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Day 11: We Can Almost Smell the Atlantic!


Editor’s Note: Tim Case is in Maryland at last, less than a day away from finishing the Race Across America. This is a solo bike race that will have him cross the United States pedaling nearly non stop. He left Oceanside, Calif., June 8 and had completed 2,790 miles by 11:09 a.m. Thursday, passing through La Vale, Md., on his way to Hancock, Md. His team checks in with us daily. Tim is riding for Team Strong Heart to raise money and awareness for Camp Odayin, which is dedicated to serving children with severe heart problems.

Were pushing him hard. We are almost there!

We’ve renamed Tim, he is our super hero. We drive up the hill and we are singing “Go Bike Man, Go.” We call him Bike Man, BM for short.

Our whole life is one big continuum. Since we last talked, Gordon and I finally got a full night’s sleep. We stayed in a hotel in Chillicothe, Ohio. Tim rolled in at 6 a.m. Wednesday, took a shower and a nap and ate a big breakfast.

We started out and he was in a great mood. This area is very farmy; making it one of the most challenging parts of navigation this trip. We made one wrong turn, but there was a small RAAM sign on the ground that Tim found. He turned around quickly.

We had a little adventure, however.

We tried a three-point turn in our Excursion. When we were backing up, we started slipping down into this corn field. I thought, “Not something else.”

I immediately slammed on the breaks, threw it into Low 4-wheel drive and flew out of the field. Once again, we had a little scare.

As we were approaching Athens, Ohio, Tim was really flying. He told us he was getting to 250 miles by the night. He was really focused, and he was a really good mood. He kept waving for us to come near him so he could fire off some trivia questions.

“What band made Blackbird famous?” he asked.

“The Beatles!” I shot back.

I actually got it. I am the worst at trivia. I was pretty excited.

He was feeling really strong, and we drove through Athens, which is a beautiful college town . This was really tough terrain, there was a lot of climbing.

It was kind of just boring climbing, though. He started dozing toward the middle of the afternoon. We had to keep a close eye on him because there was a lot of traffic. It was really nerve racking.

You have to give him very specific commands. They have to really be to the point. “Tim you have to stay to the right side of the line.” It was a really stressful afternoon.

The last 20 miles of the night we were really challenging, too. Tim felt like RAAM was out to get him with all these extra hills. It was kind of funny.

We wanted to get him to 250 miles. He was very irritable; it was very frustrating. But at midnight we achieved our goal—250 miles in one day, getting him to the checkpoint at Grafton, W.Va. Tim slept for a few hours, so did we. He was up and back on the road by 4 this morning. He just passed through time station 48 (La Vale, Md.,), with the last big challenge just ahead.

There is a massive climb. The RAAM instructions warn that cyclists may have to walk their bikes at times. It’s 30 miles long and includes four, separate 1,000 foot climbs.

We are going to leap frog Tim the whole way up. Gordon and I are going to jump out of the car and cheer him on the whole way.

Motivation is so important for him. We have received so much support (calls, blog posts, emails), and it really helps Tim. We read him every one. It helps so much to get this feedback.

It’s a big part of what is keeping him going.

Our goal is to get him to the finish early tomorrow morning, if we can push him there. It’s going to be tight. We expect to finish between 6 and 7 tomorrow (4 and 5 Mountain time).

We’ll see, keep your fingers crossed.

We are already planning a big celebration in Annapolis. Eric, the crew chief, has a prior commitment in Chicago on Saturday. We were worried he may have to leave. He said, “There’s no way I am leaving Tim.”

That just shows the commitment to this team.

We’re almost there. We are just so excited. It is a lot of work. It’s a lot of work for Tim, and it’s a lot of work to push Tim.

Last night he argued with us, “Why can’t I just sleep more? Why do you keep pushing me?”

Our answer: “You choose us as a crew because you knew we could help get you there. So get your ass up and get dressed.”

Sometimes that is what it takes. He’ll thank us for it when he crosses the finish line in Annapolis tomorrow.

I’ll update you from the celebration.

Michelle Pearl, Tim’s girlfriend and crew member. Dictated to Jacob Harkins.

Other Posts:
Some thoughts from Tim
The Finish
Day 11 1/2
Day 11
Day 9
Day 8
Day 7
Day 6
Day 5
Day 4
Day 3
Day 2

Day 1

See our story on Tim’s quest.

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