Thursday, June 12, 2008

Talking to Rob's mom... and to Rob

Rob's mom, Jean, called me tonight to get the real scoop on Rob. She spoke to Rob and Kate this morning, but she wasn't sure she got the whole story.

I told her that since I was not in the van behind Rob, I was in no position to contradict what they were telling her.

Jeanie does know, however, that I have crewed for all of Rob's previous races and know how to read the numbers and read between the lines. So this is what I said to her:

He's slower than he planned and he's had some pretty serious challenges thrown at him. So far, he has stiff-armed each of those challenges and is staying on the bike and is improving.

His goal of finishing Tuesday is almost certainly out of the question and he knows that. Rob is smarter than all of us put together and even he, with his addled, sleep-deprived brain, knows the score. He's been at this game since 1994.

She asked me if I think he will finish. I said absolutely yes. In fact, I think he can finish late Wednesday night if his body cooperates and he stays on the bike. As of this writing, his average speed has gone up considerably and that's what matters.

I remember the first RAAM in 1996. I was watching my best friend suffer mightily and it was painful. The following year, I got over that. As Kate likes to remind him - Rob chose to do this. Nobody forced him.

So what would I say to him if I were there now, crewing for him? I would say:

"Man-up, nancy-boy. How about this: You keep your ass on the bike and ride for the next six days. After it's over, you can sit and watch pre-season college football and RAAM videos for the rest of the summer, until you get pasty-white, fat and doughy and bask in the knowledge that you are, without question, one of the toughest bullheads any of us has ever known. Now RIDE!"

That's what I would say.

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