The adventure is over and Team 450 are now (hopefully) catching up on sleep and returning to regular life activities after a hectic, challenging and ultimately very rewarding life experience.
RAAM 2012 was an amazing mix of focus, determination and grit by all involved. To witness Paul’s battle against all odds was an incredible honour. I will always have in my heart the vision of his indefatigable battle against all odds when in his most challenged physical state: a neck that no longer worked, a field of view of only feet versus the necessary yards to ride in a clear and confident manner and back muscles that strained against his will to move forward and constantly begged for rest.
Paul, you are an amazing man & I consider it such an honour to have been selected as your crew chief for this epic adventure. The next time I run into difficulties in my life I will always have your sucessful battle to remind me that no matter how challenging it is that “this too shall pass” & to keep pressing ahead.
Many countless hours of preparation went into our efforts long before the race ever began & there are many people I would personally like to thank for their help in getting us to the start line. If I have neglected to include anyone please forgive my omission and demand a free beer the next time we meet. 🙂
Jason & Kimberly Carter in Laguna Niguel who took on the task of obtaining the hundreds of items on our monumental RAAM supplies shopping list & also the preparation of whole foods to get us on the road. Our journey would have been insanely hectic prior to the start if it weren’t for your week of searching for items in between work and family responsibilities. The items you kindly obtained for us were put to good use indeed!
Christopher Young for your expertise in electronics & audio. With his limited field of view, Paul simply would not have been able to negotiate the myriad of obstacles in the road had we not had the top notch audio gear you selected & customized to aid in communicating the hazards ahead. Thank you also for your efforts to help me solve the “Shermer’s Neck Challenge”.
Ron McEwen for helping me to get our medical expert, Greg Gannon, PhD on board who was the perfect fit for the task both before and during the race.
Vanessa Cudmore at Specialized Bicycles in California who when asked for a “buddy deal” on some water bottles stepped up big time & sent us a case of 50 Specialized Purist water bottles at no charge, they were awesome!
The great crew at Racer Sportif, Toronto for supplying, prepping & getting the Aquila Bikes to the start line in an efficient & timely manner.
Robert Blain & the crew at Rock N’ Road Cyclery in Laguna Niguel for your professional and efficient receiving & rebuilding of our bikes.
Friends & relatives who helped us along the way to the start.
To My Crew:
Hannah Spence: Thank you for your tireless pursuit of detail & ultimately essential communication skills during the race that kept this rolling circus on track with style and humor. You had my back as a fellow crew chief once the gun went off in Oceanside & we’re all very grateful that you were on this journey with us to cross the T’s and dot the I’s once we settled into our inherent capabilities to “get it done”!
Greg Gannon: Dude you rock! Your 25 years of athlete coaching, training and race strategy gave us the necessary foundation on which to launch & execute this very ambitious campaign. It was great to see how you clicked with Paul and kept him on track nutritionally, statistically and mentally through the myriad of challenges we met en route.
Leeanne Koczka: Every team going to RAAM needs a Leenane! As the RMT of our team you soon found out that RAAM demands much, much more than just keeping the rider functioning via massage. You tirelessly prepped, organized, communicated (in such a nice, peace-making way) & generally did everything in your power to keep us going while maintaining a great attitude. I especially want to thank you for your enduring humor & patience as you put up with two middle-aged men who quite frequently forgot they were not 10 years old!
Predrag Joksimovic: Calm, dependable & quietly humorous are a few of the words I would use to describe you. After learning to pronounce your real name it became even more satisfying to learn what a great resourceful guy you are. Thanks for keeping the wheels rolling & the momentum moving forward!
Greg Paupst: Mr. “PappaRAAMzi” & our official recorder of every moment no matter what time of day or what he’s doing kind of guy. Thanks for all your hard work while dragging about that 100-pound camera bag of yours. We’re all looking forward to seeing more of the great shots & video you took en route. If they’re anything like what I’ve seen on the blog I know we’ll all be able top re-live our journey together by your amazing photos for years to come.
Anthea Millar: The ultimate team player is what I would call you. Paul is incredibly lucky to have such a supportive, savvy, understanding wife & mother to his children. You are to be congratulated not only for your tireless support of Paul’s ambitions on the bike but also for your humor and calmness (ok, apparent calmness!) & your willing efficiency getting us what we needed enroute while juggling a million things back on the home front.
Simply put, it has been an honor.
Cheers & Thanks,
Crew Member, Team Paul Millar