I'll leave you all with some numbers tonight to think about.
RAAM is all about the numbers: average speed, miles per hour, miles per day. As a former Morlock crew member, I loved crunching the numbers for Rob and he enjoys hearing about it over the PA system. I have to say that it's much easier to run the numbers sitting here in Connecticut in front of the computer, as opposed to while riding shotgun in the pace van.
Rob's had a rough couple of days due to heat and automobile problems. Yet, he is still at about 297 miles per 24 hours average over the first three days. Not where he wants to be (300+), but given the difficulties of the last 30 hours, pretty darned impressive.
His average speed plummeted yesterday due to that long sleep break while the crew re-fitted the shuttle van to become the pace van that follows Rob.
Something caught my eye tonight as he went through the Chama, NM, time station tonight:
His overall average speed is starting to inch back up. And that is AFTER getting into Chama, which had some pretty tough climbing. It tells me that he is finding his legs again and getting back into the groove. And with 2000 miles to go, that gives him plenty of runway to just stay steady and gain ground.
Something else to consider: As of this writing, Rob is sitting 13th overall among the men.
The difference between 13th (Morlock) and 6th (Jones) is two hours, 20 minutes as of time station 16. There are six guys less than an hour in front of Rob. Hmmmmm.
I haven't spent the time analyzing when each of these racers will have to take their next sleep break. And, of course, Rob will have to stop and rest again some time tonight as well.
The point of all this is that it is a long race. With two thirds still to go, the standings will change countless times.
The key factor for Rob is keeping that overall average speed solid. He is currently at 12.41 mph overall. In his last RAAM in 2000, he finished 8th overall with an average speed of 11.82. He needs to ride smart and consistent. He has some fierce climbing coming up tonight and tomorrow (Thursday). In fact, as I type this, he will be approaching the highest point in the entire race - La Manga Pass at 10,275 feet.
If he were able to to sustain 12.00 mph for the whole race, that would put him in Annapolis in about 10.5 days or around 3:00 am on Thursday, June 19. That would be a really great crossing.
Of course, this is all silly speculation at this early stage. But Rob likes to know the numbers and if I get a chance to speak to him or a member of the crew tomorrow, I will let him know what I have written here.
Rob has a lot of time, a lot of miles and a lot of strength and courage at his disposal. It will be great watching the next third of the race unfold!