A Long Winded Conclusion

Dear team FARA (and the FA community) - you are amazing.

I joined Team FARA because I am terribly vulnerable to Kyle's sales pitches. Upon arriving in Oceanside, I will now admit, I had no idea what I had gotten myself into. Other than what the title implies, the Race Across America was a mystery to me; turns out, this was a good thing. As the race rules, crew rotations & required equipment were revealed, I found myself questioning the sanity of the riders and the crew I was about to join on this journey (especially that of Sheriff Gore).

(crazy right?)

Along the course of this ride, we traveled 3,000 miles through 12 states in just over 200 hours. We hoisted the bikes/trikes on to their respective racks over 500 times. We consumed hundreds of sandwiches & wraps (although surprisingly only one PBJ wrap) and drank enough caffeine to at least accommodate the morning rush at your local Starbucks (perhaps Tracy can back me up on this one). We experienced rural America at the comfortable speed of 15.1 MPH, although we would have liked to pick this pace up a bit in Kansas (only joking Kansas - your sunsets and Buffalo meat alone were worth the journey). We encountered an assortment of weather: hot, cold, humid, rain, lightning and wind to name a few.

(see what I'm talking about - Kansas is what's happening)

The crew was unphased by sleep deprivation, hilarious comments from navigators or annoyingly late camera guys - keeping the riders safe at all times and only seldom leading them off course (sorry Sean Baum). The RV, despite its overstuffed nature (both human and let's just say "crap") was at all times a sanctuary - all the credit in the world to Diane, Tracy & Paul. The riders were an inspiration, waking up only four hours after their last shift to go do it again, almost always (exception, Sean Baum) with a smile on their face.

Unlike most teams, Team FARA gained momentum throughout the race. The supporters that drove for hours to cheer us on, gave us inspiration. The letters provided by Mary lifted us up. And the bonds that we developed with our fellow crew members gave us even more reason to be there. While I signed up for this trip to support my friend Kyle, by the third day I realized all that I was fighting for: Mary and her daughters, Mike & Diane, Felicia, Sean, Bob, Steve & Erin, Paul, Mike A, Sheriff Gore & Sam, Phil, Aaron, Deputy Lockwood, Mike M & Tracy; for supporters along the way and those awaiting our arrival at the finish; for those checking the blog on a daily basis; for hope. I wasn't the only one subject to this infectious force. We were joined by a camera crew, which through countless hours of driving behind four inspirational riders, saw their passion for a film grow into passion for a cause. It is only through their commitment (and repeated acts of God), that their beater RV (Rainbow Fox) made it across the I wonder if it will make it back.

To my friend Kyle: you are amazing. After every pull as I would help lift you out of the trike - I pondered how many people you were helping to lift up in some way (myself included). I know you are inspired by those supporting you; but you will never know how much inspiration you provide. Suffice to say, you are the world's smallest Barney (but a Barney nevertheless). I will follow you, wherever you may go (just steer clear of Kansas in the future). I love you, man.

Lastly (yes, this should indicate I'm almost done here), I must comment on Team FARA's #1 finish. Because the other team in our division did not finish, we took first place and were quite literally the only team in our division. I find this fitting because there really was no other team like us in the Race Across America. A group of rookies, most of whom have little to no cycling experience (riders excepted), decide to join one borderline lunatic on a journey that even he would admit was crazy...Team FARA for short. Looking at what we accomplished, with a supporting cast of hundreds of amazing people - is it really that crazy to think that we could cure FA?

A Complete Photo Album

John Loves Powdered Donuts!

A little more research on the RAAM website lead me to this video. That's John eating the powdered donut near the beginning!


RAAM Media

I finally got a chance to scour the RAAM website for Team FARA sightings and found this:

Thank you to the RAAM media crew who was so good to us on the road.

I am still trying to wrap my head around this whole adventure.  I let it sit for a day and watched a slideshow of photos tonight and was very emotional.  I'm sad that it is over, but this is only the beginning for Team FARA.  Stay tuned. . . . .


Time to go home...

After a great race, the building of beautiful friendships, and celebrating with friends and family in our FA family...its time to fly back to sacramento! Thank you all for the adventure of a lifetime!
Until the next great adventure...boomslam!
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7 miles left in raam

Web cam I think at the finish! for the cam

Countdown Begins

Heading into the finish

Kyle & I in FARA Van 1 - sometimes known as goldie locks, gold van, sandpiper, golden nugget, saharah blaster, mean machine, and so on...
Approaching our final 10 miles!

Check out for the live video stream of our finish in Annapolis!
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Heading into the finish

Kyle & I in FARA Van 1 - sometimes known as goldie locks, gold van, sandpiper, golden nugget, saharah blaster, mean machine, and so on...
Approaching our final 10 miles!

Check out for the live video stream of our finish in Annapolis!
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Raam finish webcam has a webcam set up at the finishline we should
be crossing at around 1:27 east coast time... Will try to update with
a better time estimate the closer we get... 50 miles out!

Finish Strong

Page 146 contains the Special Instructions for Finish - 91.2 miles to
go. All 4 riders will ride the final 54.6 miles together from Mount
Airy, MD to Annapolis...may I suggest you join them?


Mike B is at the helm on this beautiful evening as we cruise through
Gettysburg while the riders battle a few miles behind us. If that
doesn't paint the picture for you, see the photo.

Final push

I realize the posts are getting less frequent but we are making the
final push. We have slowed down a bit in the rolling hills of
Pennsylvania. John and I just finished our toughest shift of the
entire trip and Sean and Mike are out battling the hills right now.
140 miles to go!

Sunrise climb

Top of a tough climb followed by a signature John Lockwood screamin'
descent in West Virginia.

Almost there!

The Journey & the Friends You Take with You

Someone on the crew (I think it was Diane) remarked how grateful she was for the members of our crew that joined because they had a connection to FA through a friend. We draw a lot of parallels between the kind of terrain passed on this journey and a family's life with FA. Many times, I imagine, it is the uphill climb like the team is traveling now---where you just need to put your head down and keep turning the crank. Other times, I'd think, it is like the loneliness of the dark and rainy night on a quiet Ohio country road. And others like the wind blowing you sideways as you try to move forward as in the open Kansas plains. But still our FA families and our team press on---knowing that it isn't necessarily the terrain but who you take with you and who you meet along the way that matters. Thank you to the friends and siblings in our crew---Blake, Mike G, Tracy, Aaron, Steve, and Phil. You joined the team simply because you love someone with FA. You've followed behind our cyclists lighting their way in the dark, feeding them between shifts, monitoring their progress and watching out for them. They've made this journey because you were either behind them or at their side. A special thank you to our cyclists Mike and John who came to this journey because of their friendship with Sean and Kyle. Your commitment to your friends and to the FA community has touched the hearts of so many.

And an added Happy Father's Day to Phil who is spending it on the road with the team and away from his little girls in CA. Thanks Phil.


Keith Michael Andrus, 12/21/1985 - 1/22/2010

Team FARA Riders and Crew dedicate our last day of riding to Keith Michael Andrus.

Keith's diagnosis of Friedreich's ataxia at age 11, inspired his parents, Raychel and Ron Bartek, to join him in his fight, and found FARA. Even during the final and very challenging months of Keith's life he courageously continued to not only advocate for himself but for others with FA as he left no stone unturned exploring advanced and experimental treatment options. Keith’s legacy and inspiration lives on in Team FARA, pushing us forward, deepening our commitment and giving us a urgency.

We often quote Ron as saying, "Acting alone there is little any of us can accomplish whereas acting together there is little we will not accomplish." These words are deeply rooted in the FARA culture- the way we pursue treatments and a cure for FA and today as we complete this amazing journey, Keith is with us.

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to the FA Dads on the Team FARA crew- Paul Konanz, Mike Andresen, Bob O'Neil and Mike Bryant. Thank you for trading in a quiet Father's Day at home to be on the road keeping our cyclists safe and moving towards the finish line. Thank you Paul- our RV captain and fixer of all RV things broken (generators, toilets, etc). Thank you Mike A. for all of the research on the rules, route, elevation profiles, temperatures, and cell coverage. Your detail management made us feel more in the know and less like a rookie crew. Thank you Bob for all the time spent preparing the vehicles and countless driving hours over the last week. And thank you to Mike B.- our crew chief -for taking on the enormous responsibility of leading four cyclists and twelve crew on this incredible cross country journey all because your son asked you to.

Thank you FA Dads. You monitored and followed our cyclists through sun and rain, light and darkness, mountains and windy plains. You did it on compromised sleep time and under stressful conditions. You did it because you love your kid and wanted to honor him/her with this service to the greater FA community. With the utmost respect-- Thank you.

And Happy Father's Day to my own Dad. Thanks for teaching me that there is nothing better than being a member of a team that has a worthy purpose.

West Virginia

We have arrived in west Virginia start of the east coast mountain
range... Three states to go!!! Yippi!!!

Mikes sorry

He texted me this picture when he got me lost yesterday and I had to
ride 9 miles In 97 degree heat 50% humidity... I forgave him... Who
can resist that puppy dog face, lol

Healthy Break

Team FARA riders and crew have been working nonstop for 7 days now. We
have been kicking butt and had a rough, wet night last night so we
took 2 hours this afternoon to regroup and make the final push for the
finish. We reflected on the past week and we are all overehelmingly
proud of how far we have come but we realize that we are not done yet.

We just got back on the road more focused than ever with our sights
set on the finish line.

Predicted Time Station Arrivals Update

Approaching Athens, OH! Use this link to view Predicted Time Station Arrivals and check our progress on the RAAM map. This should help since the GPS tracking linked on our blog is currently not signaling. Less than 500 miles to go!


When a sixteen ounce water bottle just ain't enough.


Team FARA is not just this team or this race, it is a greater effort with many participants all with similar goal to stay fit, challenge yourself, raise awareness for Friedreich's Ataxia (FA) and support FA research.


Team FARA members are running, walking, biking and swimming for FA research around the world. While they are geographically dispersed, Team FARA is united with the same goal: to draw attention to FA through acts of physical endurance and to support the advancement of FA research towards treatments and a cure for FA.

About Team FARA

Team FARA is made up of people around the globe who participate in endurance events on behalf of the Friedreich's Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA) with the goal of raising awareness and funds for FA research. Past Team FARA members have registered as individuals and groups in local marathons, ½ marathons, triathlons, ironman competitions, bike tours and 5K runs. With the FARA name in their fundraising materials, local press releases, and on their race jerseys, Team FARA members are introducing the general public to this rare disease and the importance of supporting FA research.

Join Team FARA

You can join Team FARA simply by registering in a local athletic event of your choice and deciding to do so in FARA's name. FARA will provide a fundraising webpage for you to customize with a photo and information about your event participation. FARA will also work with you to generate a press release and a strategy for local press coverage of your endurance event and campaign for FA research. Finally, FARA will supply you with either a Team FARA running jersey or t-shirt to be worn at your event. Your supporters also have the opportunity to purchase Team FARA t-shirts to wear as they cheer you on.

If you're interested in joining Team FARA, please contact us at

If you are looking for an event, join me at Ride Ataxia Philadelphia, 10/10/10. This is a great event with distances for all levels of riders.
Most importantly, Get out there and Educate, Empower and Enable!


Blanchester, Ohio....we're not positive where these signs came from, but we appreciate them nonetheless!! Maybe that support ran out of waiting time? Who knows. Thank you secret operatives of Blanchester!
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Good morning!

After a night of battling a serious downpour the sun rises again and
the next shift looks to face another wet storm headed our way.


Saturday Challenge

At the beginning of the ride Kyle announced a goal of 1000 visits to the blog in a single day. We have gotten close... we have 920 visits in a day and we have had >2600 unique visitors but we have not had 1000 visits in a day.

As the team races through Ohio and West Virginia on Saturday lets see if we can get people to give up their chores and check out the blog.

Goal: 1000 visits to the blog on Saturday!

Hometown Friends

Emily and family drive 4 hours just to show their support on a random
Indiana road. Emily and I went to highschool together and I am good
friends with her brother Matt. Thanks for the support!

Mike as McGyver

So...we've managed to collect about 87 live, annoying, pesky flies in this RV, but for some reason its been impossible to get fly traps that meet some of the crews' "safe chemicals" standards, or even a fly-swatter. These stupid flies keep us awake when they consistently land on our faces! But fear no longer team & crew, Racer Mike has improvised and made 6 fly traps of his own! In your face flies!

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Mike as McGyver

So...we've managed to collect about 87 live, annoying, pesky flies in this RV, but for some reason its been impossible to get fly traps that meet some of the crews' "safe chemicals" standards, or even a fly-swatter. These stupid flies keep us awake when they consistently land on our faces! But fear no longer team & crew, Racer Mike has improvised and made 6 fly traps of his own! In your face flies!

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It is all about the mission!

I am so excited by the number of people we have had visiting the blog and spreading the word on Facebook. We wanted to do RAAM to raise awareness and educate people about Friedreich's ataxia and FARA's mission to bring treatments forwarded even faster.

What is Friedreich's Ataxia (FA)?
Friedreich's Ataxia is a progressive, neurodegenerative condition that dramatically, unexpectedly alters lives causing:
*Loss of coordination and muscle weakness in the arms and legs
*Energy deprivation/fatigue
*Vision impairment, hearing loss, and slurred speech
*Agressive scoliosis
*Life-shortening cardiac disease

What is FARA?
The Friedreich's Ataxia Research Allianceis a non-profit organization dedicated to curing Friedrech’s ataxia (FA) through research. FARA grants and activities provide support for basic and translational FA research, pharmaceutical/ biotech drug development, clinical trials, and scientific conferences. FARA also serves as a catalyst, between the public and scientific community, to create worldwide exchanges of information that drive medical advances.

Today, individuals with FA are hopeful due to significant research breakthroughs that FARA has helped facilitate over the last decade. We are now in the "treatment era" as clinical trials are in progress. Each day, the FARA scientific community moves closer to realizing our goal of slowing, stopping, reversing and ultimately curing FA. Freedom from the debilitating, devastating effects of FA is on the horizon.

Learn more about FA, FARA and the research progress at:

"Acting alone there is very little any of us can accomplish. Acting together, there is very little we will NOT accomplish."

Back to the road!

We just surpassed the distance, in 6 days, that the pro competitors in Tour de France do in 3 weeks!

Redbull it up!

Right now we are all wishing for some wings!!!


Team FARA riders and crew are constantly trying to catch some z's.

Day 6

Mike's only pair of clean socks.

Yet another transition

Transitions keep happening, different times different places... It
kinda like life always adapting to situations and circumstances but
the main thing is that not all transitions are smooth sometimes they
don't go exactly as planned but if you push hard you will reach the
finish! Oh and just for the record I think the crew has our
transitions down to a science now... Haha it was a little rough going
in the beginning lol! Like when john left the transition area even
though the other ride hadn't made it there yet, we got the
comunication going now though!!!


You know it's a good morning when tracy busts out the bubbles while we
are leapfrogging... Good thing cause I needed a pick-me-up this morning!

Good morning!!!


We have made it to
The Mississippi!

Less than 1,000 miles to go!

The dream is coming true! 2/3 of the way there!


Can't sleep

I can't sleep so I thought I'd try to download some thoughts.

I felt a positive shift in the morale entire team tonight as John and
I finished our riding shift. We had been getting a little sloppy with
our communication and rider/crew transitions and everyone was getting
a little frustrated...each person realized that something needed to
change so the crew got together briefly and addressed the concerns and
will work to make our machine run more efficiently. We are riding fast
and feeling great so if we clean up our act just a bit we will be in
Annapolis in no time. We can taste the finish line and it tastes great!

More Support

Today Mark Bogucki and his friend Tom met us in Weableau, MO with
their bbq's and fed us pulled pork sandwiches, baked beans and Mark's
special cheese corn dish. So good!

Mark is one of the original supporters of Ride Ataxia. Thanks boys!

Y Not?

Road names in Missouri are simple.

Rv driving

Sometimes counters get slippery and foods fly off when taking turns
fast! Tracy is a champ though and helping seany clean it up!

Next year I'm coming back for the competition... I'm goons take first for shure!!! Oh small town livin

Video of Team FARA in Action!

Team FARA cruises through Kansas with a little help from local fans. See the team, crew, and fan support in action!

Into Missouri

Hot and humid. Concentrating on staying Hydrated. NUUN is key!

Wright Family

We just had the privilege of meeting Terry Wright, who drove out to Fort Scott, KS from the Joplin area of Missouri to cheer us on! Terry brought us some of her daughters (Shelby) favorite cupcakes!! Shelby - you have great taste! Thanks for coming out and seeing us Terry!
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The Cyclist

Sean Baum shows up the "biker" in the background. With powerful legs
like those, who needs a motor?



One of the few perks of riding through the night.


An eternity ago we passed through the Prescott National Forest in
Arizona - and up Mingus Mountain. From the top, we were privy to this
magnificent view of Haywood Canyon.

Running strong

I lost track of days now... getting a little time to read some of the
comments from everyone. Thank you all for your support, thank you for
being a fire behind us giving motivation when nights get dark and the
miles get long. Know that just as much as we are in your thoughts that
you are in ours as well... The friends family I love you!

Maize/Wichita support

Team FARA just got a huge shot of energy back about 25 miles from Bill & Marty and their families! These 2 fellow FA patients rallied their troops and they set up with posters and loud cheers at the time station in Maize! They also got us a police escort through town! It was exciting and motivating to ride in to this kind of support! The FA community as a whole is making a difference, and we are honored to be representing that community in Race Across America.
Bill, Marty, and families - thank you for your support! You'll never know how motivating and empowering you guys are for this team! Hope is alive and kicking (and pedaling too).

We will try to upload pictures from this rendezvous later.
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Rest Shift

John and Blake checking out the photos from the day. Better get some
sleep boys!