Gerry Tatrai

I'm originally from Sydney and I learned about the Race Across America (RAAM) while at Paris-Brest-Paris in 1987. I crewed RAAM for American riders in 1989 & 1990 before racing 1991 - 1995. I won the RAAM in 1993. Well the last six years have been a permanent summer split between Sydney and the U.S. where I spend my time on PAC Tour and involved with RAAM. In Australia I dream of coming back to do RAAM and I'm curious to know if that might ever change.

June 12: Tucumcari

G'day Folks, It's great to be rolling along on PAC Tour again after a break of two years. Yesterday I fell just short of the 72 ounce challange at the Big Texan Steak House. This finally lays to rest my desire to test my gluttony. Unfortunately I left most of the steak on the floor of the restroom where an 11 year old Elvis impersonator happend to be changing back into regular clothes.

This wasn't intentional but my stream of chunder occured in advance of me reaching the bowl, splattering off the floor and into the next stall startling the young Elvis and coating his western boots with a puree of steak. When my faculties were working again I mentioned to the staff outside that they may need to pay some attention to the restroom to which they nodded unhappily and glanced towards a white-faced, trembling boy. Suddenly the reality of the most gluttonous and crude activity that I could ever perform hit me. Embarrassment. I'm sure the splatter will affect his future performances. Judging by his hasty exit he could have a career as a sprinter lined up. Way back in 1987 I became intrigued with the challenge while learning of route 66. I believe the notion of touring small town America discovering the forgotten towns of 66 actually was the genesis of my RAAM addiction. Lon & Susan have again provided a superb tour, and the riding is great.

Today I captained a tandem with Susan traveling through some gravel alignments of 66 in New Mexico.

My day as a crew member revolves around taking direction from the tour directors to provide the best service for our riders. This includes meal service at breakfast and lunch, assistance with mechanical repairs and support throughout the day. Day starts at 5:00 to 5:30 am to set up breakfast, pack-up breakfast and then chase down the riders alternating daily between my bike and the support van. Lunch on the road at a scenic location and then scurrying to the motel destination for the night to unload gear bags, prepare service area and clean up for the next day.

The Route 66 trip involves short distances by PAC Tour standards to allow for sightseeing and this gives me time to do some training miles in the evening. How does it feel 11 days on the road? It's a shame to see that we're so far west and that the trip is going to end soon. There's a smorgasboard of antique and memorabilia shops to visit daily.

We seem to be avoiding the bad weather during our riding day to see the thunderstorms break at night. This was interesting tonight as we watched "Twister" I could smell the thunderstorm breaking outside the Odeon. It's civilized notion to be on PAC Tour and still have time in the evening to go see a movie.

that's a pretty good slice for now ...... Gerry

June 17: Winslow

Via the PAC Tour route card, today offered options of gravel alignment or interstate travel. However my ride day was a personal excursion away from the traffic hustle and direct westerly route. I headed north through the Navajo Indian reservation to visit the Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site at Ganado. The sun warmed the desert landscape as I filled two Camelbak bladders in preparation for my backwards traverse of the RAAM route. This route from Flagstaff to Chinle is desolate even when supported by a RAAM crew van. Today I drank 20 litres of fluid while covering stretches as large as sixty miles between services. I was surprised to see pedestrians miles from any settlement casually making their journey, who knows where. My route provided a glimpse of what I expect nust have faced the 66 traveler in Arizona through the 30a through the 30's. No sign of life and little chance of finding any water if stranded. Mexico's loss was my gain today. Cheers to the Colorado River!

Backpedal to Gerry's first posts.