What went as planned at RAAM 2013? 2. SLEEP PATTERN

How to resolve a problem of being so slow after a few days of minimal sleep – between 1 and 1.5h a day? I have already tested the mentioned pattern in my previous RAAMs and discovered that with only an hour of sleep daily I become »chronicly slow« and with that I am no match to the competition.


Because of that and knowing that I am basically at least as fast as the competitors, if not even faster (judging from my World Records), I have already set the 3-hour sleep tactic for teh last two RAAMs (2009&2011). The tactics which was successfuly used by Danny Chew, 2-times RAAm winner, who used to win on 3h sleep a day. Even Danny himself has encouraged me to try it and trying to persuade me that I am fast enough to catch the »no-sleepers« back. Even the pre-race time tables from 2009 &2011 were set according to 3h sleep tactic. Unfortunately, it neve came true. Why not? The reason was that I was always racing with the leaders at that stage (if not leading myself) and my competition drive didn't let me »give away« an hour or even 2h to my competitors. When I became slow(er) and started loosing even more time, we even cut down the sleep time to get closer to the leader or to get away from the cuys trying to catch me.  A perfect Catch 22… When talking to Mark Pattinson after RAAM 2011, I found out that he uses the mention 3h tactic. Analyzing the average speed splits through the race, it became painfully obvious that here is where we lost the second place that year.

This year there was another worry that brought on my actually using the 3h sleep tactics – it was my health condition before the race, with bronchitis sidelining me for almost 2 weeks and leaving some worrying effects on my body. The logic was to give my body more time to regenerate during the sleep, as it has still not fully recovered from illness. We were all pleasantly surprised with the outcome. It was my first RAAM in which I stayed mentaly focused through the entire race, all the way to the finish. And not only that! I raced through Kansas, the state that I used to hate the most, like a man possesed, almost without stoping (except for putting on the rain gear) and with the highest average speed of all the racers. It also brought me the title King of the Prairies for the fastest racer in 3 flat sections of RAAM. During that day it became clear how good a 3h sleep tactic is and I was sure I will manage to catch at least Gulewicz and Wyss in front. Unfortunately, during my push through Kansas, I became affected with the most painful and the least manageable injury in RAAM – saddle sores opening up. Only to Joni and her experience I can thank for being able to finish the race in such condition. Truth be told, I have already declared DNF at the Mississippi, so painful it was.

Here you have it – another positive experience that should help me achieve my goal at the next RAAM. I am sure that when healthy, I can reach the Atlantic in under 8,5 days, even when (or especially when) I sleep as much as 3h a night. Even more, if everything clicks, I could be even closer to 8 days, which would put me back in the fight for the victory.

All I need is a lot of faith and some luck with sponsorship…

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