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, February 27, 2011

The Silver Lining

With most rides that don't go as expected, there is usually a silver lining. That silver lining would be that I would continue to ride throughout the night, despite the numerous stops.  And if this were one of my worst days during RAAM, I would still have met my goal of 300+ miles per day.  Though bad days are not the goal.  Endurance cyclist know that you have to keep moving as best you can to maintain forward progress.

Now let's back up a bit.  Upon returning from Sebring, Susie and I reviewed the race log to try to figure out what had gone wrong and why my ride did not go as expected.  We would share this information with our chief medical director, Al Delany and his wife Mary, also owners of Rehab to Racing.  We had a one on one consultation to review the race log and there were several helpful things that came from this.

First, something I failed to mention, was that I was stung by an insect about 10 miles from the end of the 100 mile leg.  I'm allergic to some insect stings and I'm never sure which ones give me the worse reactions, so I always take a Benadryl as soon as I can.  Unfortunately, I did not carry any on this particular day, so asked Susie to grab one from the tool box upon my arrival.  This may have contributed to my drowsiness later in the evening. Resolution is to switch to Cetirizine as an antihistamine, as it is a stimulant and not a depressant as Benadryl.

Secondly, Al and Mary have found that higher doses of magnesium have aided in eliminating cramping.  The recommended dose is 600 mg/day (RDA for adult males over 31 years of age is 420 mg/day).  Heavy training leading up to an event can deplete a substantial amount of your magnesium.  So I will be testing this out as well.  Also noting that excessive amounts of magnesium can lead to diarrhea.  So be aware as some bodies will have a different level of tolerance than others.

On a final note, we could not pin point what caused the nauseous feeling.  The Ensure was new to the mix as it's application in the race, but I had never had problems consuming Ensure in the past.  So we will be experimenting with Ensure a little more before my next event.

One last thought has been that I simply went out a little harder than for what I was prepared for.  A very good possibility as it's always hard to pin point these issues after the fact.  You just need to apply it in training and monitor the results.  We shall see what happens.

Thanks Al and Mary for the valuable feedback.  I have a few things to work on in my training.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sebring Update

Randy back writing to you.  Susie is still sleeping after an endless night trying to keep me going.  The cramping would finally subside, during the second century and countless doses of Electrolyes and V-8.  However, nausea and stomach issues set in, which is rare with me.  The hour that I had banked going into the race track was withdrawn quickly with two 30 minute rest breaks.  I wasn't eating and the race was taking a turn for the worse.  At some point, Susie brought me turkey soup.  It went down well and I started to feel better.  There was still an opportunity to have a good race and exceed 400 miles.  After a handful of laps, nausea would set in again.  I dropped from 12 minute laps to 16 minute laps in a short period of time.  I was spending more time off the bike than on it.  I was getting frustrated and was just trying to keep moving.  My results were horrible at just over 300 miles, especially when you're anticipating 420+.  Susie and I will look at the logs to see if we can find a silver lining in all of this.  It will be difficult!

The weather was perfect and conditions were optimal.  I have no excuses for such a poor performance.  I just need to work out the kinks over the next 3 months.  I'll follow up after reviewing the logs.

We did have two friends (Bill and Len) that RQ'd.  They both had their issues along the way, but were able to overcome them and finish strong.  I was very impressed with their performances, as endurance cycling of that distance is not part of their typical routine.  Len actually had the opportunity to ride in the 420+ range, but was happy to stop at 408.  They said they had no desire to do RAAM, but you never know... Congratulations Bill and Len!  Awesome job!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

So far, so good

It's Susie writing to you. I'm in the hotel room rinsing out some shorts and getting more fuel. Randy finished the 100-mile loop in about 5 hours. So gorgeous here -- he got lucky. Sunny, slight breeze, about 75 degrees. So now he's on his second 11-mile loop. He'll do these short loops until 5:30 pm when they shuttle all the riders onto the race track. Randy cramped up a bit on the last loop, so he drank a V-8 and took some enduralytes. There is the sweetest boxer mix pup next to me, I can hardly keep my hands off him! Oh sorry, back to the race... Lots of cyclists here, tons of recumbents. More later! Thanks for watching. Now back to your regularly scheduled Saturday.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Sebring 24 hour Challenge

Susie and I are down here to test out a few things for RAAM at the Sebring 24 hour Challenge.  Besides trying to hit the 400 mile mark, we will be testing out some of our nutrition strategies, minimizing off bike time and trying to maintain a steady effort level (not too hard, but not too easy either).

We have a great view of the race track from our room
Susie and I though it would be a blast to stay and sign up for a Skip Barber session, but reality set in and we realized that we have bigger things to focus on.

Susie will try to give updates on the race through Twitter.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Crew Meeting

We had our crew meeting last evening and everyone was present except for our one island crew member, Tim, that lives in St Croix.  Three members attended using Skype, which worked well, but does place a bit of an inconvenience spanning the country's time zones. Two were in Idaho, Al and Mary, and one in Arizona, Connie.

Al started us off with the medical presentation...stressing the importance of full disclosure on the medical waiver forms, as his role is the chief medical officer and reminding everyone of the physical and mental demands that are required to be on the crew.

We took a quick pause for chili, corn bread, Louisiana gumbo, crab dip and an assortment of other goodies.  All compliments of our crew members.  While folks were eating I followed up with a quick update on my training and plans moving forward.  Training was at 82% after a 365 mile week.

Dave Meridith took over with a recap of his RAAM races from '90 and '93.  He had a very successful race in '90, finishing in 10 days and 4 hours.  Much of his success due to his crews ability to keep the drama in the vehicles and hidden from him.  '93 proved to be a disappointment with many crew complications and a change in nourishment.  He would DNF in Texas after extreme dehydration from intestinal problems.

Edgar covered the crews roles and shifts, Susie gave an update on the fund raising efforts and her pursuit to work with a charitable organization (Habitat for Humanity), and Troy finished up with a brief summary of how food preparation would work.

All in all a very successful meeting though our next meeting will be less formal and handled via email.  We established a weekend in May to familiarize ourselves with the RV.  So we will rent an RV for the weekend to test everything out in RAAM fashion.

I think we are getting everything dialed in for the team.  Now all I need to do is ride my bike.  Sounds easy!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Behind the Scenes of RAAM training

What goes on behind the scenes of RAAM?  I don't think I can list everything, but will do my best.  Edgar and Susie are working on charitable funding and sponsorship.  Something that just doesn't come as easily as we initially anticipated.   Additionally, they are organizing crew meetings and laying out the plan for RAAM.   This involves assigning each crew member with duties for both follow and support.  They've created shifts and rotations, made appropriate reservations where needed, are determining the best means of transportation for equipment and crew members to Oceanside.  They are also creating lists of items for the support vehicles, emergency essentials, nutrition, clothing, supplies and everything else I can't think of.  Rich, Troy, Tim, Leo and Stephanie are also thinking of addressing the unknowns and helping out with sponsorship opportunities, learning the rules and familiarizing themselves with the route.  Connie, my massage therapist, is researching Shermer's Neck and other possible issues that may be experienced on the bike.  Al and Mary, of Rehab to Racing, are working on establishing medical guidelines and are assembling a medical kit for the race.  This team is working on researching how best to handle sleep deprivation and have also outlined a strength training routine to help combat Shermer's Neck.  I think that's all I have for now.  After the crew meeting next weekend, revisions will be made, lists supplemented and plans altered.  We have 3 months to figure it all out and will have several opportunities to test the work that has been put into planning thus far.

As far as the training...let's just call it an off week.  I dropped from 405 miles to 190.  A poor performance and I've dropped to 84% of my goal mileage (which was expected if the winter weather was less than accommodating).  I rode through the night last evening on the trainer.  Took a 2 hour nap, then road again to finish up my workout. This simulates riding sleep deprived as I prepare for Sebring as best I can.

I'll need to schedule another appointment with SportFit Lab to retest and check my fitness level.   Think an April test would be appropriate.

Cheers everyone and happy training!