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Chris Benchetler getting it good. photo - Peter Morning
Team Clif Bar Blog
Jun 19, 2006
Following Kenny Souza on RAAM--Day 9

oceanside to atlantic cityKenny’s cruising along near the Illinois/Indiana border at this writing. The terrain has flattened out again. It’s warm and humid but Kenny’s moving along nicely. He averaged about 17 mph between the last time stations after a 5-hour rest last night.

The crew’s tired, Kenny’s tired, but they all plug away knowing the end isn’t too far off. Best estimates indicate a very late Wednesday or sometime Thursday finish for Kenny.

I spoke with Kenny’s son Dalton yesterday on the phone. Dalton’s excited about this race. He’s seen the pain and hardship but is still intrigued by RAAM. In fact, this energetic 14-year old plans to do the race when he’s 18—the minimum age allowed. When asked if Kenny will crew for his son, Dalton quipped, "No, I want him to race against me. It’ll be a Souza smack-down!" Will Kenny do it again in four years? Who knows, but now’s probably a bad time to ask the question.

The challenge facing Kenny now is to get over the eastern mountains without dropping his average speed. Once a rider falls below 10.49 mph average speed for the entire race, he or she is asked to abandon the race. Most riders lose about a half mile-per-hour in speed over the eastern mountains. Kenny’s currently at 11.02 mph, so he should be fine. That said, he doesn’t have much of a cushion should something go wrong.

However, if called upon to do so, Kenny will likely find the extra speed needed in his legs to stay above the minimum speed. He’s an excellent climber so the mountains may not slow him as much as the other riders.

Kenny’s currently holding in 5th place behind Bryce Walsh (4th) and Tinker Juarez (3rd) in the Enduro division. If he rides strong, he has a chance to pass Walsh and Juarez and in doing so, would likely claim Rookie of the Year. However, Walsh and Juarez are both riding strong showing no chinks in their armor. Kenny’s about 50 miles behind Walsh and about 140 miles behind Tinker.

Meanwhile, Marko Baloh (2nd), and Jonathan Boyer (leading) both have less than 500 miles to go. Baloh is approximately 340 miles ahead of Kenny while Boyer is about 400 miles ahead.

Check out the RAAM website to follow racers’ progress by time station.

 To view photos from Days 2 and 3 of RAAM, visit

Stay tuned for the exciting finish!

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