TBL Mechanic Daniel Wilcox is wrenching for Race Across America Team Green Beret Foundation. He is sending us updates throughout his adventure.
Dispatch from RAAM #1
Well, it’s finally here – flying out to San Diego this morning to meet up with Race Across America Team Green Beret Foundation – known as TeamGBF. This all started couple months ago – while installing Lowe’s storm door at new customer as part of my FT handyman job at Rick’s Handyman Services of Alexandria, I asked to use restroom and found it full of many cycling mags – so when I asked cust Dave Viens if he was cyclist, he gave me an odd look and just said – let me show you our garage – and hanging out there were about 20 bikes!!! So we got to talking…..Dave told me he was planning to do RAAM with a 4 man team. Last year I had followed Len Forkas on his solo RAAM with great interest – especially since my cycling buddy Steve G. was crewing! Dave asked me along that weekend on a 54 mile training ride, where I met the rest of the racers – Andrew Schaaf, Gino Elsa, and Dave Johnson. On the ride, I sort of jokingly asked if they needed a mechanic for their RAAM race – and after we all talked it over next day they asked me to join them! They are covering my flight but I am taking time off and wrenching pro bono.
Some of you know me from my being mechanic at the The Bike Lane Reston store!
Never in my wildest dreams did I think my passion for wrenching bikes would bring me this amazing experience…
Their team prep started last August when Dave V decided to do RAAM with no ultra experience – but had done couple 100+ mile off-road mountain bike races. He started gathering interest and scouting for others…it slowly morphed into current members.
Some of you may know of RAAM – it’s a true legend in the ultra-endurance bike racing world. It’s been going on for 30+ years. There is no prize money in this one – just the chance to race 3,000 miles and climb 170,000 feet!
Then the real prep and training started! Of course, many, many, MANY long rides! They are coached by Sue Hefler, who also coached Len Forkas last year. She helped lay out their plan.
Then there’s the crew, supplies, vehicles, travel,spare parts – it’s a FT job! We have about 13 in the crew, an RV which I will be working out of and helping to drive, a Mercedes Sprinter van, and Dave V’s Subaru which was wrapped by one of our sponsors. We have crew chief, nurse, nutritionist, masseuse, navigators, drivers – and only one mechanic! There are 8 bikes for primary racing – road and TT – and couple spares, along with several sets of spare wheels. The RV was donated and picked up in Phoenix. We packed the Sprinter van here with all bikes (I made a wood rack to hold them) and 2 crew drove out to Oceanside CA already.
Dave Viens is one of TBL’s big customers – since 2002 – probably one of our biggest…has purchased around 9 complete bikes plus huge amount of accessories, parts, and service! Big Trek fan! Andrew also rides Madones…They are all wearing custom Louis Garneau team clothing, primarily riding Conti Gatorskin Hardshell tires, using Light & Motion Urban 550s
Their plan is to WIN the 50+ team competition!!! Drafting is allowed for the teams if they want – but not for solo racers – but the plan as of now is 4 hour 2 man rotations where each guy will ride either 1/2 or 1 hour then switch – day and night (with headlights!). We won’t be sleeping much I don’t think. As you might imagine, this is a daunting plan…how would you feel having to get up at 4am to ride down a mountain pas in the Rockies at 40 + mph where you will drop the chase vehicle cause the road is so narrow the car can’t keep up? Or in Kansas seeing a flat road ahead that seems to stretch forever – and there’s a 25 mph constant headwind? But these guys are very well prepared, very positive and might really win!
We will be using Delorme satellite based tracking units that will never lose signal – you can follow at
Some family members of the Green Berets who have lost loved ones will meet the team along the route. We also put together a 20+ page color booklet with stories from these families we have made copies of.
I will post here hopefully each day, with photos.
Wish us a safe and fast race….
The Race Across America Team Green Beret Foundation Team: