RAAMdom Thoughts





RAAM 2014
Well, our journey is over! Congratulations to Joan Deitchman and the A Team for an extraordinary race. There were some ups and downs along the way, but nothing we couldn't conquer together, and at the end of the day, we succeeded as a team. I am grateful to Joan for the opportunity to be part of her journey -- and forever proud of her accomplishment. (Joan, you are incredible. Tenacious. A champion.)

So much happened during the 2+ weeks of RAAM... and not all of it was positive... but as I look back, it's the funny offbeat moments that stick out in my mind. Since the majority of my time was spent with Ingrid Hillhouse, (and sadly not with the others, since our shifts kept us somewhat isolated), many, (if not all), of my favorite moments were shared with her. Thank you, Ingrid, for the fun times. It was great to laugh with you.

xoxo,

Tam




June 25, 2015

Dear Ingrid,

Remember that time I thought I lost the car key in Fort Scott, Kansas? I searched the hotel room up and down, combed over every inch of the car, three times, looked through my duffel bag and camera bag a half dozen times... certain it had to be there, thinking I just couldn't see it? I dumped the contents of my duffle bag onto the pavement of the parking lot, combing through every article in my bag to no avail. I was at a total loss as to what happened to that key. And we were certain I had it last.

This, of course, happened after I couldn't find my phone four hours earlier. To help me locate it, you sent repeated text messages to my number, hoping someone would pick it up and return the text. And, after I gave up and fell asleep, you called the mini mart we stopped at earlier in the night to see if someone found it there. (You are the sweetest.) In the morning, you called my number one more time, and we heard it ringing in the sleep vehicle! Somehow, in my sleep deprived state, I put my cell phone in Kati's duffel bag thinking it was my own. Ugh.

So... when the missing car key turned up in your little bag... OMG. That was too funny. You felt so bad that you had the key the whole time, but I couldn't help but laugh. I knew we were friends forever.

Love you.

Tam



June 26, 2015

Dear Ingrid,

Remember the time we slept in the back of the van, in a 24-hour Walmart parking lot, and decided to blow up the air mattress? Hahaha... I think we burned an hour of our sleep shift setting up the mattress. It didn't fit well in the van, but you were so determined to make it fit. It curved up at the ends and we both rolled to the center. It felt like a waterbed, didn't it? Wasn't it nice that the tractor-trailer truck parked next to us kept the engine running all night? It kinda put me to sleep!! And brushing my teeth in the Walmart bathroom at 3 in the morning was pretty special too. Hahahahahahahaha..... memories.

xoxo

Tam



June 27, 2015

Dear Ingrid,

Remember when I picked up the turtle and it peed on me?

Ya. That was unexpected.

T.



June 28, 2015

Dear Ingrid,

Remember the time we decided we weren't going to let our training slide, and would get in our workouts during RAAM? I thought maybe I'd try running, (haha!), and you suggested P90X might be the way to go? You brought a book(!) and we gave it a trial run during our pre-RAAM weekend, before everyone else in the house woke up. (Well, except for Dex... he may have been awake. He was an early riser.) Anyway, we brought towels down to the beach and worked out in the early morning fog. That was.... uhhhh.... fun.

Hahahahaha... who knew that that would be the only workout we'd get during all of RAAM?! I've done the math... and let's see...  24 hour day – 8 hour follow shift – 8 hour errand shift – 2 hour drive (to sleep destination) + 4 hours sleep – 2 hour drive to meet follow shift x 12 days = 48 hours of sleep in just under 2 weeks. P90X??!! What were we thinking?

Love,

Tam



June 29, 2015



Dear Ingrid,

Remember the time you put on that chicken costume?

Ya. I remember it too. Hahahahaha

xoxo,

Tam



June 30, 2015


Dear Ingrid,

Remember the time you flashed me the peace sign but forgot a finger?

I remember that too.

xoxoxo

T



July 1, 2015


Dear Ingrid,

Remember singing karaoke to Joan over the PA system? Hahahahaha... You're SO FANCY... even though you sang country music.

Love,

Tam



July 2, 2015

Dear Ingrid,

Do you remember that windy day, when Mike saw a shoe blowing down the road?

Bwahahahaha....

Love, Tam



July 3, 2015

Dear Ingrid,

Do you remember eating the rotisserie chicken while parked along the side of the road in Kansas? The wind was howling and the skies were really amazing as the sun was setting behind us over the prairie. That was pretty cool. Thanks for helping me stay paleo on our journey.

Love, Tam



July 4, 2014

Dear Ingrid,

Happy Independence Day! How amazing was our cross country journey? We saw it all, from sea to shining sea. What an incredible adventure to share with you and Joan, Mike and Kati, Dex and Joni, and the night crew! From the fun times in Oceanside, through the blistering heat of the Arizona and Utah deserts... the cold climbs through the Colorado Rockies... reaching Kansas and Missouri and the beautiful countryside of Ohio and Pennsylvania... the Appalachian Mountains... Gettysburg and Annapolis... all of it incredible. Pretty spectacular.

'MERICA

Tam



July 5, 2015

Dear Ingrid,

Remember this girl ? ^^^^^^^^^^^^ Damn. She totally kicked ass.

Love her.

Tam



July 6, 2015

Dear Ingrid,

Remember how Joni just always knew what to do and would take command whenever it was needed? But always in the nicest possible way? Talk about a ROCK STAR. I knew I loved her when she climbed up on top of the van to get the TT bike down. I mean, how cool was she??  If Joni were, like, the head of our tribe, I'd follow her to the open crater of a volcano and jump in if she told me to. (Well... maybe I'd think about it first. But you know what I'm sayin'.) She's just totally boss. Love her, too.

xo, Tam



July 7, 2015

Dear Ingrid,

Remember the time Joan's Tractalis GPS unit died in Congress, after taking a dip in the wading pool? I called HQ and reported the Tractalis dead, and was told it "couldn't be dead" because they could "see us on the course." (Uhhhh.... sure... but the track isn't actually moving??????) For some reason, no one at HQ seemed to care, and they brushed me off several other times when I tried to get the GPS fixed or replaced.

Wasn't it funny that a week later, after the race between Joan and Janice became competitive, that someone from RAAM HQ decided to get Joan a new GPS -- and met us on the course with a new Tractalis? I wonder if they would have been as lax, if say, Christoph Strasser's GPS stopped working? Hmmmm...

Tam



July 8, 2012


Dear Ingrid,

Remember when you told me that you ran into my pal Florian in Congress, and learned that Stefan crashed coming down the glass elevator? That sucked. But thanks for telling me. Those guys were great.

Tam


July 9, 2015

Dear Ingrid,

Remember meeting all of the cool people we did on our adventure? Like Morten's crew, who, during the race, invited us to all sit together at the RAAM banquet when the race was over? And Keith Wolcott's crew, who we ran into a few times at several time stations? And Team Korea, who gave me a mini-tour of the back of their vehicle. (So many noodles!) So much fun. And of course, Team PJ! (PJ's dad was so nice!) It was sad when we learned PJ and Morten DNF'd.

But really, you shouldn't scream out of cars like a crazy person in the middle of the night without any kind of warning. I think you scared a few people. (Dave Elsberry, for sure.)

Love, Tam.



July 10, 2014

Dear Ingrid.

MARSHALL!!!

Love, Tam



June 11, 2014

Dear Ingrid,

When you saw the back of Team Wolcott's vehicle, didn't it feel like the "Battle of the Bags"? Team Wolcott vs. Team Deitchman. Hmmmmm.... Looks to me like Team Wolcott is a wee bit too organized. Watcha think? I'm pretty sure I would have lost my phone in one of those embroidered green bags.

Love, Tam



June 12, 2014

Dear Ingrid,

I think I heard Dex say "Get out there and ride, girl. This Ain't No Damned Tour"

Or, maybe he said, "The route goes that way."

I can't quite be sure.

T.



July13, 2014

Dear Ingrid,

Remember stopping by this cool little place in Aurora, West Virginia? The folks were so, so nice. I mean, really friendly. And the whole place was kinda hipster funky. I liked the wood floors! And they had coffee and food and snacks and little toys and collectibles... it was really unexpectedly cool. Definitely rad.

YELP! 

Love Tam



July 14, 2014

Dear Ingrid,

Remember the time we both needed to pee so bad, and instead of looking for a discreet location, Mike just pulled over to the side of the road and told us to hurry? We both looked at each other and squeaked, "Here?" And he just shrugged and said, "Yes! You're clear!", adding that there was no one around for miles...

So we both hesitantly got out of the car and climbed down to the ditch and dropped our pants.... and then a RAAM RV came by... and the crew inside waved?!

Yup. That was embarrassing. Geesh. Not gonna forget that one.

Hahahahah.....

Love

Tam



July 15, 2014

Dear Ingrid,

Remember when Morten Kjarsgaard caught up to Joan and passed her a daisy... but then he dropped it on the handoff? Awwwww.... We felt sooo bad...

But then he handed her another!!!

OMG

He had a back-up daisy?!!

What a sweetheart.

Do you think, when he picked the first flower, he said to himself... "I better take two. Just in case?"

Those Europeans. Always thinkin'.

Love, Tam



July 16, 2014

Dear Ingrid,

Remember that time in Athens, Ohio, when we arrived at the dreadful Knights Inn Motel after an extra long follow shift? The other crews took over while Joan took a sleep break, so you and I bolted across the street to the Texas Roadhouse to get dinner! (We had worked the entire day and hadn't eaten a thing!)

OMG, I was so beat.

When we left the restaurant, a huge rainstorm hit us and we ran across the street in a torrential downpour and got completely drenched. I realized after we crossed the street that I left the hotel card key at the restaurant (!), but rather than return to the restaurant in the storm, we went to the front desk of the motel to get a new one. Do you remember the manager giving me the evil eye, reminding us we "had to be out by 10 p.m."?

We only got 3 hours of sleep that night before we had to hit the road again by 10... but as tired as I was, and everything else I've forgotten, I can still remember that evil eye! Eek!

Creepy.

Love,

Tam


July 17, 2014

Dear Ingrid,

Remember meeting Hansi Nyfeler's crew in the Anzo-Borrego desert? Peter, Reto, and Kurt? Gosh, they were super friendly and soooo enthusiastic. Don't you wish you spoke German?

There were a couple of young guys on Hansi's crew walking around shirtless. Mmmmhhhmmm.... they were hot.

(Ok... well, we were pretty hot too. It was, like, 115 degrees. Hahaha...)

xoxo,

Tam



July 18, 2014

Dear Ingrid,

Remember this?
"Damn. I left my sunglasses in the follow vehicle."
"Hmmm... I think my water bottle is in the errand vehicle."
"Can someone look and see if I left my phone cord in the follow vehicle?"
"Or maybe it's in the sleep vehicle?"
"Ugh. I left my sunglasses in the errand vehicle."
"Seriously? They're not there? They must be in the follow vehicle, again."
"Shoot. My phone is in the follow vehicle."
"I think I left my camera in the sleep vehicle."
"Has anyone seen my sunglasses?"
"Didn't we already get gas? Oh right. That was the follow vehicle."
"I have no idea where I left my banana."
"Sunglasses? Anyone?"
Was there ever a time we didn't leave something behind when swapping vehicles?! I'm thinking... and thinking... and thinking... and NO. There was never a time that something didn't get left behind in another vehicle. Ha!

And of course we know what happened to my sunglasses.

xoxo

T



July 19, 2014

Dear Ingrid,

Three big cheers to Marko Baloh!! Yaaaay!!! I'm happy he won Race Across the West. :-)

T



July 20, 2014

Dear Ingrid,

I was thinking about this today and just wanted to send a huge shoutout to you for keeping on top of Joan's nutrition tracking. You really nailed it for all of us and kept our girl going. (Huge props to Kati as well!)

In my dreams, I'm riding along... not a care in the world... and I hear your voice and look over my shoulder and see a nutella-banana taco being passed over to me. Awww... thanks for that!

You're the best,

Tam



July 21, 2014

Dear Ingrid,

Now remember DEXTER is pronounced with a British-Australian lilt to it. Practice it with me. Dexter.... Dexter... Dexter...

(Hmmm... it's sounding a little Texan-Australian to me.)

Dexter. Don't ya love him? How does No Country for Old Men 2015 sound, girl? I'm thinking a trip to Del Rio, Texas should be on my calendar!

xoxo

Tam



July 22, 2014

Dear Ingrid,

Well helloooooooo Safety Chicken! Do you remember this kid? How awesome was he? I loved how he watched you dancing a jig on the side of the road, waving to cars as they drove by... (you really are a scream in that costume). He was a bit shy, and was probably thinking to himself "What the hell?" but he came over to say hello! Wasn't he just so sweet?

Loved it.

T



July 23, 2014

Dear Ingrid,

Remember when that was actually funny??? OMG. What were we thinking??!!

Rookies.

xo

Tam



July 24, 2014

Dear Ingrid,

You're quite the dancer, you know.

Thanks for teaching me how to do the macarena on the side of the road in some random Missouri town. That was pretty funny.

Love you!

T



25 July, 2014


Dear Ingrid,

OK. Seriously. Did you catch these shirts? (Click on the photo!) We need a bedazzler!

Team Hoppo really brings it.

So sparkly.


But then again, Hoppo sports a green mohawk.

Hmmmm... Not sure we can compete with that!

xoxo

Tam



July 26, 2014

Dear Ingrid,

Ohmigosh, remember the time we were giving leapfrog support to Joan and the follow crew, and a cop came by and pulled into the dirt drive beside us? What do you think he was checkin' out? Hmmmm... mighty suspicious. That covered trailer looked a bit odd. I'm glad we got out of there before a massive meth bust occured. That was weird.

Bad boys, bad boys, watcha gonna do...

T



July 27, 2014

Dear Ingrid,

Now you must remember this!! Team Wolcott has a warped sense of humor, don't ya think?? Hahahah

xoxo

Tam



28 July, 2014

Dear Ingrid,

Do you remember how bad we were at coming up with silly jokes on our shift, that we went out and bought a joke book?? (Which we lost.) Hahaha. I wonder what happened to that thing!! It's a RAAM mystery.
What do you call a cow with no legs?
Ground beef! Hahaha
Why are frogs so happy?
They eat whatever bugs them!
What do you call cheese that isn't yours?
Nacho cheese!
O.k... you heard that one. Nacho cheese! Love it.

Hahahaha...

T



29 July, 2014

Dear Ingrid,

A month later and I'm still amazed by Joan. I can't imagine riding through that scorching desert heat, the blowing sand in Arizona, the mountainous climbs, the freezing upper altitudes of Wolf Creek Pass... the headwinds of Kansas... the rain in the Appalachians... that shit was hard. Weren't you just bursting with pride at the finish? She did it! She made it! We made it! Just. Awesome.

xoxo

Tam



30 July, 2014

Dear Ingrid,

Can you recall if there was ever a time that Mike wasn't within an arm's reach of his coffee? I'm thinking... and well... it was pretty rare. I wonder what would have happened if we secretly switched him over to decaf! That would have been an interesting experiment. Hahaha... 

You know, I really can't picture Mike without a cup of coffee. I just can't! Can you?

T



31 July, 2014

Dear Ingrid,

OK, you can't possibly forget this. Remember the time we passed a feedlot outside of Montezuma, Kansas? Holy moly, I thought my nose was going to just shrivel up and die. And to top it off... for some forgotten reason we had to turn around and drive back down the route and had to pass that feedlot again.... And then AGAIN!

Oh. My. God. THREE TIMES!!! I was dying!!

Ugh.

On a postitive note, did you know that Montezuma has the largest windfarm in Kansas? It's true. 170 turbines. (Doesn't make up for that horrific stench, but it's kinda cool just the same.)

:-)

Tam



1 August, 2014

Dear Ingrid,

Laundry day!!

Do you remember the time I headed back down to the laundry room at the Super-8 Motel to finish drying Joan's shorts? (Those things always took two tumbles.) When I arrived at the one-washer one-dryer laundry room, someone else had already snagged the washer and dryer, so I stuck around and waited. (A wash load only took 30 minutes while the dryer was a full hour. What a pain!) A young guy, whose clothes were in both machines, stopped by to check on his clothes, so I asked if I could pretty please sneak my shorts in the dryer before he threw his wash load in? (Yes, I poured on the charm. Shameless.)

He graciously let me take the dryer ahead of him and left -- and when the dryer stopped, I removed his clothes, (placing them in a bag on top of the dryer), and tossed Joan's shorts in. A half an hour later, when Joan's shorts were dry, I transferred the guy's wet clothes from the washing machine to the dryer, and popped a few quarters in. I thought I was being so nice!

Later we discovered a men's large athletic sock in Joan's laundry. OMG. I stole one of the guy's socks!! I felt soooo bad! I bet he was cursing me for that.

Oops. On vacation and missing a sock.

T



2 August, 2014


Dear Ingrid,

Hahaha...

I don't know why I find this so funny. But I do. It just cracks me up. :)

Love ya,

Tam



3 August, 2014

Dear Ingrid,

OK, you must laugh at this one. Remember the time we slept in the back of the sleep vehicle while parked in a church parking lot? It was so, so cold out and we didn't have many blankets? Brrrrrr.....

Sometime during the middle of the night, the follow and errand crews arrived while we were sleeping, and helped Joan get settled into a room in the church, which was apparently open for RAAM racers and crew!! The church was unlocked the whole time -- and people were sleeping inside!

Our crew chief got up and went into the church, without waking us up, and found himself a cozy pew to sleep in (!), leaving us out in the car! MMMMMIIIIIIKKKKKKKEEEEE!!!!! How could you?? Arrrgggghhhhh.....

What I want to know is, how is it that neither one of us thought to put the heat on in the car?

Hahaha.... dummies.

As morning arrived, we (sorta) forgave Mike for leaving us out in the cold, (Geesh, Mike!), and got Joan back out on the road. We were better off than the poor guys on Team Korea, whose vehicle ran out of gas in the middle of nowhere and were stuck at the church for a while. I felt so sorry for them. That couldn't have been fun.

Huggz,

Tam



4 August, 2014

Dear Ingrid,

How much fun were these two? Remember the time in Camdenton, Missouri, when RAAM-fan Lauren joined Mike in the follow vehicle, and Dex and Joni then hopped into the errand vehicle with you and me to provide leapfrog support to Jefferson City? We were totally caught off-guard on that one, and it was one of those WTF moments that actually turned out to be so much fun!! We had such a blast chatting and laughing with the two of them all the way to Jefferson City. Dex and his stories! I think that was one of my favorite times on RAAM -- spending time with the two of them!  Aren't they fabulous? Such a perfect couple.

And don't you just love it when they hold hands?? So romantic!!

Sigh,

Tam



5 August 2014
Dear Ingrid,

Remember the group massages? Those were neat. :)

I think we could have used more of those!

T



6 August, 2014
Dear Ingrid,

Lindsay's birthday was yesterday, and mine's today (!)... so just a break from the memories to wish us both a happy birthday! Wasn't Lindsay sooooo funny??!! What a great crew mate -- she had such an easy sense of humor and beautiful smile. Love her. Who can forget the polar bear keychain she found?? OMG, that was the craziest!!

Three cheers for Lindsay!

xoxo

Tam



7 August, 2014




Dear Ingrid,

Don't forget the wave!! That was kinda cool. We didn't always meet up with the night crew during our shift, so this moment was fun. (Oh wait!! This was before the crew swap! I was still on the night crew when this happened! Ahhhhh... yes. Now I remember. )

T.



8 August, 2014

Dear Ingrid,

Sending another shoutout to another awesome crew member -- sweet Kati Kate!! Yaaaaaaaaay, Kati!!!

Sometimes I think your roadside antics entertained the afternoon follow crew of Dex, Joni and Kati more than Joan herself!! Hahaha...

Our two crews worked pretty well together, don't ya think? They were great. (Big, huge crew hug!!!)

xoxoxo

T



9 August, 2014

Dear Ingrid,

You won't remember this one, because it happened when I was on the night shift. One of my favorite moments of direct follow was driving the twisty-turny descent into Jerome, Arizona. It was just so cool. You should have seen Joan fly on that bike. It was pitch dark, and she just glowed in the headlights of the car. So freaking amazing. I'll never forget that.

I hope you have some cool memories like that, too.

xo

Tam



10 August, 2014

Dear Ingrid,

Didn't you just loooooove the (many) hot pots?!!

Hahahaha...

T.



11 August, 2014

Dear Ingrid,

Who knew that Dexter was such a rock star?! Walking around with him was quite amusing, with folks constantly stopping him to ask for a photo, or autograph, or just to shake his hand. We were in the presence of RAAM royalty! Too funny.

I learned a lot from being around Dex. (Like, I need to invest in some white cycling shorts, so I can walk around asking cute guys to sign my ass. Hahaha...)

That could be fun.

Love ya!

Tam



12 August, 2014







Dear Ingrid,

Well, I promise to wrap this up soon, but I don't want you to forget some of the a-ma-zing landscapes and terrain we saw! I can't decide if I liked the coastal shore, deserts, mountains, plains or east of the Mississippi the most! All of it was incredible!

Just one or two more posts to go...

Love,

Tam



13 August, 2014

Dear Ingrid,

You and that crazy chicken costume. I loved it when someone would actually stop to ask you what the hell you were doing in a chicken costume on a 100 degree day in the middle of Kansas! Hahaha... 

Hey, these guys were kinda cute, though.

You crazy, crazy girl.

xoxoxo

T



14 August, 2014

Dear Ingrid,

Remember the Fudge Lady? She was so sweet!! (Pun not intended.) We chatted for a while, she let Mike use the WiFi and he bought some fudge and we took some photos... She was terrific. 

After we left, Mike realized he forgot to pay her for the fudge! He went back inside to take care of it, and she came out and held our hands and asked the spirits of the earth to keep us safe on our journey. It was just so lovely. She was special.

Too bad fudge isn't paleo. That's a bummer. :)

xo

Tam



15 August, 2015

Dear Ingrid,

Well, we crossed the country at the speed of a cyclist... (Go, Joan!)... but didn't really get to explore at all. Gettysburg is definitely one of those places that I'm adding to my "must visit again soon" list. Prescott, Arizona and Monument Valley are on my list, too.

How about you? If you could pick any place on our journey to revisit, where would it be? (I'm guessing it's not Montezuma.)

:-)

T



16 August, 2014

Dear Ingrid,

One final shout-out to our epic solo RAAM finisher Joan Deitchman and her fierce crew! Yay, team!! Dexter Tooke, RAAM cycling legend and weaver of tall tales; Joni Tooke, leader extraordinaire and absolute RAAM pro; Kati Bak, our sweet girl with a heart of gold; Ingrid Hillhouse and Tam Cronin, (you and me!), Team Grace-Under-Pressure; Lindsay King, our lovely Canadian with a brilliant sense of humor; Jeff Faillers, master medic and super bike pro; and Sonya Souza. And of course our tireless caffeinated crew chief Mike Deitchman! We were definitely the A Team.

Great job!

Tam


17 August, 2014

Dear Ingrid,

I keep expecting Glinda the Good Witch to pop out of that bubble floating over Joan. We had a few Oz-like moments during RAAM, didn't we? Kansas. Storms. Ruby-red slippers... (Thankfully, no flying monkeys.)

It's been a while since our journey ended, and thinking about some of the crazy, funny moments that happened on our adventure has been a lot of fun. Crewing RAAM was, at times, brutally tough and emotionally draining -- and my dear, dear friend, you made the darkest moments seem brighter. Thank you for that. I miss you enormously.

I'm so proud of Joan and our TEAM. It was a struggle. It sure wasn't a damn tour. It was RAAM, baby. We did it.

Never forget the fun,

Tam



The End of our Journey

AMERICA

3 comments:

  1. TAMMY! You totally crack me up. I can't believe I have missed all of these until just now. Just so you know, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, I remember! I love the recaps. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  2. OK Tam, I just got caught up on all of these and from "where did I leave my banana?" on, I've been crying! Team Hoppo bedazzled shirts? Totally missed them! And I forgot about the roadside pitstop when the other crew waved at us while we were taking care of business. Too much, too funny!! Love ya!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh good. You've caught up!! Man. I was so jealous when I saw those BEDAZZLED shirts!!

    Hey, BTW, thanks for always having a banana for me. :-) You're the best. T

    ReplyDelete