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What a road trip - RAAM 2014

What a road trip - RAAM 2014

When you read about the Race Across America you can kind of imagine how hard the world's toughest bicycle race is, and I already had a lot of respect for the racers before we went on the journey. Being alongside the racers and the crew of the "4Athletes" from Germany for a week (they finished in 3rd place after 5days and 14hours, 6h short of the record and 8h faster than their last year's win) you really get to experience how much harder it is than you've imagined.

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RAAM - 2014 Race Across America

Just a few more days until the greatest endurance cycling race starts. I will be driving alongside and photographing last year's winner of the 4-person category Team "4athletes powered by Stenger Bikes". Four brave German souls, Peter, Frank, Frederick and Robert will start in Oceanside, CA and race nonstop to Annapolis, MD. 3000 miles, ca. 5½ days, 4 time zones, rain and shine, desert heat, high altitude, sleep deprivation and many more obstacles await them. This truly amazing journey starts June 14 and photos will be posted here as much as I can.

Century ride - Santa Barbara to Santa Monica

On Sunday Nov 17, four brave souls set out on a journey that would change their lives...or just  make them really tired and feeling a good amount of accomplishment by the end of the day. Bryan, Daniel and I from the team were joined by Tom from OTR. We took the early morning Amtrak train from Union Station LA to Santa Barbara and rode the 112miles back to Santa Monica. After a few wrong turns, we found our way out of Santa Barbara and climbed up Hwy 150 to scenic Lake Casitas, descending down into Oxnard, and returning to familiar grounds of Point Mugu and PCH/Malibu.

Total trip distance: 126.55 miles

Elevation gain: 4,999ft

Calories burned: 4302kcal

Avg Speed: 18mph

Train, Compete, Strive

It is more than a decade ago when I competed in high school Basketball back in Germany. Since then, I have truly missed the team spirit, the intense training, losing and winning games.

Over this summer, I have started competing in road cycling races, and I have found a long lost passion for competing in sports again. My first race, the Brentwood Grand Prix, was probably the hardest to start with, and being a greenhorn to criterium races I got my exhausted legs handed back to me on a silver plate, at least I wasn't the last person to cross the finish line. This was a slap into the face, a wake up call: I had to do a lot of work, if I wanted to ride up in the front and really compete.

The following weeks, I trained harder and kept pushing myself: One more sprint, a few more miles, go faster. When my alarm clock rang at 6am, my body wanted to stay in bed, sleep more, it's warm and comfy, rest...but my mind said: Get on that bike! My fitness level improved dramatically and in the next races I was riding up front. Each race, taught me better tactics for the next. I have climbed the rankings from the bottom to 23rd place out of 60 riders, so far, and I will continue trying to overtake the other 20 in front of me... (Update 11/10/13: I have reached a podium spot today, sprinting over the finish line for 2nd place.)

I've been talking to fellow racers and other athletes, and everyone has the passion to strive for better. This experience gave me the idea to show with my photography what's going through an athlete's mind, so I developed catch phrases to go along with the images for this concept, hoping to motivate others in pursuing their goals and fighting their battles along the way.