In a few hours, The Wattmeister will be seated in a big metal bird which will fly over the Atlantic Ocean, across the vast expanse of Canada and the USA before swooping down south and west to land at San Diego. He will enter the separate universe of RAAM.
The Wattmobile will be swapped for one of the rented Shumobiles for the short drive north to Oceanside, starting point of RAAM 2015.
Five days of race preparation will follow. The three support vehicles will be ‘stickered up’ and adorned with flashing yellow lights in order to adhere to race rules. Each vehicle needs a basic storage system for essential items, so advance purchases have been made for collection at the local Walmart. Some specific supplies will have been brought over from the UK, however most disposable equipment is waiting on the supermarket shelves in California.
As one of the eight crew members, The Wattmeister’s specific task along with James H, is to take care of the fleet of three bikes. Each bike has a name, and woe betide any crew member who refers to one of Shu’s bikes as ‘it’.
“Wiggo” is a Trek Speed Concept time trial bike designed for knocking out long hours at a high speed on flattish roads. “Sagan” is a Cannondale Synapse road bike and, along with “Trevor”, a Trek Madone road bike, this duo will tackle the three great mountain ranges of the USA, namely the Coastal Range, Rockies and Appalachians plus any other rolling or hilly terrain.
During these five days, the eight individual volunteer crew members will start to evolve as a team. A kind of soft magical behavioural pattern will be woven as the different personalities joust and assert then refrain and hold back in order to blend into a smooth unit for the common good.
The race itself begins on Tuesday 16th June at 8 p.m British Summer Time, or midday Pacific Date Time.