By reading the UMCA newsletters, you probably noticed that one more RAAM Open West Qualifier was offered on June 3rd, after we previously reported the April qualifier as the being "the final opportunity to qualify for RAAM '89." Although this caused a ruckus among a few April entrants and despite the fact that only six riders entered, this "POP QUIZ" did what it was intended to do, provide more qualified RAAM entrants. In this case, two more people proved to us that they are RAAM material. They are Tom Seabourne, Houston, TX, age 33, finishing the 508-mile course in 37 hours, 7 minutes and Patricia Raychevich, from Gardena, CA, age 25, with a time of 49 hours, 14 minutes. Seabourne originally telephoned me the day after I returned from the April ROW. He wanted to know how to qualify for RAAM '89. He indicated that he was ready and willing to do anything to prove to us that he is qualified to enter RAAM '89. I told him the final qualifier was done and gone. He pointed out to me that RAAM was still four months off and holding another race in two months would still offer two months time to prepare for RAAM, as was the case when RAAM was held in June the past years. After concluding my conversation with Seabourne, I pulled out my the pencil and paper and began drawing my usual T list. On the left side of the T, I listed all the pros of holding a qualifier in June, and on the right side, the cons. Well, the pros out-weighed the cons, thus we bowed to logic, instead. The sign-ups went well at first, but several entrants cancelled out before the start, due to various logistical reasons.
At the starting line were five men and one woman. Patricia Raychevich was the first woman to start our new course. She entered the race to see if she could finish, knowing beforehand that RAAM '89 was out of the question. She works as a draftsperson at Hughes, commutes 50 miles per day, and trained 470 miles/week prior to the race. She drank Ultra Energy, but managed to steal one grape and two Wheat Thins while her crew was away eating ice cream. A self-professed junk fooder, she was impressed with the U-E. She purchased it the day of the race and her crew captain, Jim Trowbridge, an Official Finisher from the April ROW, did everything in his power to keep her on a regular U-E drinking schedule. It paid off. Raychevich is not new to ultra-marathon cycling. She was one of the few Americans to complete the '84 Paris-Brest-Paris in a time of 84 hours. She's been cycling seriously for 4 years. She commented that the hardest part of the race was the headwinds. Rightly so, according to my newly purchased wind meter; after climbing out of Death Valley, the 181 mile jaunt to from Shoshone to the finish reported a steady 20mph direct headwind, with frequent gusts of 30mph. This wind zapped all the other entrants. Raychevich rode a Vitus bike, Diadora touring shoes, Bell helmet, Brooks saddle, and used her Mickey Mouse bell occasionally.
Tom Seabourne showed up at the starting line without a shirt, which would have normally caused instant doubt in my mind about the likelihood of him finishing. I knew better. learned my lesson at the Hemet JMO in 1985 when Rob Kish rode without a shirt. Need I say more? There's no question about Seabourne's potential. He doesn't ride with all the flash and style of some racers, but he is strong, like an ox. He reminded me of John Silker, the former football player who finished RAAM '85 officially on his first attempt (editor's note: Marino means RAAM '83). Seabourne is also mentall strong. There were times when the wind got so bad, his speed was barely fast enough to stay upright. We were concerned about his safety. After checking him out, he was mentally alert. He just flat out refused to stop. He did fight a nutritional problem during the race because of his inexperience in long distance competition, however his speed picked up considerably after the food he ate had time to nourish his system.
Tom Davies, former qualifier and RAAM '88 entrant, riding in a close second before to succumbing to heat exhaustion, was really impressed with Seabourne's strength in the headwinds. Perhaps he gets his mental and physical toughness from being a two-time national heavyweight tae kwon do champion, in addition to numerous other awards, including number 4 on the Penn State tennis team. The Spenco 500 was his first real cycling race, where he finished 14th, with tennis shoes. He's published several works on self-defense, training, and the mental disciplines in sports. He holds a Masters Degree in Sports Psychology and currently teaches at San Jacinto College in Houston, TX. Seabourne rode a Centurion, work bike shoes for the first time (Axo), and ate mostly sandwiches, cookies, bananas and lots of Exceed. Sponsors: Life Health Center, Men's Fitness Class, Bicycle Obsession, N.E. Texas Community College.
June 1989 RAAM Open West Results:
1) Patricia Raychevich, Gardena, CA age 25 - 49:14
1) Tom Seabourne, Houston, TX, age 33 - 37:07
Did Not Finish: Tom Davies, Marion Fryar, Paul Fabish, Mastoras