• Posted Jun 25, 2012

RAAM Team #T800, aka "Above and Beyond Cancer" is an 8-Person team who races 2993.24 miles in 6 days 21 hours and 17 minutes while averaging 18.11 miles per hour.


BIKEIOWA congratulates EVERYONE on the team - the riders, the support, the coach, the families and the medical staff! JOB WELL DONE!!

This race means so many different things to so many, but for this team it was about Cancer. What Can YOU Achive?

Let's welcome them home with a BIG Celebration!



WHAT: This is a welcome home celebration for the "Abov e and Beyond Cancer" Cycling Team who just "Strongly" completed the toughest race in the world - The 2012 Race Across America (RAAM)



Race Across American (RAAM) is one the most respected and longest running endurance sports events in the world. It is seen as a pinnacle of athletic achievement in amateur cycling circles and the greater sporting community as a whole. The event begins in Oceanside California and stretches 3,000 miles to the finish line in Annapolis, Maryland, while climbing more than 170,000 feet along the way. The course is 30% longer than the Tour de France, yet racers are required to complete the distance in roughly half the time allowed for the Tour.
The race inspires everyone who has been a part of it – racer, crew, staff and fans alike. It is a true test of speed, endurance, strength, organization, and camaraderie! There is no race that matches the distance, terrain and weather, and no other event that tests a team’s spirit from beginning to end.


This summer Above + Beyond Cancer will field a team of cancer survivors and professional cancer caregivers in the 2012 Race Across America (RAAM). The eight-person team will ride 3,000 miles across America in seven days. Members of the team represent five different types of cancer and an age span of 29-65. Each of the members are racing not in spite of their cancer, but because of their cancer. In finishing the race, they will have overcome unbelievable odds while proving that there can be deep meaning and fulfillment in reaching for a goal that is just out of the reach of what is knowingly attainable. The team will then use their story to create an exciting backdrop for a multi-platform cancer advocacy campaign that will begin this fall


The Coach

David Ertl is a licensed USA Cycling Level 1 (Elite) Cycling Coach and a certified personal trainer through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). He enjoys sharing his years of training and racing experience and love of cycling with recreational and competitive individuals and teams. David offer training plans, ebooks, training articles, and in-person and distance cycling coaching and would be happy to talk with you about achieving your cycling goals, whatever they may be.

David Ertl
USA Cycling Level 1 Coach
JDRF Head Coach - Western Division

The following are a few communication texts to the riders and support from David:

Passed through TS32 in 19.91 mph. Overall average is just over 18. We are holding steady despite 2 more flat tires. That's four since I arrived. Either it is me or Missouri's fault. I vote for Missouri.

Weather here is perfect. Clear, cooling and slight tailwind.

It's all downhill from here, albeit very gradual.But no uphills for about the next 24 hours. You aren't in Kansas yetToto but it sure looks like it. Should be good rolling but its hot out there. Everyone keep your cool, in more ways than one :)

Just focus on keeping it steady. You are eating up the miles. 1790 to go. You will be halfway sometime later today! Can you believe that?

The teams are starting to get spread out. A&BC is in 14th place. 13th is about an hour ahead and 15th is more than an hour back of you now. But your race is about something else - cancer! Don't forget that.

The team just flew through Walsh, CO. Of course it didn't take long. The whole town could fit inside the adjacent crop circle. In case you don't know what those round things are, they aren't giant pacmans, they are center pivot irrigation circles.

I think there must be a mistake. The speed for this last leg says 26.99 mph! Can that be right? The average speed has moved up to 18.02 mph. Don't burn yourselves out guys but hopefully this is right and you are catching a tailwind. You have a long haul so stay within yourselves.

Chew up those miles but stay safe and stay hydrated.

You are just about to cross over into Kansas, maybe you are already there the rate you are traveling. Kansas is more of the same - slight downhill for miles and miles.

Mid-week Update from Dr. Deming

Race Across America, the world's most challenging bicycle race, began for our
Above + Beyond Cancer team on Saturday morning, June 16th on the pier
in Oceanside, California. The start of the race is a combination of celebration,
anticipation, fellowship, and, of course, competition. Our team also has a higher
purpose. We're comprised of 8 cancer survivors and caregivers who have come
together for this grueling endurance bicycle race to demonstrate that cancer does
not have to place limits on one's aspirations. We also hope that our participation in
this race will inspire and motivate people from coast-to-coast to join us in our real
mission - helping to create a world with less cancer.

The Race Across America (RAAM) is in its 31st year. The bicycle race will continue
non-stop, 24/7, for 3000 miles. The finish line is in Annapolis, MD. We hope to
complete the race in less than one week as we pedal through 12 states, across
deserts, up mountains, and over plains. We will have to do it fast enough to meet
the speed requirements of the race. If we don't maintain a fast enough pace, we will
be sent home for being too slow. We understand the requirements. This is bicycle
race that we've entered, not a cancer survivor bicycle ride.

Our team is amazing. We have 5 cancer survivors, age 29 to 66 and 3 cancer
caregivers. Our team is comprised of 6 men and 2 women. We have survivors of
tonsil cancer, prostate cancer, leukemia and two breast cancer survivors. It's a
group of individuals that have never competed in a bicycle race of any kind, let alone
the most demanding bicycle race on the planet. They are on this journey not in spite
of their cancer. They are on this journey because of their cancer and the courage
and confidence that they gained during that journey. Drennan, Sarah, Gail, Brandon
and Bobby are truly the heart and soul of this team. Each of their stories will be
featured individually as the race progresses.

On Saturday, the race began under cloudless skies at the pier overlooking the Pacific
Ocean. There are over 350 cyclists from 36 countries competing in RAAM this year.
We're one of 18 eight-person teams in the race. Although there are eight cyclists
on the team, our entire team is also composed of a 12-person support crew that
will ensure that the cyclists are safe on this cross-country race. They will feed us,
water us, and drive the RV and support vans that provide us safety and shelter as
we race to the finish line. They are as important as the cyclists. Our crew includes
2 cancer survivors, Corey and Justin, and many individuals whose lives have been
touched by cancer in very personal ways. They have dedicated this week to serving
on the team, not because they're bicycle-racing aficionados, but because they are
committed to our mission.

It's hard to believe that 3 days have passed since our race began. During those 3
days we have crossed the coastal mountains of California, traversed the deserts
of southern California and Arizona through 110-degree heat, scaled the Rocky
Mountains and descended down onto the eastern Colorado plains. We are currently
pedaling across Kansas where our team is facing very hot and windy conditions.
Yesterday morning as the sun rose in the sky, we were enjoying a tail wind from the
west that helped push us from Colorado onto the Kansas plains. The weather, like
life, is a balance of ease and challenge. The wind picked up intensity and switched
directions. For the rest of the day we were bucking a 30 mph cross wind in 105
degree heat. No one said that life was going to be easy. If bicycle riding were
always a tailwind sport, there would be a lot more people in this race. We accept
the weather, the conditions, the muscle cramps, the fatigue, the sunburn, and the
discomfort with the same understanding that we accept all the challenges that life
deals us. We know that adversity will bring us incredible growth and we know
that we can deal with anything that life and this race put on our plate. We have a
wisdom and purpose that sustain us during difficult times.

Even as we try to raise awareness and "recruit" advocates to join us in our fight
against cancer, cancer continues to fight back. This year, over 600,000 Americans
will die of the disease. As I check my text messages from my nurse, who remains
back at the office helping my partners take care of my patients, I read about
the deaths of two of my longtime patients today. Both are lovely, intelligent,
compassionate woman who have so much to offer the world. In two separate
messages I learn that they have died and that the world, and all of us, will be
deprived of all the wonderful things that a longer life would have given us. Even as
we Race Across America to bring attention to our mission, cancer does not pause
to participate in our efforts. It's not a surprise to me or to anyone on this team.
That's the reason we do what we're doing. These events strengthen our resolve.
No matter how difficult our 24/7 days of pedaling a bicycle are, they are nothing
compared to the pain and suffering of our patients and the anguish of their families
when another needless death occurs.

I mark the passing of each of patient by decorating a water bottle in her honor. Our
team has over 1000 water bottles on the race, each one paying tribute to someone
whose life has been affected by cancer. Many of them are decorated in memory
of someone who has lost his or her life to cancer. Others are in honor of cancer
survivors who continue their cancer journey. The water bottles are providing our
team with sustenance and with inspiration as we use them on our Race Across
America. Two new water bottles have now been added to our sacred reserve. I will
personally carry these two bottles today and they will inspire me to do more than
I would otherwise demand of myself. Even in death, these women and all of the
individuals that our displayed on our bottles, are bound with us on our mission to
make the world better for future generations.

Today our racers continue across Kansas. We've divided the 8-person team into
two groups of 4. Yesterday, one of the 4-member groups cycled in rotation for 19
straight hours. The other group of 4 got some much needed rest and came onto the
race coarse at 4 am today to take over. The first group found much needed sleep
in a motel in Wichita. It's 1:36 pm on Wednesday and we are currently back in the
RV headed out to find the group on-duty now and take over the non-stop endeavor.
Last night we overtook one of the teams that were in front of us. We start today in
13th place and look forward to improving our time and standing.

We have developed a rhythm to our hectic life on the road. We've also developed a
purpose and bond. No matter how we finish on the standing board at the conclusion
of the race in Annapolis, MD, we will have changed lives. No one knows what he can
truly accomplish in life. It's only by reaching above and beyond our comfort zone
that we have any sense of what we are truly capable of. In the end, life is potentially
short. If diamonds were as plentiful as grains of sand, they would be worthless.
If we lived forever, wasting a day of our lives would be trivial. But be don't have
endless days on earth and it's this knowledge that provides context for what we do.
Ultimately, living each day with passion, compassion, and commitment to something
bigger than one's self is an appropriate tribute to those who have lost their lives
to cancer. We're honored to be racing for those who are no longer here to race for

As we get closer to our riders, I begin to get ready for my upcoming 12 hour "shift".
I luxuriate in the comfort of a clean pair of cycling shorts, I apply sunscreen, and I
clean my sunglasses and find my helmet. Then, I reach into our box of red and white
water bottles and choose two new ones to use on my first shift on the bicycle today.
The names and faces on the bottles will help propel me eastward. I find comfort in
their gentle presence.

  • Author: ss
  • Posted By: ss
  • Modified: Jun 25, 2012 by ss





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