Well, that was not how it was supposed to go….

| September 13, 2009 10:51 am

We once read a Chris Carmichael quote that said: “If there is not a significant chance of failure, it is probably not a very good goal.” For those following the HooDoo webcast you know that we had to pull out of the race at about 350 miles.

Russ was not able to finish, but wow, what a crazy ride with incredible highs and ultimately an unrecoverable low. Russ raised over $7000 for the American Cancer Society in honor of his dad. Our crew was fantastic, the ride was well organized and the course amazingly beautiful. The weather conditions were really favorable. Russ was marking the race favorite’s pace for ~200 miles, and then Russ was in the LEAD! From the follow car, we watched as a mountain lion crossed Russ’ path in the pitch dark. His feet didn’t hurt. His back didn’t hurt. All the things we were most worried about didn’t materialize. With so much excitement, we didn’t fully appreciate some physical problems early enough to find solutions on the road. However, it really is difficult to get everything perfect for 519 miles.

Russ gained several pounds of water during the race and finally was so sick he and our crew all agreed it was medically time to quit. Russ finally summed it up when he slumped his shoulders and said — “I can’t fix this. Not out here.” He is slowly feeling physically better and is recovering. Emotionally, this has given us quite a whallop. However, we always say, one of the reasons we do these challenging events is that you always learn something.

As anyone who has ever failed at an event to which they devoted an inordinately large portion of their physical and emotional self can attest – its difficult to find words to describe what we are feeling right now. It is even harder to find the energy. It will take a while for things to settle down and for us to return all the well wishes. Please understand if we go a little radio silent for awhile.Check back for more updates . Too much happened to not share (eventually).

Thanks for being the great community of friends and curious onlookers.

Sheila (and Russ) Stevens

14 Responses to “Well, that was not how it was supposed to go….”

Mike McGeough wrote a comment on September 13, 2009

Congratulations Russ! You didn’t fail at the event. The first step is entering, the next step is riding, and the 3rd step is learning where you went wrong so you won’t do it again, (or too often). 350 miles at the pace of the leading rider even leading for 200 miles is astounding. We are all proud of you.

Sheila stated you “gained several pounds of water.” How did you do that? Are you sure she didn’t mean you lost weight and got dehydrated?

Franz wrote a comment on September 13, 2009

It was a fantastic experience for me to crew for Russ. Although the end point was not what Russ was hoping for, that does not take away the fantastic experience of planning, training and riding the vast majority of the miles and most of the climbing of the event.

Rob Lenicheck wrote a comment on September 13, 2009

Well, Russ, you gave it a real go! Congrats for getting that far. I used to ride some with Seana Hogan who told me that being bloated almost cost her life during one of the RAAMS. We can talk more when we see each other.

Lance Wilson wrote a comment on September 13, 2009

Russ, Sheila, and Crew – We are all VERY proud of you!!! There is no failure in attempts like this! I go back often to the wonderful story you told one evening on our ride down Highway One a few years ago – the story about “Maybe Good, Maybe Bad – Who Knows?” I hope you can rely on the powerful message from this story as you regain your health!

As I know you know and believe, everything in life happens for a reason and we continue to learn and grow from our experiences. Life’s greatest tragedy lies in not taking risks.

Thanks for being who you are… a kind, loving person who is willing to take risks!

You are a hero to all who know you.

Lance Wilson

pamm wrote a comment on September 13, 2009

Kudos for even going for it! It’s funny I’m sad but yet hopefull.

Aaron wrote a comment on September 13, 2009

We look forward to hearing the details of an incredible ride. And I’ll still make good on the burger and beer I promised 🙂

Have a safe journey home.

werner wrote a comment on September 14, 2009

Hi Russ,

Thank’s for trying. I can imagine how disheartened all the team may feel. Then, I started thinkin’ about what your dad would think about all of this. I bet tear’s of joy would stream from his eyes after being honored by such a heroic effort.

You have won Russ. You honor your father’s name.

Joanne Mitani wrote a comment on September 14, 2009

I’m very proud of you, and how disciplined you were in taking on the challenge. Though this may not have had the end result we wanted and hoped for, you did do an outstanding job in raising funds. I’m sure your father is proud of you too!

Rom 8:28

Jeff Griffin wrote a comment on September 14, 2009

Way to go, Russ. You did your prep, but not all can be anticipated, I suppose. As they say, failure isn’t falling down, it’s not getting up. Hope to see you doing it again next year and winning.

Sai & Izabella wrote a comment on September 14, 2009

Russ: Amazing will and determiniation! We will find more information and what was going on your mind when you are back in Santa Clara.

Sheila: Thanks for the info. flashes on the race itself.

It was for a great cause!

With Best Regards,

Sai, Izabella, Visala and Surya

Evelyn wrote a comment on September 14, 2009

Congrats on getting as far as you did and for raising so much money. In the end, you still did something great to help fight the war against cancer. We look forward to seeing you guys soon.

Eileen Altman wrote a comment on September 14, 2009

Russ and Sheila,
I am so proud of you for all that you did to prepare for this event, especially your spiritual preparation. The Outreach Board prayed for you when we met on Saturday morning. I hope that your disappointment will fade and you will find joy in all that you experienced. We look forward to welcoming you home!

Deborah Hoag wrote a comment on September 14, 2009

Sheila you said it best. Yes, the goals must be high with a chance of failure or the goals are not worth it. When I saw the DNF, I thought of the first time I DNF on Terrible Two. I had never given up on anything. And being pulled at mile 177 was very emtional for me. But, I did go back the following year and finish in 2004. And then in 2008, when I set out to do the Stage Race, I had completed both Mulholland that I had 50% DNF rate and Central Coast. I was in the best shape going into the Terrible Two, but little did I know we would not be able to find the ride start. We had a 25 minute late start. I was able to complete 110 miles in 8 1/2 hours, however missed the cut off by 25 minutes. Then with the loss of my son none of this matter anymore. I was finally able to get back on the bike and complete the stage race for my son. DMD and training for DMD was a nightmare for me. I could never get it together. I finished the stage race, however, I am still not in the shape was in 2008. What are my goals for 2010, Stage race on the tandem. If we do not make it 2010, then the next year. These types of rides let a person know himself or herself spiritually, physically, and the mind.

Yes, the question to ask is what did I learn from all this. And how can I try again and be successful.

Lisanne wrote a comment on September 17, 2009

Russ, Sheila and Crew,

I was following you guys last weekend and was excited when I learned that Russ was in the lead. I was also very bummed when I saw that you had to pull out. I can only imagine the disappointment you must feel, but I really think you did something great and incredible. Russ, your dad would be soooo proud about what you have done – seriously. So to that I say congratulations! Remember the journey and the big picture. Our “failures” in life can often give us strength as we move forward (and I honestly don’t think you “failed”…uh, cuz you rock!) 🙂

Have a safe trip home and I hope you are feeling better.