM

LEN DEDICATES HIS 'RAAM DAY 9' RIDE TO KYLE.

Today Day 9 meant cutoff day.  If Len did not make it to TS35 by 4:19 PM, he would be DNF.  Len was NOT going to let this happen!  Len was cycling on 1 hour of sleep and biking through the day and night to reach TS35,  the next hard cutoff.  He was hallucinating and experiencing vertigo - on a 4 lane highway in Missouri!  Not to mention some of the drivers in Missouri were not the most pleasant to Len and his crew, and would show and shout at them inappropriate gestures as they zoomed passed him.  Len kept his bearings and stayed focused.  He thought of all the children fighting cancer, the children that have won their battle against cancer like his son Matt, and the children that have lost their lives to it.  He has a goal and he is ever so determined to get to the finish line. 

In Missouri there is no shortage of rolling hills.  Len had to go faster with as much power as he could pedal going down the hill, so the momentum would pull him back up.  On top of hallucinating, vertigo, climbing up and down steep hills, his knees are screaming in pain, he is mentally exhausted and now there was a detour on the way to TS35!  An additional 5 mile up and down with super steep pitch - oh and he had to meet the cutoff with this added gem!!  Len describes this situation like 'you are running a marathon, your almost done the marathon and then the race director comes up to you and says by the way we have extended the route by 5 miles and you have to run up steep hills, and you have to be there by 2 pm or you are out of the race'.

Len has been very focused and pushing through to meet all the cutoff times. He has been chasing down other competitors and passing them. Some of these competitors had a 50 mile lead on Len - and Len passed by them. Len's cycling is consistent to what it was 5 years ago at RAAM, and he is getting stronger as the race goes on.  Today he proved that again, arriving at TS35 2 hours before the cutoff time.  Len and the crew did it!  Everybody was stretched to their maximum and sacrificed a lot to get to TS35, and no one complained.  They had set a goal and they made it happen as a team.

Len got off the bike at TS35 and his knees felt like they were going to fall off his legs.  His massage therapist Matt worked on him for 2 hours as he slept, and he felt refreshed again, and his knees thankfully better. Len said that today was his most 'EPIC DAY EVER'.  He has never been tested like this physically and mentally before.  Next cutoff - the finish line in Annapolis, Maryland.

Len arrived at TS35

Len arrived at TS35

Made it to TS35!

Made it to TS35!

Len talks to his team after arriving at TS35.

Thanks to the fruit stand at TS35 for your donation to Hopecam!

Thanks to the fruit stand at TS35 for your donation to Hopecam!

The crew visited the restored Piasa Bird carving along the Mississippi River near the junction with the Illinois River.

'Selfie Time' with Len and his son Matt

'Selfie Time' with Len and his son Matt

Len Forkas RAAM 2017 - Photo Credit Race Across America

Len Forkas RAAM 2017 - Photo Credit Race Across America