Friday, June 3, 2011

Truck Navigation

As Andrew documented, you can get pretty creative in your mobile city that will become your new home for the next 6 days or so - as you should!  While I may not have the writing creativity, nor pictures to document our living situation last June, I can assure you that it worked for us.

First, what Andrew said about racing out of the left side - YES.  I raced RAAM for 2 years, and rarely did I get out of the left side.  Even when I did, it never appeared to me that this was superior - despite stepping in mud on a downslope while getting out, or having to muster a lot of upper body strength climbing into a truck which appeared to be at a 45 degree angle.

Off shift in the truck - where you spend a third of your time
How are truck was "setup" in 2010 was I, with the compact 5'7" frame, occupied the back seat of the SUV, while the sick, taller one occupied the middle seat.  This allowed both of us to get horizontal without bothering anyone else - at our convenience.  This was hands down the best part of the whole setup, as we didn't really have to deal with moving things around, or dealing with each other.  This allowed for a common view like this:

Note: Feet above heart and in compression pants, as described in previous email.
The cons of this setup while off shift placed a little more responsibility on the guy in the back seat, as it was his responsibility to distribute various belongings from the hatch to the recipients.  There was an unspoken rule that whatever you needed for 5-7 hours of driving, you would request within 15 minutes of a shift ending.  This whole process can be complemented by Andrew's efficient packing approach described in the prior post.  Personally, I only had 2 bags: 1 gear bag, and 1 non-gear bag (civilian clothes and toiletries).  The reality is that you don't need much non-gear.  The sweatshirt and t-shirts you are given should suffice for the entire week, and flight home.  Who cares if you lived in them for a week - you're a bad ass for doing RAAM.  Just wear deodorant in public (and in the truck).

Our caveman truck wasn't equipped with a sun shower, but to mitigate the smell, I brought along a small container of baby wipes.  4 wipes after each shift seemed sufficient to get the grease and smell off of me, along with deodorant and maybe some gold bond.  All you consume for 5 hours is water, salt and sugar, so you don't really smell all that much - maybe a sweet aroma of Andrew's favorite CRAN-RAZZ, but it ain't that bad (unless you're Brad).

Additionally, I had 7 pre-made baggies of a sugary powder, amino acids, whey protein, salt - that was dropped into a water bottle (w/ water), and chugged immediately after a shift.  Another bottle of water was used as a chaster.  Recovery is paramount in RAAM, so be prepared beforehand.  Then it was into compression, laughing, getting horizontal, with some light stretching and massage.

Solid food followed about 45-60 minutes after a shift (whenever I was hungry).  I personally brought 8 containers of brown rice pasta/sauce/chicken, and sweet potatoes/veggies/chicken.  I consumed road food only when I didn't feel like eating said items, which wasn't that often.  In my opinion, have at least one "normal" meal off shift that you are used to eating, rather than constantly bombarding yourself with endless carbohydrates.

A couple other snacks were brought, and a few purchases on the road (if only just to fart more to piss of Dave and Tobias).

Regarding Caffeine, I use it, and had great results with it.  When you are sluggish, it gets you out of a rut.  If you are hurting, it helps a little too.  Even when you are feeling good, it can help.  I might have crashed from it once or twice, but having a caffeine crash during an off-shift is never a bad thing, as it may just force you to relax, or better yet, sleep.  I'd never use sleeping pills or the like, as I generally didn't have issues sleeping, and also for fear of being super groggy upon waking.

It starts while you are still off-shift.  Prepare at least 3 bottles before your shift starts.  This means doing so in the hotel room shortly after you first get there, or in the 2 hours between waking up and starting your shift.  Make sure you put them in the freezer or on ice - especially in the midwest.

We didn't have a giant thermos like METAL1 did, but rather we had a cooler.  It stored our cold food items, and also our water bottles when we were on shift.  When we needed them, we grabbed them out of the cooler.  When we didn't, we put them back in.  As long as there is ice in there, you're good to go.  Always pay attention to how much you have left in them, so you aren't parched finishing a pull, only to find an empty bottle when you get back in.  Regardless, make sure you have some solid calories near by (door handle, seat back, etc) in case you are jonesin for solid food.  We generally put the cooler where Andrew and Jeremy put there's (in the middle), and didn't have many problems. 

Additionally, any gear you may need on the shift (eg. cold weather gear), just take it out of the bag beforehand.  There's not much worse than trying to fish around and find gear that you packed efficiently, but was thrown around in the pedal-to-the-metal accelerations, and slam-on-the-brakes actions your driver has to go through.

Which brings me to the part that when you do pack everything, try to fit it in kinda tight so that it doesn't fly around on-shift.  This may be the last thing from your mind, but as the guy who sits in the back and has to grab stuff for people, organization is key.

Your driver will also be under as much stress as you will, so keep an eye on them too.  If you are feeling good, and they are flustered with directions, turning, yada yada yada, help them out.  However, they are there for you to do just about anything, not to mention they are the communication link between you and your other partner.  Be cognizant of how your "city" is doing.

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