Divas win RAAM
The Sooner State has a new fan in Vail B2B Divas cyclist Linda Guerrette.”We had a huge tailwind in Oklahoma,” she said. “I never thought Oklahoma would be exciting for me, but it was.”It was an exciting week and fans, friends, and curious onlookers cheered the all-women Vail B2B Divas across the finish line at Kennedy Plaza in Atlantic City, N.J. at 2:15 p.m. MDT Monday to win the Race Across America.
Early in the race, the Divas effortlessly pulled away from category contenders Team Frauleins by outpacing the Frauleins with an average speed nearly two mph more. The Divas crossed the country in 6 days, 23 hours, and 15 minutes, averaging 17.69 mph.The Divas experienced it all making the journey from San Diego to Atlantic City, crossing through 15 states. “”There was a huge variety of terrain, extremes in temperature, I felt quite unprepared for both,” Wendy Lyall said. “Waking up in a new state and being told to get on the bike by new crew members, the surreal experience of that magnifies what a huge thing this is.”
“This is an amazing country,” Guerrette said. “The stuff we went through in West Virginia at night had awesome descents. In all dimensions, you can imagine everyone was tested at one time.”Though Vail cruised to victory over the Germans – the team’s lead was 1 day, 4 hours, 47 minutes and rising Tuesday – this was by no means a cakewalk. The Divas confronted numerous mental and physical barriers during the coast-to-coast ride.”I didn’t need to spend any more time on my bike than was absolutely necessary,” Heather Sappenfield said. “It’s a great experience that’s difficult physically and mentally. The personal interaction between everybody there together in an enclosed space trying to get this thing done and do it well tests your mental and spiritual well-being and asks, ‘How big can you be?'”
“There were moments I wasn’t sure I would make it back on my bike,” Kerry White said. “I had muscle spasms in my hamstrings, but overall I felt pretty good.”Though the Vail foursome gets the RAAM title, the team’s crew also deserves the glory.”We had people on our crew who gave up two weeks of their job to come out here and suffer,” White said. “No sleep, no pay, running out of gas – panic after panic – but in the end, they got to be very good.”
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.