RAAM dashing through area now

Register Sports Editor

Register/Jocelyn Sheets
At right, Jure Robic rides through Iola Sunday night as the leader of the 2009 Race Across America. Robic has won two straight and four RAAM solo titles overall. Robic is from Slovenia and through the halfway point of the race averages about 17 miles an hour.
Below, RAAM riders don’t make many stops on their 3,022-mile race route. Robic rides into the night with his crew driving right behind him.

While most people in Iola and the surrounding area were in bed or getting ready for bed Sunday night, Jure Robic was a night rider.
Robic stopped at the stop lights here in Iola but that was it. The 44-year-old pedaled through Iola with no fanfare around 10 p.m. Sunday as he led the 2009 Race Across America.
The annual cross-country bicycle race — it’s pretty much non-stop — started just about a week ago in Oceanside, Calif. Robic is out to three-peat as the RAAM solo men’s winner. Robic, who is from Slovenia, is after his fifth RAAM solo title.
Robic cruised through RAAM Time Station No. 28 in Yates Center about 8:30 p.m. Sunday. There are 53 time stations along the 3,022-mile route.
Tammy and Jim Porter, who have manned the Yates Center time station the past few years, stepped aside for the 2009 race. The Woodson County Chamber of Commerce took over the time station.
There were changes at Yates Center. According to Carey Spoon executive director of the Woodson County Chamber of Commerce, there wouldn’t be a manned time station set up at the corner of U.S. 54 and U.S. 75 as in the past.
“Our office will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday for the riders to check-in. The pool will be open during the day for riders and others to use,” Spoon said. “I’ve passed on my contact information to RAAM so riders can call me when they arrive in Yates Center.”
The Woodson County Chamber of Commerce office is at 108 S. Main in Yates Center.
Robic and his race crew rode through Iola. The veteran RAAM rider gave a glance toward the Register photographer then turned his head forward as he pedaled on.
A scout vehicle for Robic went through just ahead of the leader. His follow-car was equipped with speakers on top and crew members talked to Robic — keeping him straight on course — as they moved quickly down Madison and out on east on U.S. 54.
Robic has also passed through Time Station 29 at Fort Scott and moved into Missouri. The race’s finish line is in Annapolis, Md. Riders are just over halfway when they reach Yates Center and Iola.
Robic has logged those miles in just more than four days. The solo riders took a few short breaks off their bicycles during the race.
Chasing Robic are Daniel Wyss of Switzerland, Marko Baloh of Slovenia and Gerhard Gulewicz of Austria. All have checked through at Yates Center.
Wyss is in second reaching here around 2 this morning then Baloh pedaled through next, at about 9:30. Gulewicz also has gone on to Fort Scott.
There were 59 entries in the 2009 RAAM, which include solo divisions for men and women and team divisions for two, four and eight member teams. As of today, there were 52 entries still racing representing 11 countries.
One team has checked in and out of Yates Center. Great Grand PAC Masters, a four-person team from the United States, has four “young” men riding. The average age is 75.
On the team are Robert Kash of Ohio, Lew Meyer of Pennsylvania, Lee Mitchell of California and Chris Stauffer of Indiana. The team was given a three-day head start over the rest of the teams.
There’s also Team Can Be Venture. All four members of the team are paralyzed and riding on hand cycles.
Janet Christiansen of the United States is leading the women’s solo race. She was due through Iola this afternoon between 3 and 4 o’clock.
Daniela Figueiredo Genovesi of Brazil is second and running about three hours behind Christiansen.
Christiansen had to abandon her ride with 250 miles to go last year.
This is the 28th RAAM. Solo and team riders will be coming through Iola all week as they head eas. Progress can be minotored at raceacrossamerica.org.
There is a live racing tab with updates. Times given on riders arriving at time stations and leaving are listed in Eastern Daylight times.