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CLIF Blog

Jun. 16, 2006
Following Kenny Souza on RAAM--Day 5
I spoke with Gretchen, Kenny's Crew Chief at 4:30 A.M. PDT today. I told her to call me ANY time as I needed an update. Mobile phone coverage is spotty out there in Eastern Colorado and Kansas!

Kenny had a great day! After another long rest in Alamosa, CO, Kenny got on the bike and this time, the legs seemed to be cooperating. Gretchen tells me Kenny requested the time-trial bike and the crew mounted the rear disk wheel. There's something about the time-trial bike and the constant drone of the disk wheel that Kenny finds inspiring. The difference is that today he felt physically good enough to ride it. Kenny was fast out of Alamosa, averaging over 20 mph on this stage while his competitors struggled to do 14 -16 mph. Needless to say, he made up some ground.

Gretchen noted that Kenny looked her in the eye when she spoke with him rather than turning away as he had been. It appears that the real Kenny Souza has returned.

Between Trinidad, CO and Kim, CO, in the evening, Kenny and the crew experienced a spectacular lightning storm. The sky blackened and a frightening display of thunder and lightning ensued. It rained and there were cross-winds of 50 mph. The crew noted that Kenny had to lean the bike severely into the wind to stay upright. Needless to say, the disk wheel was retired for this stretch. The film crew refused to ride their motorcycle. It was too scary!

Kenny weathered the storm and kept going. Then the road turned such that he experienced a tail/cross wind. That evening, the crew decided to have Kenny rest some more to let the winds subside. In the wee hours, when the wind died, Kenny mounted up and rode through the morning of Day 6.

He has now passed through Ulysis, KS on his way to Montezuma, KS. Let's hope the winds are benign so Kenny can mount the disk wheel again. As of this writing, Kenny has returned the favor by passing Rob Lucas. He's now in 5th place and going forward.

So, dear reader, you may ask—what are Kenny's chances now? Well, frankly, nothing short of a miracle is going to allow him to win this race, as both Boyer and Baloh have commanding leads. However, getting to the finish is a chore in itself, so anything can happen. Kenny has the will and the talent of a champion, so we'll just have to wait and see.

I'm not ruling anything out…you can't in RAAM. He's currently riding in 5th place. Tinker Juarez, fellow rookie competitor is in 3rd place. A good goal for Kenny would be to catch and pass Tinker before the finish. By doing so, he may claim the Rookie-of-the-Year award.

One of the issues at hand is that Kenny has now used up 35 of his required 40 hours off the bike yet he's only at the half-way point. Kenny will need to minimize his time off the bike to stay competitive. On the positive side, Kenny knows his competitors will be required to take more time than him off their bikes, so as long as he can keep riding, he'll continue to gain ground.

I asked Dalton Souza, Kenny's son, to snap some cell phone pics and send them along. He's done so, but the quality is what it is. You can still view the photos from Days 2 and 3 at flickr.com.

Stay tuned…


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We like getting our heart rates up, taking a big breath of fresh air, savoring delicious food. But we also love telling stories and here's where we type 'em up. (BTW, it works both ways; leave a comment—please and thank you.)

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