Q) Why “Red Pearl”?
A) We decided that we really couldn't be Raven Lunatics any more. But one of the Raven Lunatic traditions we're keeping is the pirate flag, so we decided to stick with a pirate theme. The Black Pearl was Jack Sparrow's pirate ship – and when we got a red van, that was the deal-maker.
Q) Why not RAAM?
A) C'mon, we're young and in love! A week of not, um, seeing each other is a very long time. It would be super-embarrassing to have to pull over for a conjugal visit in, say, Effingham. (Trending on Twitter: #raammeltdown #effingineffingham) When we sign up for RAAM, sometime 'waaaaay out there in the future, feel free to remind us of this. Seriously – the money and insanity commitment just wasn't there.
Q) Ummmm, young?
A) It's a state of mind. And all the old people we see are still older than us.
Q) Why RAW, then?
A) Because it's an optimal challenge for us. We're really looking forward to it, it doesn't break the bank, and we can race hard for (our super-secret goal time). We get almost all of the good scenery, and we've asked Dennis Johnson's team to send us a photo of a cornfield so we don't feel like we're missing out on the rest of it.
Q) Who's on the crew?
A) Our crew chief is Ian Hoffman. He's been through RAW, RAAM, and RAO. We've also got Phil Bradley (David's older son, also a RAAM crew vet), Jim Kern (crewing RAW and then RAAM for Dennis's team after Durango), Jennifer Johnson (Adventure's Edge), Willard Foote (retired and lovin' it), and Jan Werren (ditto). A good mix of experience and talent, with a definite Humboldt flair.
Q) Speaking of Humboldt - any sponsors besides Adventures' Edge that you'd like to mention?
A) Hey - stay out of my granola! Los Bagels generously stepped up to the plate.
Q) What have you been doing to train for RAW?
A) Besides “ride lots”, which generally works out well, we've added in some weight training, heat training in a sauna, and 24-hour interval training sessions where we take turns working hard. It was important to us to transition from riding “with” each other (which we do a lot of) to riding “for” each other.
Q) Why recumbents?
A) David made us. Seriously. Lots of good reasons to race recumbents: they're more comfortable, you can absorb the scenery better, they're safer in the unlikely event of a crash, the downhill and flat terrain can go by a little faster, you don't chap all the hide off of your sensitive parts - and you still have to worry about being sidelined by that lovin' feeling in Effingham.
Q) Why Musashis? Aren't they extinct?
A) No, they're not extinct, just out of production. The Musashi is an excellent – stellar, actually – paradigm for an ultraracing bike. It's the CAAD5 of the recumbent world: not the lightest or most exotic bike. But it's stiff, efficient, stable, and has awesome climbing geometry, which will be important for Bill.
Q) What was that, again?
A) I said, climbing geometry will be important for Bill. I suppose I'll get my share of the climbing in – but we're going to stick Bill with the epic parts. He's a fantastic climber.
Q) OK, now that we've exposed your strategy, what other secrets do you want to share?
A) We're going to pedal real fast - and play bagpipe music when we pass our main rabbits.
Q) Rabbits? Yikes! The RAW team field is stacked with talent this year! Your rabbits are...?
A) Not great fans of bagpipe music, I'll bet.
Q) One last question. Your tagline is “We're the luckiest people in the world”. Want to expand on that a bit?
A) Sure. We ARE incredibly lucky. We were lucky enough to get born to parents who were pretty fantastic at taking care of tiny, helpless people, in a country that has clean water and clean air. We were given education and opportunity to try sports from a young age. We have decent jobs that pay the bills and strong bodies that don't let us down. All that good luck got us to a point where we could become TRULY lucky: we found racing, and we found each other.