Meet The Racers 2011

Always one of my favorite blog entries! For 2011 we have a number of new faces to the RAO roster. For those of you I don’t know, I’ve stalked you a bit on Google to see what I can come up with to warn the other racers of your prowess. And, as always, if you didn’t respond to our query and I’m unable to find any search results I’ll just make something up about you…

Men’s Solo
100 Mick Walsh – Seattle, WA
This will be Mick’s third Race Across Oregon. He has never lost this race and doesn’t plan on breaking that streak in 2011. Mick was on the winning 4 man relay team in 2009 and is the defending solo champion from 2010. Walsh is coming off a difficult Race Across the West which is going to make him even tougher at RAO. The predicted cool temperatures are welcomed by the affable Irish climbing machine. So far this year Mick set a 2 person relay record at the TX Hill Country 600k, raced a full OBRA schedule, won the Lewis & Clark 12 hour and logged an official finish at Race Across the West. If Mick’s stomach cooperates he will have an excellent race.

101 Dean Kindorf – Lowell, OR
Dean is an RAO rookie and is looking at this as a one time deal. Hopefully he’ll become hooked on the sport and end up draining thousands of dollars into the RAO coffers. Dean went for a training ride from the Imperial River Company and enjoyed the route so much he decided to go ahead and register. I’ve enjoyed some great phone conversations with Dean this year and I hope our lone Oregonian solo racer will have a blast and log a strong finish.

103 Ian Fillinger – Kamloops, CANADA
Like Mick, Ian is back for his third RAO. Heat got to Ian in 2009 forcing him out of the race between Heppner and Dale. He came back in 2010 and bagged his official finish. Ian is as fast as anyone and has been with the leaders in his previous RAOs. Ian took first place last May at the Lewis & Clark 24. The Canadian will benefit from this year’s cooler temps and should prove a force to be reckoned with. Be sure to wish him a “Happy Birthday” on route :)

104 Andre’-Paul Michaud – Durango, CO
Google search shows Andre’-Paul is a veteran of the Hoodoo 500 and Planet Ultra doubles. As he is from Durango, I think it’s safe to say Dr. Michaud will have no problems with the climbs! He also has a couple of Dura Ace cranksets for sale on the Durango Wheel Club Trading post – check ‘em out!

105 Bryce Walsh – Chicago, IL
Another fast Walsh. Bryce was both a top ten finisher at Race Across America (RAAM) and the first place solo finisher at the Fireweed 400 a couple of years ago. He has not slowed with age. Bryce placed fourth at this year’s TX Hill Country 600 (which wasn’t shabby at all when you consider Marko Baloh was first, Chris Ragsdale 2nd and Kurt Searvogel 3rd) where he had the stomach flu, hadn’t slept in weeks and was pedaling with one leg all while towing his crew in a Burley trailer. Walsh then SMOKED the field at the 2011 Calvin’s Challenge. While new to RAO, Bryce is in prime shape to make a run at victory in the Northwest.

111 Dave Preston – Kirkland, WA
I met Dave at last December’s Seattle RAAM Seminar. Preston had recently completed Ride the Divide. RtD is an unsupported mountain bike race along the Continental Divide. He raced RAAM 2011 as part of a 2 person relay team but his Team Simple Mobile was unable to complete the event due to physical issues. Dave is in top form having trained up for RAAM and is raring to race. This will be his first supported solo event. I was able to see Preston race quite a bit as RAAM passed through Arizona where he was quite impressive.

150 Brian Martin – Kelowna, BC CANADA
Another RAO threepeat. We love Brian – not that our emotional attachment to the guy will win him any favors – he’s a great family man and MD who will also benefit from cooler temperatures in 2011. Brian finished one of the wettest RAOs in its’ 14 year history when he competed on a 2 man relay in 2004. I will never forget him riding toward Government Camp in a torrential (and freezing) downpour. He showed his mettle again in 2009 by completing the course beyond the cut-off after being slowed by some freakishly powerful headwinds. Brian swore to come back to nab an official finish and, after watching him ride at our April Training Camp, I believe he will do just that.

151 Valerio Zamboni – Monte Carlo, Monaco
Valerio is out for blood this year – I’m not sure there’s an endurance bicycle race he hasn’t done since January. I’m not kidding. After completing Race Around Ireland last September, I believe he was at Sebring in February, he won the 50+ Division at the 2011 TX Hill Country 600k, finished Heart of the South and Montello 24 in April, not sure if he was at Dos Ras in May but he had an excellent finish at Race Across America in June. Okay, so he didn’t do Race Across the West – since that runs in conjunction with RAAM I’ll cut him some slack. Zamboni is amazingly fit this year and, if his legs have recovered enough from his June 3,000 mile RAO training ride, he will do very, very well. *Update – Valerio can not attend this year’s RAO and has withdrawn.

155 Jerry Arnold – Valentine, NE
Jerry is a wild card for me. I have Nebraska roots so I’m pulling for the Cornhusker to be our first Nebraskan finisher. We’ve corresponded frequently so I know the man is well organized. He was very humble in his response to our resume query so I won’t heap any sarcasm on Mr. Arnold – only wish him a wonderful race :)

Women’s Solo
120 Karen Armstrong – Spokane, WA
Armstrong was our first place solo woman in 2009 and finished 2nd to Leah Goldstein in 2010…however, that still placed her third overall behind only Mick Walsh and Leah. Karen has won The 508, RAO, Ring of Fire and plenty more. She rode with a vengeance at the April RAO Training Camp far outpacing the SAG stops and all the guys as well. She is fit, fast and out to win in 2011. If things fall her way, Karen could very well be our first female to win overall.

121 Leah Goldstein – Vancouver, BC
One of the greatest cyclists I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. Leah is a former professional racer and former member of the Canadian National Cycling Team. Having won literally hundreds of races, Goldstein set her sights on the endurace cycling world. I don’t think she has lost an ultra that she’s entered. Goldstein is a two time winner of The 508, defending RAO champion (2nd overall and racing with two broken arms – I am not kidding), defending Ring of Fire champ (racing on a broken frame – again, no kidding) and, oh yeah, she just won the women’s solo division of the 2011 Race Across America. I can’t imagine having enough recovery time to be competitive at RAO after completing RAAM just a few weeks prior. But, if anyone can do so, it would be Leah.

122 Ivy McIver – Salt Lake City, UT
What a year to be a rookie – your field includes Armstrong, Goldstein, Hogan and Genovesi. However, if the intimidation factor can be overcome, what an opportunity to ride with the best in the sport! Check out Ivy’s Facebook Page and you’ll find one determined bike racer. Ivy should have no problem with the constant climbs as she’s been spending so much training time in Cottonwood Canyon and the surrounding Wasatch. I honestly believe our rookie is going to turn some heads – and not just because she has such cool matching reflective vest and arm warmers :)

123 Daniela Genovesi – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Daniela has not rested on her laurels since winning the women’s solo division of the 2009 Race Across America. This Spring the Brazilian had top finishes at the Sebring 24 and Italy’s Montello 24. Genovesi not only won the April Montello she set two course records in the process: fastest lap by a woman and greatest distance by a woman. Daniela seems to get stronger as a race progresses which will be an asset at RAO as our course increases in difficulty the farther one rides. About the only ‘weakness’ I see in Genovesi is that fact that she hasn’t seen the RAO course whereas Goldstein and especially Armstrong have logged quite a few miles on the route.

128 Seana Hogan – Valley Springs, CA
What an honor to have the Queen of Ultra Cycling come to RAO! Seana is a 6 time RAAM Champion, RAAM record holder, transcontinental record holder, Seattle to San Diego record holder (men and women), 508 champion/record holder and RAO rookie. Seana has been training hard for this race and it is going to be a true pleasure watching her spin a 56×11 on our course ;) I’ve known Hogan since 1993 when our winning 4 man relay team couldn’t catch her during the ’93 Race Across America. Strong, fast, experienced and as tough as anyone – this is going to be an amazing race.

148 Suzanne Nowlis – Seattle, WA
Nowlis may be an RAO rookie but she is a PHENOMENAL triathlete. Like all the other women in our field, Suzanne is among the top finishers male or female at her events. If Suzanne is able to avoid rookie mistakes i.e. not lose her speed advantage through wasted time off the bike she will do very well. A quick Google search shows she’s been getting her distance training in with the Seattle Randos – the same group Chris Ragsdale and Mick Walsh spend a lot of time with.

160 Rebecca Smith – Washougal, WA
Becky Smith – out to become our first 60+ woman to finish RAO. Becky placed 2nd overall at RAO 2003, did very well at the 508 that fall but suffered some knee injuries during that race. Smith entered RAAM soon thereafter and made it all the way to the Mississippi River before being stopped due to physical problems. She stopped cycling for a few years and took up competitive target shooting. She has now set her sites on RAO 2011. If she’s fully recovered, Becky will give the whippersnappers a run for their money!

Relay Team, Two Person, Men’s
206 Team Bryant/Mackintosh
Tim Bryant (NY, NY) is a two time RAAM finisher in the 4 person relay division. Tim teamed with Chaney Becker (Arroyo Secco, NM) to place third at the 2010 Race Across the West. Bryant and Becker rode well at RAW but were hampered by crew and logistical problems. Bryant rode much of the course at our April Training Camp and has adjusted his training accordingly. Team B/B has rounded up a strong local crew (crew chief came to Training Camp as well) and has a good shot at cracking the Aging Warriors record set last year.

Relay Team, Two Person, Mixed
200 Team Kareezmo
This is going to be one hotly contested division!!! Gregg Geser (Sisters, OR) won the solo division of RAO in 2002, took 2nd solo in 2004 (as an example of what a sportsman this guy is – he actually stopped 40 miles from the finish to talk the ailing leader back onto his bike and convinced him to continue racing. The racer remounted his bike and passed Gregg for a close victory) and later placed second in one of the closest 2 man relay races in our 14 year history. Gregg is also one of our most dedicated volunteers at DRVTT and Ring of Fire – good to have you back racing this year :) While I know Gregg well, Kara is a bit of a mystery to me. I’ve found some results from running races… Word is, when she’s not training hard for RAO, Kara dresses in red, white and blue spandex and pilots her invisible jet (named the Kareezmo) around the country solving crimes/fighting arch villains with her superhero friends.

203 Team Imperial River Racing
Chris Heron (Corvallis, OR) and Carly Heron (Hood River, OR) combine for our first ever brother/sister 2 person relay team. Founder (and multi time Ring of Fire racer for) of “Team Pear Bottom Girls”, Carly has literally trained her booty off this year and would more aptly race named after a much slimmer fruit. However, she was snapped up by Deschutes River Velo and has teamed with Chris to race in the Imperial River colors. Both Herons have had excellent results in OBRA (Chris in Collegiate as well – he races for the Oregon State team) this year – Chris having just moved up to Cat 3. Both recently did a self-crewed, on course, over night training ride and turned in an impressive time. With highly experienced crew chief Adrienne Johnson running logistics, this will be a tough duo to beat.

204 Team Canada EH
Michael Newson (Calgary, AB) and Linda Mackay (Cochrane, AB) are Canadian. Um…they ride bikes…are impossible to find on Google…and are friends with last year’s winning 2 person mixed Team Teal (Sharisse Kyle and Glen Gorie). Glen, who was seriously injured – but recovering well! – during RAW this year, sends a BIG “Hello Eh” to Newson and Mackay. When not racing RAO, Newson and Mackay drive around in a hippie van with their great dane solving spooky mysteries.

205 Team La Harmoni
Lap Lai (Vancouver, WA) is a multi-time RAO finisher. Along the way he’s won the men’s 50+ solo category (2010), completed the race in ’09 on a 4 tandem team and is now racing for the first time as part of a 2 person relay. Along with his many RAO finishes, Lai has also finished the Lewis & Clark 24 and Ring of Fire 24 on numerous occasions. He had a great race at DRVTT this past Spring. Don’t let the gentle demeanor fool you – Lap is one tough competitor. Donna Harmon (Vancouver, WA) was last seen purchasing strange little dolls resembling Carly and Chris along with numerous pins.

207 Team Raven Lunatics (Mixed Recupright – synopsis by Sandy Earl :)
Although Team Raven Lunatics has darkened RAO’s door more than once, this is the team’s first foray into recupright racing.
Headed up by the big lunatic himself, David Bradley, Team Raven Lunatics races to raise awareness of sarcoma, a modestly rare soft-tissue cancer. This year David is the crew chief/tactician on the team (David is also the RAO route book master and guru! GT), leaving the horsepower to be supplied by the dynamic duo of Bill Spaeth and Sandy Earl.
Team Raven Lunatics will be racing as true mixed-format “recupright” team. Both racers will have a both recumbent and a safety bike at the ready. David will be calling out the bike and racer changes based on his expert knowledge of the ever-changing RAO terrain and the capabilities of the racers and the bikes. Ian Hoffman, a seasoned RAO crew member, rounds out the crew.
Bill is a TRL mainstay, having raced 2X RAO and 2X and 4X Furnace Creek under the Lunatic banner (which looks suspiciously like a pirate flag). He’s a sneaky climber with hors-categorie VO2max and a secret yoga habit. He’s also a triathlete and distance runner, and recently finished second in his age group at the Napa 1/2 Ironman. When he’s not kicking his own ass, Bill teaches the best spin class in Arcata, CA – a 6AM slugfest that leaves grown men and women quivering in pools of their own fluids.
Sandy is the newcomer to the team, though she’s no stranger to RAO – this is her 12th appearance here. She’s finished RAO solo 3 times. 2X once. 5X once (yes, 5X – that’s how long she’s been at this). She’s been crew chief for 6 successful campaigns – once for a 2x team and 5 times for different solo rookies. Recently Sandy’s been a 24 hour specialist, having won all three UMCA 24-hour regional championships in 2010 with runaway wins in Sebring, FL, Davis, CA, and Glen Rose, TX. She’s raced over 400 miles in a day more often than any woman alive. By our reckoning that leaves just a little over 100 miles for Spaeth. Unfortunately for him, they’ll all be uphill.

208 Team Cristina and The Mark Machine
I was going to name these two Team Unpronounceablelastname but then they came up with one on their own. Actually we are very fortunate to have Mark Biedrzycki (Portland, OR) and Cristina Mihaescu (Portland, OR) on the 2011 roster. After being seduced by Terri Gooch into racing Ring of Fire over a bottle of wine, Mark became hooked on RAO events. This will be Mark’s 4th RAO – all of which have been raced on 2X relays. Biedrzycki is having an excellent OBRA season and we are happy to see him back at RAO. He knows the course as well as anyone and absolutely smoked DRVTT where he won his division. If possible, Cristina is having an even more phenomenal OBRA season than Mark. This is only Cristina’s second year of racing bicycles and she’s now hopping in the men’s OBRA field’s for a little extra training on race days. Mihaescu won the 2011 Lewis & Clark women’s 24 where she set a record for greatest distance by a female. Last Fall Cristina was on the record setting 2 woman relay at Ring of Fire and then had a blast riding the entire Double Trouble route. Along the way she rode with some weirdo who kept trying to talk her into racing RAO. Thank goodness she listened.

Relay Team, Two Person, Women’s
201 Team Forte Deux
Sarah Weber and Erica McKenzie both of Corvallis, OR have joined up to form our first 2 woman relay to race in a number of years. The Strong Sisters are in the mix with Cristina and Carly for OBRA results and also compete in triathlons. It’s nice to have an all Corvallis team in RAO again! As long as Sarah and Erica remember how to handle their bikes on dry pavement (the rain has been insane this year) and wear loads of sunscreen, I’m told by some long time Willamette Valley friends they will be highly competitive with all the two person teams.

Relay Team, 4 Person
Four person relay is generally the most difficult division for me to write about as I usually only know a couple of team members well. Please don’t take being left out as a slight. You can always write and tell me more info about your team :)

Men’s Open
401 Team Kronies Krew
Chris Ragsdale, Seattle, WA, Mike McHale, Seattle, WA, Bob Brudvik, Seattle, WA, Robin Peiper, Seattle, WA. 2011 RAAM finisher Jim Ryan says “Hey Brudvik – no lo mo!”. I told Ryan I’d pass that along, so there you go. Anchored by 1000 km World Record holder Chris Ragsdale, the Kronies are going to be smokin’ fast. Like Walsh, Ragsdale has never lost at RAO. He and Urs Koenig hold the overall RAO 2 person relay record and he was part of the winning 4 man team in 2009. Stated goals of the team are to ‘have a good time’. In my opinion, that’s the best kind of goal to have and it’s amazing how many racers having fun at our events end up winning. So, while we are all trying to figure out what the heck “no lo mo” means (I assume you’re trash talking Jiri Rabas, Dennis Funk, Allen Kraft, Neil Gregory or Scott Martin), The Krew will be burning up the Eastern Oregon asphalt.

402 Woodinville Bicycle
Jiri Rabas, Lynwood, WA, Thierry Douet, Woodinville, WA, Henry Rabas, Sacramento, CA, Bailey Hauswurz, Bellevue, WA. Defending 4 person champions Woodinville Bicycle took the course by storm last year. Racing as a mixed team, WB set the fastest overall time on our route. Jiri Rabas is a 60+ former member of the Czech National Team and is he ever amazing to watch on the bike. One of my personal highlights of RAO 2010 was getting to talk with Jiri during the neutral roll out. Nice person, highly competitive on the bike and I’m certain he has assembled an amazing foursome to defend Woodinville Bicycle’s title.

403 Team Cellar Rats
Dennis Funk, Vancouver, WA, Allen Kraft, Vancouver, WA, Jim Noonan, Vancouver, WA, Corey Rose, Vancouver, WA. I always say that the favorite part of my job is getting to meet and befriend the amazing people in our sport. The Cellar Rats are a perfect example of this. In one form or another, these guys have been with RAO since 1999! Allen Kraft was part of the two time winning relay North River Racing. Dennis and Corey have not only raced RAO multiple times (and won and set records), they’ve crewed and allowed Terri and I to give presentations to the Vancouver Bicycle Club. And, not only do we see them every year at RAO – but Ring of Fire and DRVTT as well. You guys are what makes this such a ‘family’. Thanks for all you do! Now, enough of the touchy, feely, emotional stuff. The Cellar Rats are out to stomp the competition and set a new 50+ four man relay record.

404 Team Bulk Handling Systems
Neil Gregory, Vancouver, WA, Jeff Stine, Portland, OR, Brock Sipe, Vancouver, WA, Logan Gregory, Vancouver, WA. This is the third RAO for Neil Gregory and Brock Sipe. These two have teamed up for two RAOs, two Ring of Fires and ripped around the Double Trouble route so quickly we couldn’t catch them until 4 miles from the Imperial River Company finish line. This will be the first time they have not flown the Washington State University colors. It’s been fun watching them grow and develop tactical experience to match their speed. These guys have always been with the leaders at the beginning of the race. Now I expect them to be there at the end as well.

Relay Team, 4 Person, Mixed Open
400 Team AARP Approved
Sally Williams, Portland, OR, Suzie Wardell, Brush Prairie, WA, Scott Martin, Camas, WA, Tom Walker, Vancouver, WA. What can we say? Love these Vancouver Bicycle Club folks!!!!! Scott Martin has crewed and volunteered for years and he now gets his chance to turn the pedals :) I will wave my AARP card everytime we drive past. This team is proof that you don’t have to be a hard core racer to come out and challenge yourself at something like RAO and have a great time doing so. I like that they are racing retro mixed – two men/two women rather than 3/1. AARP knows the route, they know what they’re doing – I expect a fine race out of them!

Let’s give a HUGE thank you to our volunteers this year:
Deirdre Greenholz, Sacramento, CA (Registration/official)
Michelle Liske, Sacramento, CA (Registration/official)
Kimberly Ferguson, Sacramento, CA (Official/vehicle inspections)
Ricky Martin, Portland, OR (Official)
Gil Sneed, Seattle, WA (transferred from volunteer to Leah Goldstein’s crew – thanks Gil!)
Robyn Sneed, Seattle, WA (Registration/Inspections)
Kevin Van Dyke, Salem, OR (Official)
Ross Muecke, Chilicothe, WA (Official)
Lena Caton, Eugene, OR (Registration/Official/Crew)
John Caton, Eugene, OR (200 mile racer/Official)
Joanne Heilinger, Salem, OR (Official)
Rob & Susie Miles, Maupin, OR (staffing the Maupin Time Station!)

Special thanks to:
Chris Ragsdale for all your work on the signage, amber lights, printing route books and medals.
Rob & Susie Miles for the primes and treats awaiting racers, crew and volunteers at the Maupin Time Station.

Extra Special thanks to David Bradley for yet another magnificent job compiling the route book!!!

Terri Gooch, Longmont, CO (Race Headquarters)
George Thomas, Longmont, CO (Race Director, head official, inspections)

Leave a comment

Hey! Where’s Sandy and Bill’s bio? I know you’ve got dirt on those two!

Posted by: Adrienne Johnson · Wednesday July 20, 2011 · #

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