Swiss Riders Dominate RAAM Open West, April 1990, Final Qualifier for RAAM '90

By John Hawk Marino

It's become apparent that Franz Spilauer's influence in Switzerland is lighting the RAAM fire in the minds of some adventuresome cyclists. Felix Battig, from Breitenbach, Switzerland placed second in the October '89 RAAM Open West and plans to compete in RAAM '90. One of his support crew members was a cyclist named Beat Wyrsch, also from Switzerland. Wyrsch entered the RAAM Open West on April 7th and won, completing the 508 miles in 32 hours, 33 minutes. Placing second was another Swiss cyclist named Philippe Vetterli, an attorney from Zurich. His time was 33 hours, 40 minutes. Wyrsch definitely plans on racing in RAAM and Vetterli isn't sure, as stated immediately after finishing (the wrong time to even bring up the subject of ultra-marathon cycling). The two other men qualifiers were Hugh Murphy, from Hacienda Heights, CA and John Stonemen, from Bozeman, MT.

Beth Dawson, the sole woman entrant, from Santa Cruz, CA, completed this very demanding course in 45 hours, 24 minutes. She had great praise for Elaine Mariolle for offering her encouragement and logistical assistance. Two additional riders finished officially, Rick Stark, from Lawndale, CA and Glen Tebo, from Montclair, CA. Stark also completed the October '89 ROW. He rides a mountain bike. Of the 12 riders who entered, 7 finished. It's interesting to note that 25 riders were originally signed up to compete, however many last minute cancellations due to injuries, improper preparation, and crew problems dwindled the field to 12. Nevertheless, the course was just as hard as always and immensely rewarding to the 7 who finished.

RAAM Qualifiers – Up Close and Personal

1) Beth Dawson: Women's winner, 45:24, Santa Cruz, CA, age 28, Marketing Manager for computer software company, 2 years of triathlon experience, originally from Austin, TX, likes to play the piano, last 30 miles of route was the hardest part, longest ride prior to ROW was a double century, ate 30 Powerbars, fig newtons, apples, wheat tortillas, trained mostly on weekends, 350-400 miles/week, rode a Kestrel 200SC, proud member of WOMBATS, support crew consisted of the entire Santa Cruz County Racing Team, namely her two girlfriends, Shannon McCordle and Anni Kappl.

1) Beat Wyrsch: Men's Winner, 32:33, Embrach, Switzerland, age 28, 8 years serious cycling, Senior 1 racer, currently living in Tucson to prepare for RAAM, won the '86 Markleville Death Ride, 3rd in the '89 San Diego to Yuma, toughest part of the ROW was the climb up Townes Pass and the wind, rode a Specialized Carbon Fibre, drank 18 cans of Coke, 1/2 box of Ultra Energy, and a liquid nutritional product from Switzerland, called Isostar, ate some cookies and Powerbars, trained 450-500 miles/week prior to the ROW. Noted crew member was Marvin Christy, veteran RAAM competitor and owner of the Gaslight Bike Shop in Tucson.

2) Philippe Vetterli: 33:40, Birmendorf, Switzerland (very close to Zurich), age 37, attorney in private practice with a partner, involved in lots of sports (fencing, hockey, soccer, and others), cycling seriously for 3 years, the ROW was definitely the hardest sports endeavor of his life, especially the last 30 miles into a stiff headwind, longest ride prior to the ROW was 150 miles (training ride with Felix Battig a few weeks prior), has ridden 5,000 miles since Christmas to prepare, mile winter this year in Zurich, he brought two crew members from Switzerland.

3) Hugh Murphy: 36:12, Hacienda Heights, CA, age 41, earned Who's Who distinction in '89, currently leading N.P.C. Century Division, has been training very hard (500 miles.week) for the past 18 months, cycling seriously since '78, drank Ultra Energy and ate 5 Milky Way bars. Broke collar bone a few weeks ago and attributes his quick recovery to Randy Ice of SCOR Physical Therapy. His hobby is reading – about cycling. Rode an Eddy Merckx, Davidson, and a Specialized mountain bike on the descents. Noted crew member was Lee Mitchell, the winningest crew captain in American (All different riders, namely John Hughes' ROW victory in April '89, Susan Notorangelo's RAAM '89 victory, and Laura Stern's ROW victory in October ;89).

4) John Stoneman: 36:31, Bozeman, MT, age 27, Masters in Cardiac Rehabilitation and currently working at the University of Montana, cycling seriously only one year, trained indoor 300 miles/week and 2 months outdoors in preparation for ROW, longest prior ride was 195 miles, toughest part of the course was headwinds in Death Valley, thanks sponsors for contributing to his trip to this qualifier: John Bozeman Bistro, Owenhouse Schwinn, Allomits Water Beds, S&P Office Supply, Neibauer Toyota.

Official Finishers

5) Rick Stark: 40:30, Lawndale, CA, age 32

6) Glen Tebo: 47:47, Montclair, CA, age 36

Did Not Finish: Craig Holmes, Larry Sherlock, Chuck Eidenschink, Walter Swiacki, and Alan MacDonald, who was disqualified.