Suppose this is the last day of your life. What do you want to be remembered for? What is your legacy? What’s that one thing, Just one thing that people will remember you for? How do you want your life story to be told? Will it be something like “I did it all alone”, or “we gave everything we had and we’ve made it together”? Race Across America is know as the world’s toughest cycling race. crossing USA from west to east, cycling 3000 miles 5000 kilometers going through 12 states and the teams have up to 12 days to do so. [Crew Chief] We’ve just made to Oceanside, after getting our van, our RV crossed border control, everything went right, all bikes came ok, nothing broken, now we’re at the hotel to set the vehicles up, and in doing so, we set up the bike racks at the car floor, now we’re building our radios, electrical stuff, radio between cars, there’s a mixer, so we can talk to the cyclist from inside the car. Outside we have a speaker and I’m holding here an AC/DC inverter that we use at the 12V outlet and creates a energy station for us. Oceanside, finally! After spending months planning, going after resources, preparing everything, now it all becomes real. The team starts bonding together and hardwork starts immediately. From assembling the bikes, organizing the cars, installing essencial pieces of gear to this journey, all the team works together. The team has 8 people and the cyclist. And besides Patricia, who’s a massage therapist and the mind behind the project, the team divides among navigators, drivers, mechanics, personal trainer, nutritionist, and the crew chief managing everything. RAAM didn’t even start yet, but it comes to show we’re going to work a lot, and sleep quite a few hours. The idea behind Mixirica at RAAM started in 2018, when I first came to RAAM, with another athlete, another team, and as soon as I got here, it was clear this race was perfect suitable to this friend of mine. This project I consider a really huge one It was arount 10 months of hard work Since the very first idea, from Mario and Patricia. I had know already he wanted to come to RAAM, he was involved in other projects, with other friends, but it had not happened, because this structure is pretty complicated to be done. So when I get back to Brazil, I already had this idea of bringing him to this race. So as the project was growing, some doors were being opened, then we really started moving with things in a safer way, embracing risks, risks were’nt not that big anymore, specially related to the ammount of money we should have, paying the entry fee, getting the team stronger, bringing other people to help us And it all started coming together. Mixirica was doing his part, taking part in promotional events to raise funds that we were creating, and it all brought us here. I’ve started at Race Across America back in 1998, it was a brazilian 2-person team, Shortly after, came back with a Solo athlete, he tried, but did not finish the race. Then I was invited to be crew chief for 4-person teams, And that proved to be actually really viable, generally all 4-person teams finish the race. So during these 20 years I’ve been invited to other teams, have been here with 2 person teams, 4 person teams, we had a very good result with RS1 team back in 2015, They actually hold the Brazilian record for 4 person team at RAAM. We also hold the Brazilian record for 2 person teams with Galindez and Galvão, So record on 2 person, record on 4 person, as a crew chief, and now We don’t hold the solo record, but we’re happy to have finished RAAM with a solo athlete. So, 2 person, 4 person and solo, we’ve managed to get to the finish. The idea now is to have an 8 person team so, we’ll have been here in all of RAAM categories. [2 days to start the race] Two days before the start of the race, the team works on the support vehicles, making sure every detail is thought ahead. We have to minimize the unforeseen probably present in a 3000 mile race. While part of the team get the stickers set to the cars, the other go and buy everything we will need during the first days in the race. Beverage, food, higiene items, everything so the RV need to stop as little as possible during the race. The vehicles are stuffed with everything the team will need. It’s also time for navigators to study the route, as a single mistake can disqualify the whole team. RAAM has a well defined turn-to-turn route, and the cyclist has to go through all the time stations along the route. It’s all monitored by GPS. [one day to start the race] Besides the inspections, today is a briefing day, media meeting, crew chiefs meeting, everything to make sure the teams cause the least impact to communities along the route, and also for the cyclist safety and support staffs. At this time, all the rules are made clear, how to proceed in route changes and emergencies. We’re at the crew chiefs meeting, where the organizers make all the rules clear, so, they choose the most important points regarding rules, if there’s anything new from last year, and they inform us, so we can get our teams informed too. Some important points, as making sure the lights are on all day long, for the cars and the bikes, not leaving trash behind, and of course, the safety cautions. … during the night, from 7 pm to 7 am, the car must follow the cyclist… After 8 months getting ready, when we didn’t have even 2 brazilian reals to pay for entrey fee, Patricia introduces me to Mixirica, and say “well, let’s take him to RAAM?” I said “sure”. As that was an easy task. Well, we’re at the parking lot, where cars wait ready to departure. They’ve started calling teams to line up at the official departing point. All cars stay aligned, and they depart in 1 minute intervals. First the cyclist, then the follow vehicle. After that, we follow the cyclist for some meters, then he goes through a cycling path, and cars follow another route. He then rides unsupported for around 35 kilometers and then we meet, so the team can start supporting him properly. including nutrition, hydration and so on. Finally the team hit the road. At the first time station, we can feel already the horrible desert heat, and the team lower the adrenalin and focus on each one’s tasks. First day is like a “fitting” one. There are so many miles ahead, and the cyclist will not stop anytime soon. First night brought us the first problem. The follow vehicle had a flat tire and rode all night in spare tire, so the team could fix it in the morning. Any vehicle problem can be very serious, because during the night, it’s mandatory to have a follow vehicle right behind the rider, for safety. To fix that, the team used the first stop the cyclist did, 22 hours after starting in Oceanside. Right now, sleep privation also start taking its toll. The body is not yet adapted to the work shifts of 12 hours working and 6 hours sleeping. The heat, more than 117ºF while crossing the desert is the cyclist’s main enemy during these first days, the support team has to be alerto to dehydration signs and make sure the nutrition really well adjusted. The team reached Utah, third state in the route, and one of the most beautiful points of the race, riding right beside the iconic Monument Valley. I’m ok, now the sun rose, I”m just fine. Buchidid, how’s Mixi doing? He’s fine. 10 more minutes and he’ll be back riding. Brought coffee to staff. Thanks! What do you think of using the standard wheel? tubular tires, just for climbing, then we swap it for closed disc to downhill. Basically, this is what we do. We check the bikes, so he can keep riding it, after some rest, with a clean, well set bike, as he likes it, and as good as it can be. Mixi is really really tired, Beto is explaining to him what can happen if we don’t reach the next time stations inside the time cut. That was a long night for the team. And now facing cold next to 35ºF, the body pays the price for the contrast with the desert for the previous days. For the rider, sleep privation is one of the toughest challenges. Up until now, he slept only 6 hours, for the last 4 days. …it’s hard to breathe… [coughs] We’re getting the bike ready to start day 5, We finished day 4 with 3 mountains, one was 8000 feet, another one was 10000 feet high, Now he’s resting for one hour only, and we’ll start day 5 pushing hard, to finish well placed. Now we just got a storm alert for the next miles, so, we’ll get him well dressed, get the rain cover, He was sleeping, so his body was warm, Temperature is fine, but it’s getting colder during the night, probably. And with rain, it will get colder much faster. One important thing here, is never drag the cyclist into problems that we’re having along the way. For example: Patricia yesterday got sick, had diarrhea, vomiting, she was dehydrated, feeling weak, and she couldn’t perform well her duties, because she was in really bad shape. We didn’t even let the rider know about it. so he could remain focused, and not worried. RAAM is a 12 day race, 3000 miles, so problems will show up. There are unpredictable things, or even predictable, actually, but we have to deal with them real quick. This is the point. There’s a problem, find the solution. There’s no way to question who did it, what caused it, Is there a problem? Solve it. Deal with it. The faster we get it solved, the less it will sum up with a second possible problem, so, we’ll deal with problems as soon as they appear, as fast as we can. Crossing Kansas, we keep the good rhythm. The support team is now well adapted, and workshifts and sleep shifts are now more natural. The temperature is nice and that makes the rider sustain a good pace. The most important at RAAM is to keep gaining ground. What was incredibly far away, is no longer that far. Days go by very fast, and the routine makes it all easier now. Rain has just started, it’s actually a good thing, so it keep him cool somehow. We’re alert and ready, in case we need to replace rain cover, cap, even handing him clean glasses, hydration, anything. We’re getting close to the end of the race, and it’s easy to see the whole team is tired. Now the rider needs the best support and motivation, to avoid mistakes that compromise all the work done so far. But it’s so incredible what a focused team and a strong rider can do together. Victory at RAAM is not only physical, it’s mental. The discomfort, sleep privation, complicated nutrition, it all gets less important as the team fastly approaches the end of the race. Team RAAMBRASIL will finish the race in 11 days, 4 hours, 54 minutes. And the arrival in Annapolis is really emotional. The biggest lesson here is that nobody get anything alone, and Race Across America is never solo.