PETER OYLER: We ll get er done this time!

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1 PETER OYLER: We ll get er done this time! By Vic Armijo A RAAM rookie has less than an even chance of reaching the finish. In 2007 Canada s Peter Oyler was among those fortunate rookies, finishing in a time of 11 days 4 hours 21 minutes with a race that went relatively trouble free, There were the typical factors of having to keep pressing on, he recalled, But there were no neck issues, no major saddle issues. I was off the bike every three to five hours for little treatments here and there. Two years later he attempted to better that result, In the beginning I just went for it like all the top guys did, he recalled, I fought it for a while, but by Taos, New Mexico I was already in trouble; a lot of night sweats and things. It just wasn t pretty. He continued, But we had to bail in Kansas. I was ill with kidney issues a lot of edema and I had to pull the plug 1500 miles into it. He blames his DNF on Lack of sleep and just really going for it; as opposed to a little more conservative strategy which we used in 2007 when I actually made it.

2 TAOS, NEW MEXICO 2009 When Oyler reached the 1044 mark in Taos in 2009 he was already showing signs of trouble. Amazingly he continued for over 500 more before packing it in at Maize, Kansas. We ll get er done this time! he vows of his 2013 RAAM, I m taking the approach of more sleep, better sleep so that when I m on the bike a can actually ride the bike and not just plod along and be a zombie like 2007 and even As the race wore on I didn t sleep long and as time went on I slowed down. But this time around I plan on getting my rest. Your body heals during that time. Get a quick treatment, get something in your belly, get the sleep and wake up fresh. I ve learned that strategy the hard way. Like most of my training and racing over the years once you ve done things a couple of times the right way and the wrong way you get more of a feel for it. I feel it s going to be a great race. That training has been challenging this year with Toronto s lingering winter, I have a total of 13 days on my bike over the winter, Oyler said in late April. Those few on-thebike days came during a visit to California. Unfortunately more visits to warmer climates weren t possible with work commitments he trains other athletes at his facility, Watts Up Studio Cycling, In lieu of actual riding he pedals hours a week on the trainer. That s crazy isn t it? He said with a laugh and explained how he s tried to get out and ride, Usually by now we ve had spring

3 weather and it s decent riding, but two weekends ago we had everything arranged for a 15 hour ride and the wind was blowing so hard it felt like it was minus 10! I just packed my car and called everybody, Don t meet me, it s not worth it. It wouldn t have been healthy or safe and wouldn t make any sense. You run the risk of getting sick. It s just not fun. I said to myself, There s absolutely nothing enjoyable about being out here right now. For this third RAAM he s working to have more balance in his training, I used to get on the bike every day mile, miles, miles it was all about sort of a fear of having to go the distance versus an overall balanced life. A lot of RAAM riders never see their spouses. You read how they ve done a 500-mile this weekend, and a 200-mile the following; some big mileage but it doesn t necessarily pay off when it comes to the event. I m doing a lot of lower volume rides during the week and bigger volume rides on the weekends, but no 3 or 4 hundred miles at a time. It takes too long to recover. I m also working on my speed; everybody slows down as the race goes on. I d like to have a reasonably strong beginning, but not really start to think about racing til Kansas. An obvious factor in RAAM is the heat, I ll be in Borrego Springs by the 28 th of May. I ll arrive in California and after a couple of days on the coast we ll head to the desert, he related of his plan to deal with one of RAAM inevitable challenges, I know that I m going to have plenty of moments in RAAM. I ll have to deal with those issues and continue to turn the pedals. We re not going to push push push push like in 2009 and just explode. We re going to be a lot more conservative. If I m having trouble we re going to stop and deal with the issues instead of just staying on the bike. When you push on beyond the worse it actually gets and the probability of finishing actually gets smaller. That s the voice of experience. While the 43 years old has only two previous RAAM s he s done plenty of triathlons, including some of Ironman distance, some 24 hour mountain bike and road bike events, I haven t done a ton of races but the ones that I do tend to be the ones that have a bit more credibility as far as Ultra Cycling goes. For me it s a time and finance thing and where they all are. In Canada there s really nothing, which means traveling and means expense. Fortunately for this RAAM I have a lot of great support from clients and from P10, a group of individuals who stood up and helped me by way of finances. I want to say a big thank you to them. And I have some great sponsors. La Bicicleta, a bike shop here is giving me two bikes, other small sponsors, Awake Chocolate, Re-Skin which is great for saddle-sore issues; it s an amazing product. Now that we re in the final stages a lot of people have come forward and said I want to support you in this venture, so it s been great. Oyler gives back too, partially through his affiliation with The Jack Project. It s a charity aimed at raising awareness about mental health issues and youth, he related, One of my clients, his son took his own life in his first year at university. So his father started the Jack Project in memory of him. We have an upcoming charity ride here in Ontario that will have close to 500 riders for us that s huge up here.

4 With training and finances set the remaining concern is a crew, My crew chief has done RAW twice. My dad is along as an auxiliary crew person with another retiree, and they ll be doing recon for us and finding hotels and things along the way. He has a ton of crewing experience; he s done the 508 and RAW and both RAAMs. He s been to pretty much every sporting event I ve done my whole life. My coach Greg Cannon has been to the 508 and RAW and he crewed for Paul Millar last year for RAAM. That s how it is with RAAM, with riders and crew returning year after year, It s the pinnacle of UltraCycling, Oyler said, Everybody wants to be a part of it once they ve experienced it. It s almost as if you re in another world and it draws you back. As an athlete you want to see what s possible. I know myself that I can share those experiences with so many others a nine year old right on up to a 70 year old who I have as clients, I ve been able to help them in their cycling and in their daily lives as well. You can accomplish great things and RAAM allows you to take that and during that time you re able to stay in it and be in it without thinking of anything else. During that whole time it s all about you and your team that network of people focusing to get you to the finish line. It s a rolling road show. For the people on the crew of course it s all hard work, but they also have a great time and come away with some inspiring experiences to share.

5 We ll be in good shape come June 11 th, he said in conclusion, I think I might still have 23 only days on the road by then. But one thing is for sure, you don t forget how to ride a bike!

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