I'm Randy Mouri and this blog is about my quest to be an official finisher in the Race Across AMerica (RAAM), the toughest endurance race in the world. It's over and I became an official solo finisher in 11 days, 1 hour and 13 minutes! We continue to raise money and awareness on behalf of Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia (Habitat NoVa). If you would like to make a donation to Habitat NoVa, please visit my page on Habitat’s site. Endless thanks to our sponsors and all the folks that have made such generous contributions. Team Mouri would not have been able to travel so comfortably, which certainly may have changed the outcome of the race.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


Before you say anything, this is an import subject and you may not know of some of the material to come.  So just give this post a chance and read it through.

Poopy and pee-pee are related to your intake...or lack thereof and if you monitor it closely enough (is that TMI?) you can certainly tell what's going on with your body and possible ways to correct some of the conditions.  Instead of being too graphic on this blog, I thought I'd direct you to the poopy chart.  It's self-explanatory.  Some of you are really into the floaters verses the sinkers.  I've heard that your poopy will float, if your diet has enough fiber.  I tried this test for a short period of time and only manage a floater here and there.  In my book, as long as you have an effortless, solid poopy, you're good to go.

Prolonged physical exertion can play havoc on the poopy.  Depending on the duration of your event, poopies are usually non-existent and that's what many endurance athletes strive for to save time on the potty stops.  Many endurance athletes successfully stick with a liquid fuel source and try to find the right balance of hydration to refrain from tinkling as well.  I'm still in the mid-tuning stages with all of this, but my initial thought is that this is on the edge of being dangerous (though I'm not ruling it out completely).

I tend to produce type 1-3 poopy during heavy endurance days.  And I do tend to dehydrate toward the end of endurance events.  Though after the 3rd day of the Elite PAC Tour, I had no issues.  So chalk one up for the poopy chart!  The products I use have some protein in them.  Protein requires more fluid to process and adds to my dehydration problem. 

There is also the tinkle chart, which can provide useful guidelines in monitoring your pee.  If you start seeing that dark brown pee mid way through your ride, you may be in trouble.  You'll need to slow down and hydrate well.  But be careful, although rare, it is possible to over hydrate and induce a condition called hyponatremia.  It's all about balance and learning how your body responds to adverse conditions.  It's trial and error (experience).  And don't be afraid to ask questions, when you don't know the answer.  Someone out there may know.

Mary and Al Delaney of Rehab to Racing (R2R) answered a question for me that had me puzzled for several years.  In cooler temperatures (more specifically when rides start out warm in the daylight and then drop 20-30 degrees in the evenings) I would experience excessive and frequent urination.  Almost as if I had just consumed 10 gallons of water (only I had not).  This condition is known as Cold Immersion Diuresis.  If I remember this correctly, as your extremities get cold the blood in your body moves to your core to protect the blood supply to the brain.  Your body detects this increase in blood volume and tries to reduce it via urination, which may lead to dehydration.  So keep drinking and put those layers on.  A cold, continuous rain may also bring on Cold Immersion Diuresis, as I have experienced.  Your body tries to compensate for many of the stresses that you subject to it.  The more educated you can be on various subjects the better you're going to be at self-evaluating race day issues.

So in the future, if you're seated in a nice restaurant and you hear the table next to you talking about poopy and pee-pee -- give them a break.  It may be someone you know...ME!


Here we are between phases of testing. That's me on the bike with Doug Baumgarten in the back of Harry the skeletal model, who wanted to show off the cool SportFit Lab cap. The photo was taken by Beth Baumgarten.

SportFit Lab offers 3 levels of bike fit (basic, standard and advanced). Great options for all levels of cyclists/triathletes/duathletes. I was going through the advanced fit and this is how it went.

I first filled out a thorough athletic history report as Doug set up my bike on the Computrainer and took some measurements from by current bike setup.

Inseam and shoulder width measurements were taken to rule out any flagrant flaws in my current set up. Doug had noted that my bars were a little on the wide side and questioned my use of bar end shifters installed on the drops verses on the aerobars. Both were due to mechanical failures during earlier races that I completed in and I had not reconfigured the front end with new parts. Something to fine tune down the road.

Doug then checks for lower joint issues under load by having you sit on the edge of a chair and then has you slowly stand to an erect position, then slowly sit back onto the edge of the chair (repeat as needed). He visually evaluates your joint motion as you perform this test. He found an excessive amount of pronation in my feet (I do have flat feet) that can lead to knee issues and recommended firmer inserts. I will definitely pick up a couple of pair. I have to admit that I do experience knee pain with severe climbing and the inserts may be the solution.

I then hopped on the bike to warm up into a comfortable zone before Doug applied resistance. He turned on an overhead monitor (a huge 32" flat screen), that allowed me to follow the spin scan results. He reported that I have nearly perfect symmetrical pedaling through out my pedal stroke. I looked up at the monitor and asked him to explain. There were a series of bars indicating power output at 15 degree segments for both the left and right legs through 360 degrees (one pedal revolution). It showed the peaks and valleys of power delivery to the pedals. My numbers flowed between 49/51 and 50/50. I was happy to see that drill work does pay off.  Typically, riders get more out of balance as resistance is increased.  Oddly, mine improved as resistance increased.

While I was spinning, Beth was taking video of the session and assisting Doug as needed.

After a good sweat, Doug had me hop off the bike to take a few more measurements. He measures for strength and flexibility. I pass, but received good core strength tips in the process. He evaluated the motion video and pulled some measurements from the screen. I was slightly extended, but due to my level of comfort and no physical side effects, we opted not to change this position, but noted it for future reference.

Doug made a slight cleat adjustment to help smooth out a minor asymmetrical reading on a segment of my right leg. I jump back on the bike, warm back up and look back up at the monitor. The adjustment did the trick with no odd feeling to my pedal stroke. After further discussion of how I use my aerobars, Doug suggested a slight repositioning of the forearm pads. This took a little more pressure off my shoulders and made the position more comfortable.

I'll share the printed results once emailed to me. Overall, I did not have any huge flaws, which I was happy to hear (but expected that my position wasn't too far out). My form was better than I had anticipated and I was able to fine tune some adjustments for better power and efficiency through the cleat and pad adjustments, along with the use of inserts. I'm anxious to put these changes through some mileage tests.  I'm planning on riding the Saratoga 24hr in July and hope to log at least 400 miles.   We'll see how that goes.

I've been cycling off and on for over 30 years (both recreational and competitive), so your results will likely be different from mine. A good bike fit is a valuable tool if you plan on cycling for any amount of time on a regular basis. And a must for any serious triathlete or cyclist.

Doug and Beth performed one of the most thorough bike fits that I have ever experienced and I feel that I came away with a more powerful and efficient position. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about my experience or check out Doug and Beth at SportFit Lab.

Good Luck in your race season and thanks for following my quest.

Here I have added the printed results (6/22/10):

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Tour is over?....

When we regrouped to ride to the Yorktown beach, my heart started to sink. Man! The tour is about to end. No more daily rides of 160+ miles. No more eating as much and anything that I want. Despite the saddle sores, I was sad that it was over. What started out as a suffer-fest, ended up being a nice daily ride of challenging attacks from riders within the pace line. Friendships and laughter were a daily routine. No other responsibilities other than having to ride your bike. I was a kid again for 19 days. That was one of the first aspects of the tour that I really appreciated. Rob and I did not turn on the TV set once for duration of the trip. In a way it was nice to be clueless about the world around us.

Everyone had a slightly different focus for the Elite Tour. It ranged from peaking for the Race Across AMerica, down to simply crossing the country on a bike. My goal started out on the lower end of the spectrum. Let's just see if I can stay on the bike and make the transcontinental crossing without having any major physical problems. After the leg cramps from day 1, this goals was going to be a difficult task in itself. I was skeptical through day 3 as the slightest detection of cramping faded away. My goal became slightly more aggressive by day 5. I now wanted to determine a pace at which I could push myself without the recurrence of the leg cramps. Nutrition became a big factor and a tough balance between going hard and eating enough of the right things. Over the next two weeks, I continued to play with pace and nutrition. I don't feel like I ever had it dialed in, but I was getting closer...or perhaps I was becoming more fit. And again, it could have been a combination of the two. Either way, I kept pushing harder and harder. There were days when I would have a token bonk and would have to take a little extra time at the support stop to refuel, but it became less and less of a factor as time went on.

Being able to chat and ride with others was such a big help. There was so much experience and talent in the group. I feel like a came away a better rider and a better person. As the sun fell each day, you could see our small ride group develop into a family. People opened up more, helped each other more and eventually found their groove to ride on to their potential. It was nice to see the bonding process and the way people worked together to help each other through the tougher moments. There were obvious times when people had mechanical problems and were stuck with a long day of riding. This developed another aspect of one's character.

I rode with Rob Welsh the majority of the tour. What a great guy! Fun to ride with. Easy to converse with and very experienced. He knew his pace and he could hold it forever. But even he had moments of "speed play!" There were several times when we would surge hard to try to catch Harold or bridge the gap with another group. It's hard work, but makes you a better rider. Toward the end of the tour (which was a small portion), I found myself finishing with Tim Feldman and Harold Trease. Tim was a former category 2 racer and was smooth and wise. He had a great deal of bike savvy and had a way of upping the pace without you being aware.  Harold "the Hammer" Trease was all about power.  He could mash the pedals and go.  Truly amazing to watch.  He is considering riding in 2011 as well, which will make his 3rd RAAM.  It would be an honor to ride the same year as him.

Overall the Elite PAC Tour ended up being more manageable than I anticipated.  I had expected 19 days of day 1, but that's just not the way it was.  There were minor issues of hand numbness and neck soreness early on, but the neck soreness would go away and the hand numbness was tolerable by riding the aerobars more often.  The support is like a well oiled machine.  It just operates SO smoothly.  The only issues that you need to be concerned with are your own.

If you ever considered doing an Elite PAC Tour, don't be frightened.  Don't get me wrong.  It's not a cake walk, but it is certainly an achievable goal.  I'm feeling more confident about an official finish in RAAM 2011, but I know that I have a lot of work cut out for me.  The big test will be through the winter months.  I'll be setting up a program for the next year and hope to work closely with SportFit.

Keep checking in for updates and hope you enjoyed the journey as much as I did.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Day 17; Almost there

Well thank goodness for the willingness to try anything to help out a bad situation. I'm speaking of the saddle sores (SS) of course, which started early on in the tour. Most riders tend to use the standard Chamois Cream to reduce friction spots, etc, which cause saddle sores. It never seems to be consistent with me. Sometimes certain things work better with different styles of shorts. I thought I had found the perfect pair with the Gore Power Shorts, but the extreme heat was not something that I could not replicate prior to the tour. I obtained some prescription medication from another rider, which was a strong dose of cortizone and some bag balm (if you don't ask, I won't tell.) So for the next couple of days, it was cortizone and Boudreux's (sp?) Butt Paste at night d then cortizone an hour prior to the bag balm and then Chamois cream on the shorts. This routine worked for a while. I tried to swap out saddles with a spare that I brought along, but this was worse, so I switched back to my standard, cheap Bontrager saddle. I went and purchased my own cortizone 10 from a local CVS and some Lanacane for emergency numbing situations that I would use as a last resort. Soon after passing through the cooler climates the heat began to rise and the SS became an issue once again. It was recommended to change shorts for different pressure areas, but all of my shorts were of similar model, since they had worked so well in training. So I purchased a pair of the PAC shorts to try them out. They felt wonderful and I purchased another pair. After a couple of days they weren't working any longer, so now I reverted to the double shorts. It gives a little more cushion and it allows the shorts to slide back and forth between one another and not rub your skin. Many of the riders say they have gone through endless combinations of shorts to find the perfect set. Some will even turn the shorts inside out so the pad isn't against your skin. At any rate, the double short worked for two days. The second day was the day that my shorts felt like they were on fire. So it was time to go with the emergency cream. In my mind you never want to numb an area that you use on a regular basis, unless it's an emergency...and this was an emergency! I was able to make it through that day, but had serious thoughts of how I would continue. So I asked around a bit more and it appeared that I had exhausted all of my resource. One of the RAAM veterans, Harold Trease, thought that the double short caused too much heat build up and that a regular routine of standing out of the saddle would keep blood flowing and help heal the area. Susan Notorangelo suggested powder early on, but I had tried that in training and it didn't work well for me. This was another day and another situation, so I thought what could it hurt. So I went back to the single short and tried powder (Bonds Medicated Powder), which you can mix with baby powder. This has been getting me through thus far with 2 more days to go. So it's nice to know of so many options, but it's best to avoid this issue all together (if you can). Hope this more detailed report on my issues may give you other options to think about, if you're ever in a similar situation.

We're in Elkins, WV and will be traveling via 33 through Harrisonburg onto Stanardsville where we will turn onto 230 and make our way to Orange via 231s to 20e. Perhaps not the best randonneuring route, but it will get us all home.

More photos were posted I'll add captions later.