Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Radio Blackout

I have received a few emails from people asking why the GPS tracker is working intermittently.

The crew and Rob are aware of this and the reason is simple: They are in a cell phone "No Man's Land." Large swaths of the RAAM course travel through desolate parts of this great nation.

The GPS tracking device from www.myathlete.biz, which is incredibly cool, relies on cellphone towers to relay its location back to the Internet so that we can all see exactly where Rob has stopped to take a leak. If there is no cell service, well, there ya' go.

Furthermore, like actual cell phones, while the device is searching for a cell phone tower, it runs the batteries down faster than if it had constant service. So, the crew will keep the batteries charged and focus on getting it up and running when they are traveling through the more populated areas of the course. It will get better and better and they head east.

Also, because of the lack of cell service, I have not been able to get in touch with the pace van for most of the day. Rob likes to get race updates and stats, which I try to phone in regularly to the pace van crew so that they can pass along to Rob via the PA system. (This is one of the jobs of the navigator - to keep Rob entertained. I did a lot of it in my three RAAMs crewing for Rob, but that was back in the days before cell phone service and indoor plumbing so it was much harder to get information. So most of the time, I just made it up. What did Rob know? He was half out of his mind from sleep deprivation.)

I am sure Rob is pestering his crew for information as I type this and as soon as they are back in cell phone range, my phone will ring.

Stay tuned.

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