Sunday, June 28, 2009

Team Surfing USA-RAAM Summary

Thanks to everyone that gave me support through a long and tough week during the Race Across America as I served as Team Surfing USA's Crew Chief!!!
Unfortunately, our team only made it 2,000 miles. With 1,000 miles to go, one of the race vans from a competing team accidentally crossed over the line of travel for our rider Jason Winn. Jason was driven into the pavement nearly breaking his ankle and elbow with plenty of road rash in between. The other three riders made the decision to stop racing and head to NYC for other team business that was previously planned for immediately after the RAAM. After a few hours with Jason at the hospital, we loaded him up and gathered the team and headed for Annapolis for one night then on to NYC. We completed our other business in NYC without any further mishaps or safety issues.
To clarify and put any circulating BS to permanent rest, this was NOT intentional. It was simply an unfortunate accident. The other team felt horrible about what happened. We felt bad too. Everyone runs on minimal sleep in RAAM with great difficulties. In the end, it came down to safety. It's really important to constantly hammer your RAAM teams and crews about safety over and over again. Let's just learn from this and move on...enough said.
All in all, it was an amazing week. I learned more about life in the last week then probably any other week in my previous life. I learned about who I really am--and who I need to be.
In the heat of the fire, you learn a lot about people. Once again, RAAM and the universe provides!
From a HOT SoCal with post-adrenaline RAAM fever burnout,
In GARRA!!! Coach RJ

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Team Surfing USA-Race Across America

RJ, Laird Hamilton, Don Wildman, Jason Winn, Tim Commerford
Back in the saddle for Coach RJ for some ultraendurance racing action!

I’ve teamed up with my fitness friends in Malibu, CA from Team Surfing USA for the 2009 Race Across America (RAAM) bicycle event. This is not only a celebrity team—but also a team of highly skilled and well trained athletes, and important to me, ALL huge advocates of life-long fitness and health.

I’ll be the crew chief for our bike team that will race 3,000 miles across America from Oceanside California to Annapolis, Maryland. We have four racers and 24 crew members, a tour bus, a large RV, two race vans, and one crew chief/mechanic van—plus our trailer hauling the surf boards, extra bikes, and even a cool scooter for Coach RJ’s occasional roadside spins. I’m taking three people very special to me…Kevin Rail, fellow Avenger of Health and my partner in The Lean Berets, Jim Marchesini, my kettlebell training partner and work colleague, and Marlee Bisbey, my world-class massage therapist and RAAM racer veteran that helped me in 1995-96.

We leave Saturday, June 20th and will push to finish on Thursday, June 25th. Since this is a “Surfer” bike team, they must hit the waves! Plus these guys love to get a great workout whether it be land or sea and rarely want anything less than maximum output and effort. They will be on the surf paddle boards for about 24 hours straight from Malibu to Oceanside the day before the race. We’re hauling the boards across the USA with us. After the finish of the RAAM, we’ll bike 240 miles or so to NY where they will hit the ocean again and then paddle surf into NYC. We’ll be covered by Today Show as we finish this amazing transcontinental surfing and biking journey. If we are time, look for our TV coverage on Friday, the 26th (Saturday at the latest).

We are shooting a film documentary to chronicle the journey’s purpose or raising charity for ALS, Autism, and bicycle advocacy. The film producer is legendary Don King-called the “Zen Master” of surf and skate epic films like Blue Crush and Lords of Dogtown. King is the same producer that has done Laird’s surfing movies. I’ll also be shooting some professional photos to document the event as well.

This is a four-man relay team that will race 24/7 for 3,000 miles. It will take us around 5 ½ days to arrive depending upon weather, etc.

Here are my friends and All-Star Team:

Don Wildman (Founder, Bally’s Fitness, age 76 and still going strong!)

Laird Hamilton (Pro Surfing Legend, Big Wave Expert, Surf Innovator)

Tim Commerford (Bass Player for Rage Against the Machine rock band)

Jason Winn (Founder and President, Bonk Breaker Energy Bars)

RAAM Homepage:

I’ve raced RAAM twice winning with my team in 1995 and 1996. In 96, we set a new world record of 5 days, 6 hours, and 4 minutes with an average speed of 23.0 MPH. In 1997, I was the crew chief for Team Brazil from Sao Paulo. It’s been a while, but some things never change in RAAM…INTENSITY!!! What I really love about these guys and everyone on the crew is that they all throw down…gotta love the throwdowns of fitness horsepower Comrades!

See ya in 3000 miles Dudes!

Coach RJ!!!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Glenn Sundby (1921-2009)

Glenn Sundby & RJ, November 2002
In time the sea may wash it all away, for nothing is ever here to stay.
But to lives that were changed as for new goals they did reach,
--Glenn Sundby, Muscle Beach Pioneer

A fellow fitness friend and "Physical Culturist" named Glenn Sundby died a few weeks ago. Glenn helped people like Jack LaLanne start Muscle Beach in Santa Monica, CA back in the early 1930s. Glen also was a major player in the development of USA Gymnastics. Quite a guy. I consider Glenn one of my mentors. He changed my life for the better. I had the privilege of speaking with him a few times and doing one in-depth interview. Here's my web section on Glenn with some cool photos taken from my 2002 interview. "Happy Handstands" Glenn! I WILL continue your efforts to promote and LIVE life-long fitness and health!
In remembrance, Coach RJ