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What does a former 777 pilot do on a Friday?
Cover huge daily distances by "Air", of course!
Bike Friday Booster (patron investor) Jeff Linder and his trusty Air Friday were gearing up for PACTOUR's 2007 Elite Tour when Lynette Chaing caught up with him for this interview and story.
By Lynette Chaing
Last offered in 1999 by the famous RAAM couple Lon Haldeman and Susan Notorangelo, the Elite Tour is a qualifier for the 400 miles-per-day masochism of Race Across America (RAAM).
We're talking 2,797 miles in 17 days, starting in San Diego and sweeping through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia.
That's 12 hours in the saddle and averaging 165 miles per day, no rest days, and certainly no stopping to water the roses (you know how to pee in the saddle like a pro, of course?).
"It's always been on my mind to do such a trip," said Jeff, whose defining moment'was winning the 55+ age division of the 2005 24 Hours of Adrenalin Solo World MTB Championship in Whistler, BC.
Jeff actually qualified for the Open Elite class at Laguna Seca, coming fifth in a field of 51 riders, most in their late 30's.
"I think I won because I have a unique advantage -- I don't need sleep!" says Jeff, an obviously dependable pilot.
Jeff notes that RoadBikeRider.com luminaries Ed Pavelka and Fred Matheny also signed up for the tour.
"In 1996 when Fred and Ed were primary members of the Bicycling Magazine-sponsored 50+ 4-man RAAM relay team, I was the back-up rider who would slot in for one of the primaries if something happened to them prior to the start of the event.
"As they were all healthy and began the event, I was employed as the navigator for the team. We all got to know one another quite well during the preparation and the execution of the record setting crossing ..."
That record was 5 days, 11 hours and 21 minutes.
Fred and Ed both ride Bike Fridays, and Fred recently told RBR's 55,000 readers he was training for the event on his Pocket Rocket Pro!
So how are Jeff's 50 Elite cohorts training for the tour?
"Double centuries, back to back, 400k brevets," Jeff said, "... phew!"