RAAM mind games

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Jim Flom, Jun 30, 2004.

  1. Jim Flom

    Jim Flom Guest

    Media contact: Wendy Booher, tel. (609)348-7402 cell. (617)308-2500

    Race Administration Unsympathetic to Either Side in the Matter

    ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (June 29, 2004) - Four days after the flare-up, the dust
    began to settle on a controversy that raged during the middle of the race,
    possibly effected the outcome, and certainly made the newcomers Jure Robic
    (Slovenia) and Mike Trevino (San Diego, Calif.) acutely aware of the
    psychological warfare that is a traditional part of the Insight Race Across
    America (RAAM).

    It is nothing new for one rider in RAAM to be disbelieving of another rider'
    s average speed over a particular stretch of the country, and by the
    half-way point the Robic camp - competing in only their second RAAM - found
    themselves puzzling over the way rookie Mike Trevino was tenaciously able to
    hang on and remain in contention with the Slovenian former road-race cycling

    Accusations soon started flying. Robic - representing the Slovenian
    military - deployed one of his support vehicles to spy on Trevino, and the
    problem was compounded when the race officials monitoring these two riders
    had problems with the brakes in their van and withdrew from the race for 18
    hours while repairs were made, leaving the two riders unmarshalled for a
    period of a few hours.

    The organization acted within an hour of hearing about the problems to bring
    in extra officials, but different circumstances worked against the
    situation, and distances to be covered were as much as 300 miles. Within 24
    hours both of the two leading riders in the elite Solo category were under
    the watchful eye of an official.

    Meanwhile tension within the Robic and Trevino camps was reaching boiling
    point. Trevino responded to Robic's spy car by enlisting one of his own - a
    move permitted within the rules of RAAM. Several hours later an official
    caught up with the Robic spy car and issued the team a 15-minute penalty
    (added to Robic's finishing time) for 'caravanning' which is when cars from
    two teams get too close to one another and cause a potential obstruction to
    passing road traffic.

    Fatigue blended with stress and frustration to create a bitter cocktail.
    Angry messages were posted to the Robic team web site by team members who
    were concerned the organization was biased against them. Hate mail started
    coming into the race administration from fans of Robic.

    The race organization moved to bring matters under control by informing the
    Robic camp of a rule that prevents teams from denigrating the race. Once
    they learned that official vehicles had been dispatched to both theirs and
    Trevino's team, the Slovenians were satisfied that appropriate action had
    been taken and a retraction appeared on the Robic web site. His crew members
    later admitted that they might have acted too hastily in the heat of the

    The controversy, however, was not over. Meanwhile, in the Trevino camp at
    roughly the same time, a reporter for the race's in-house television crew
    asked Trevino to comment on the allegations of cheating made by the Robic
    team. This was more than the San Diego software developer was prepared to
    take, and the team imposed a media ban that remained in effect until the run
    into Atlantic City.

    The incident with the journalist was the last straw for Trevino, a former
    high school wrestler and line-backer in his college football team, who then
    became an ultra-distance runner before stepping up to RAAM. Struggling with
    his motivation to stay in the race, on Friday evening, June 25, he climbed
    off his bicycle and went for a 20-minute run to ground him while he
    reflected on the situation. On return to his team car Trevino remounted
    continued to Atlantic City - although his tussle with Robic for line honors
    was by then long over.

    Trevino's result - second place in the Solo Men's category - identifies him
    as a remarkable athlete who pulled off an impressive feat. This is the
    result that several great RAAM champions have gotten in their first year of
    the race. The determination he showed in staying with Robic for the first
    half of the race made Trevino's 2004 campaign all the more impressive.
    However, after his 2004 experience Trevino - while admitting that the
    complexity of the race was fascinating - would not immediately commit to
    entering again.

    Of course RAAM veteran and co-owner Lon Haldeman has seen it all before -
    and he permitted himself a wry chuckle and a demure lowering of the eyes on
    hearing accounts of the events. Haldeman recounted stories from his days of
    racing RAAM, where he committed acts of trickery with the express purpose of
    inducing paranoia in his rivals, playing on their frayed nerves and tired
    minds. "We used to get up to all sorts of things, far worse that that," Said
    Haldeman with a smile.

    RAAM race director, Jim Pitre, himself a record-setting winner of the
    two-person team division was not overly sympathetic for either the Trevino
    or the Robic camps, and said: "There was no proof of any cheating. With
    proof we'd take a different view of the matter. People do not take into
    account that in any kind of racing mind games are played. This just happens
    to be a more drawn-out saga, and there are other factors such as sleep
    deprivation thrown into to complicate it further. This is a perfect example
    of how people's minds get set sideways by the race. I see this kind of thing
    as just a part of RAAM. They're big boys, I say 'get over it'."

    Almost six hours after Trevino's eagerly-awaited arrival in Atlantic City,
    three-time winner Wolfgang Fasching of Austria pedaled a tired cadence along
    the Atlantic Expressway to complete his seventh RAAM. For Fasching, who
    counts Robic among his personal friends, this had not quite been his year.
    Lack of proper training was one reason he gave for never managing to mount a
    challenge to the leaders - having decided to compete in the 2004 race as
    late as April.
    Around lunchtime in Atlantic City, the extraordinary and ebullient Grand Pac
    Masters team rolled gleefully onto the legendary Boardwalk to complete a
    record breaking ride in their age division, of 7 days, 6 hours and 31

    As the evening came, the wife and husband team of Terri Gooch and George
    Thomas riding for VeloWear/Co-Motion, from Corvallis, Oregon, completed
    their trek in the Two-Person Mixed category, in 7 days, 18 hours, 5 minutes.
    Thomas, a six-time veteran of RAAM, has now ridden the race as a Solo, with
    Gooch on a tandem, and now with Gooch in a mixed team.

    A few minutes later, Germany's Team Frauleins rolled triumphantly up the
    boards to complete their first RAAM and take second place in the 4-Person
    Women's category with a time of 8 days, 4 hours, 40 minutes.

    Quotes follow.

    All race times are in EST; stay tuned to www.raceacrossamerica.org for
    up-to-the-minute race status.


    Michael Trevino, solo, 8 days 21:06 - 2nd place

    "My result confirms my belief that I can compete with cyclists at this
    level. I didn't have any background in cycling before about a year ago. It
    is exciting, but humbling also. It is great to be able to aspire to
    something like winning RAAM.

    "The allegations (of cheating, made by the Jure Robic camp) hurt me. It was
    tough. People who know me would know it would insult me to even ask that
    question. In hindsight, as you say I'm the dark horse and I should've been
    prepared for some skepticism. It was flattering at first, but then I got a
    bit sick of it.

    "I feel a huge sense of relief that it is over. My reasons for being here
    and being part of the event had been polluted. At one time I felt I should
    walk away from the event."

    Wolfgang Fasching, solo, 9 days 02:45 - 3nd place
    "I had no problems this year. I felt good all the way, except for Day One
    when I had a stomach upset. The only problem I had is I wasn't fast enough!
    I am just happy that Jure Robic did not do more damage to (my relative
    finishing time)."
    "Climbing Mount Everest is more dangerous, but mentally RAAM is more
    "I hate the final 15 miles. It is always the hardest."

    Enrico de Angeli, solo, 9 days 09:08 - 4th place
    "I didn't expect to finish so fast. I planned to finish in ten days and I
    finished in nine days; I am very happy."
    "The highest point for me was when I saw Nico, Rob, and the other riders and
    I overtook them within two hours."
    "I was sorry to see Nico drop out because he lives about 20 kilometers away
    from me in Italy."

  2. This is so sad for me to read. I thought RAAM was the one cycling event
    untouched by cheating. NOT !
  3. On Wed, 30 Jun 2004 14:06:08 GMT, "Jim Flom" <[email protected]>
    This is the most interesting stuff I've about RAAM ever probably.
    They should stage a fake reality show with stuff like this.

  4. On Wed, 30 Jun 2004 14:06:08 GMT, Jim Flom wrote:
    > puzzling over the way rookie Mike Trevino was tenaciously able to
    > hang on and remain in contention with the Slovenian

    Do they have dope controls in the RAAM?
  5. John Forrest Tomlinson wrote:

    > On Wed, 30 Jun 2004 14:06:08 GMT, "Jim Flom" <[email protected]>
    > wrote:
    > This is the most interesting stuff I've about RAAM ever probably.
    > They should stage a fake reality show with stuff like this.
    > JT

    Its been my impression these 'reality' shows are pretty much staged as is.