June 25, 2007

The privilege of crewing RAAM

Extract of an e-mail from Richard Philabaum - a true gentleman and fabricator extraordinaire and able to sleep anywhere anytime. We all endorse his kind words

"I had the opportunity to crew RAAM for Team Velokraft. Having followed RAAM for a number of years I jumped at the chance to crew after seeing Tim Woudenberg’s ad in the Bentrider Classifieds. After contacting Tim and David Bradley I was selected for the Team. I was also asked to design and fabricate the rack to hold the NoComs on the Leap Frog Van.

My crew duties had me on all three of our support vehicles at one time or other throughout the race. This put me in a unique position to watch our Team at work as well as move through the pack and see other teams during the race. It was certainly an experience of a lifetime. I met many interesting people and hope I made some lasting friendships.

I would like to thank everyone for their contribution to the Team and my first RAAM experience.

My thanks to all of the members of Team Velokraft:

Glenn Druery – Glenn is a tenacious, driven competitor with TRUE GRIT. I will miss his wonderful sense of humor and propensity for fun. He maintained this sense of humor in the face of adversity as well. Glenn also had an endless supply of amusing cycling stories to tell. I would crew for him again.

Tim Woudenberg – Tim, while quieter and more reserved then Glenn is still the consummate long distance racer. This quiet determination and drive was a constant inspiration to everyone. He maintained a cheerful, driven attitude throughout the race. His constant compliments to the crew where wonderful for us. I loved our phone conversations before we met in person. Tim is interested in EVERYTHING. I am looking forward to talking with him about his work and other interests in the future.

David Bradley – As Team Chief, David had an awesome responsibility. I admired him for keeping his temper through out all the difficulties RAAM had to offer. A special thanks to David for making it possible for me to stop in Midland Texas on the way back from RAAM. The visit I had with David Eggleston and his wife Lois was wonderful. I have a Flevo Alleweder kit on order from him.

Phil Bradley – Phil’s previous RAAM experience was a great help to us all. Good luck on your collegiate cycling!

Mark Carrington – I loved Mark’s many stories about his life experiences. He passed up many hours of sleep during RAAM to keep the fans updated via the tweeter and blog. He did a wonderful job creating the Team’s web site. His computer skills and journalistic flare was a tremendous asset to the Team.

David Cohen – David stepped into the breach to apply expert first aid for both riders after many crashes. He also did a great job of navigation for me when I drove the Team’s RV Support Vehicle. I enjoyed meeting his family and talking with him about his work and Power Tool Drag Racing hobby.

Dennis Cook – Dennis did a wonderful job as RV Captain. He maintained the vehicle expertly and got us across the country in a safe, sane manner. We shared many hours of pleasant conversation and I hope built a friendship for the future. Dennis is a great guy and very much the Gentleman. Thanks again Dennis!

James Druery – James did a great job of putting up with all us “Old Farts”! He was great to talk to and did a wonderful job of cooking for his dad, Glenn. James' support for his dad was instrumental in Glenn’s success. My hat’s off to James for soldiering on through what would be uncomfortable circumstances for some people.

Tom Kingsbury – Tom’s previous RAAM experience was very helpful to the Team. Tom was tireless in his support of the riders. I wish we had had more time to talk about his 2006 RAAM experience with Tim. Hope to talk to you again, Tom.

Fernando Mandujano – Fernando is the consummate bicycle mechanic. He did double duty as driver for the Leap Frog Van as well. He is quite the gentleman and I hope to work with him again in the future.

Vicki Pelton – Vicki’s constant enthusiasm was a boost to the riders throughout RAAM. She also helped David Cohen administer first aid to the riders when needed and shared driving and navigation duties with me in the Pace Van.

I would also like to thank the other people who helped outside of the RAAM crew:

Kathy Wasserlien – Kathy is my lovely lady friend. Her support of my dream of participating in RAAM was great.

Dana Lieberman – It was wonderful to finally meet Dana in person. His sponsorship of the Team was essential to the Team’s success. It was a boon that he let Fernando take the time off from his duties to support the team in person.

Jonathon Dietch – I have e-mailed back and forth with Jon for sometime now. It was great to finally meet in person. Jon did yeoman service updating things through my lady friend Kathy after I dropped my phone in Arizona during a bike hand off and his computer skills where an asset to us all. Looking forward to working and playing with you in the future Jon!

Dan Langmade – My boss Dan was generous (as always!) to contribute the materials to construct the Team’s NoCom rack. He also allowed me to take time off work even when I had no vacation time available. I have not worked for a nicer, more generous, understanding boss in my life. I am looking forward to working for you as long as you will have me.

Jose Moura and the Brazilian Four Man RAAM Team – Jose found my Motorola Q Phone where I dropped it in Arizona during a bike hand off. He tracked me down through my friend Kathy and transported my phone to Atlantic City where he returned it to me. Jose was a wonderful gentleman. I am sorry we did not have more time to get to know each other. Thanks again Jose!

Phil Plath, John Schlitter, and all of the Bacchetta B Team – I was able to observe both of these great competitors first hand. It was an inspiration. The rest of the B team was always friendly and gracious when we encountered them. All in all, worthy competitors. I would have been equally proud to have crewed for the B Team.

The Staff of RAAM and all the RAAM volunteers – Last but not least my compliments to all of the RAAM staff and volunteers who make this monumental event possible. Your efforts are well appreciated.

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