Wednesday, July 22, 2009

RAAM as a Cultural/Social Experience

Please enjoy this Gallery, then the blog...

Sunset in Kansas...

Bob Chaisson's family met us with FOOD at 3 AM! (Bloomington, IN)

Jen's fiance' met us too, then drove all the way back to Louisville!

This Frenchman (RAAM Crew) was happily writing, I don't know what, he didn't speak english, and I don't speak french!

I can't recall whose parents these were, nice people though.

These two were touring from St. Louis to Oregon! (Fort Scott, KS

Race Volunteer, Blanchester, OH

This crewman from the Brazilian team developed his pictures in the motorhome!
(Montezuma Creek, UT)

Kevin's parents, it was their 55th wedding anniversary, and they brought us pizza. Lots of pizza! (Blanchester, OH)

Dave, Chris, Amanda, Kelsey, and Kevin (the Type2 crew boss)
... Amazing crew members

Kelsey and her new biker friends, Oceanside...
Hi all,
I decided to forgo a part two on the RAAM as a race topic in favor of pressing forward with my project. I have really wanted to write this next section, and enough has been said about racing.
Besides being a race, RAAM is truly a cultural/social experience. The experience began on the first day when our crew and teams gathered in Oceanside. It was interesting, 16 riders and around 50 crew members gathered, most of who had never met. The crew members came from all around the United States; Tallahasee, FL, Bend, OR, Wilmington, NC, Phoenix, AZ, Ithaca, NY; the list went on and on. This team had to not only function from the first day, but people had to basically shake hands, and get to work, and build relationships at the same time. As the week passed, friendships were built, and by the end of the race, the TeamType2 group was almost a family.
After the race started, then we really got to meet people! Let me see how many I can recall. We met complete strangers, people interested in our team, and willing to share their experiences with diabetes with us; we met family members who drove long distances to meet their team members or riders, sometimes in the middle of the night! There were tired race volunteers at the manned time stations who were so encouraging and generous. We met people on touring bikes who stopped by to wish us well. I spoke with an elderly woman in Blanchester, OH who offered her house (the hot shower specifically) to our crew; the gentleman who pulled up to our crew in Brawley, CA to see what we were up to. He gave us some rope from the back of his truck that we ended up using the entire week. And those are just the ones that come to mind as I write. I am pretty sure the whole team met people along the way. Did we meet any unfriendly people? I am sure we did, but I just put them out of my memory.
We got to see a whole lot of the United States. We got to see not just the countryside, but actually some of the fabric of the country, too. Let me tell you; this is a big country. And if you let your vision be narrowed by television, or Facebook, or text messages that serve as conversation, then you are missing a large part of this country. During RAAM, I became much more aware of the greatness of our nation. I would almost say I actually “get” America now.
Please enjoy a gallery of pictures from the “people side” of RAAM.


Princess Pat from Zardonia said...

Well said, Jim.

bikeolounger said...

The parents you were not able to identify are Jenn's parents, Nancy and Richard Bowers.

It was great to see you guys in Bloomington. It's about a two-hour drive from Louisville, where Jenn and I (and her parents) live.

It was also great to be at the end of the race in Annapolis, to see the looks of joy, relief, disbelief, awe, wonder, and a little sadness that the ride was actually over.

Thanks for allowing me to be an informal member of the crew in Annapolis!

Tom, Jenn's fiance (well, we've gotten married since that picture was taken...)