- Jun 13, 2006
- Following Kenny Souza on RAAM, Day 2
The alarm rings at 5 A.M. It’s Monday morning, I wake up, pack some clothes, camera gear and head into work to take care of a few last details before heading to the airport. I’m flying to Phoenix to intercept Kenny Souza on day two of his Race Across America (RAAM).
From Phoenix, I drive to Flagstaff and arrive just after Kenny checks in to the time station. He’s just ridden almost 500 miles straight. I bang on the door of the motor home with my camera around my neck and ask if I can see Kenny. The crew is protective-understandably as they don’t know me and what my mission is. I’m here to record still images of Kenny’s race and bring them back for CLIF BAR and other media.
Once past "security," I walk into the "bedroom" of the motor home to find Kenny sprawled out and munching a cheeseburger and fries while his son Dalton and Crew Chief Gretchen massage his legs. Kenny’s clearly tired, overheated and in need of some rest. His voice is raspy from the dry air but he’s upbeat. He explains that the heat of the desert was brutal and took its toll-not just on Kenny, but the other riders too.
Jure Robic and Marko Baloh have gone through Flagstaff already. Jonathon Boyer and Tinker Juarez roll up while I’m there. Boyer keeps going and essentially passes Kenny at the check point while Kenny’s resting. Juarez also rests and departs just before Kenny. Somehow, Kenny takes a wrong turn when he leaves the time station and loses a substantial amount of time. He’s now in 5th place among the 5 racers who have a chance to win.
I spend the day leapfrogging ahead of Kenny and shooting photographs. He looks good, but he’s clearly tired. On the other hand Kenny is a survivor, and his orange-shirted crew is there to help him reach his goal. They’re doing a great job.
After dark, I drive ahead to the town of Mexican Hat to secure a room and get a few zz’s. It’s late and I’m unable to wake the hotel staff to get me a room so I proceed to crash in the car-a rented Jeep Laredo. After a long night of riding, Kenny arrives in Mexican Hat at about 4 A.M. after passing Juarez. However, Robic, Boyer and Baloh are out ahead while Kenny sleeps in the mobile home. They didn’t stop at Mexican Hat. At sunrise I awake and snap a few photos in Monument Valley.
As I write this, it’s 7 A.M. in Mexican Hat, and I now await Kenny’s emergence into the daylight and back on the bike. Hopefully it will be a good day for Kenny.
Check out more photos of Kenny on the road at flickr.com.
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- Guest Starring