Release The Pace Giraffe: The Chronicle of RAAM Rookie Steve Born and His Novice Crew in the 1988 Race Across AMerica
Author: D.C. Born
Book review by Chris Kostman
Originally published in ULTRA Cycling, Spring 1993
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Several excellent books have been published which detail the trials and tribulations of various RAAMs, and all by an actual competitor in the event. However most of the other books have only a few chapters on the RAAM experience, Franz Spilauer's German language volumes being the exception. Release the Pace Giraffe, then, is a welcome addition to the RAAM library, for it sheds light on every agonizing detail that goes into qualifying and training for a RAAM and then actually doing the race. The book is also unique in that it is written from the perspective of the rider's father and crew chief. D.C. Born is the father of Steve Born, who placed 9th as a rookie in the 1988 RAAM from San Francisco to Washington D.C. This book details that effort.
And detail it does, for the reader is lead cross-country with Team Born every step of the way. One learns how the route book is read, about the strategies for sleep breaks, crew rotation schedules, and nutrition. Most entertaining are D.C's vivid snapshots of life along the RAAM route. The book chronicles, then, not only the RAAM but a journey into the very soul of Americana. Both stories are absolutely fascinating, evoking images of supreme human achievement both on the bike and off. It's heart-warming, even uplifting, to learn about Team Born and the lands that they pass through with the RAAM. The story makes the reader love the race, the country that is its arena, and the dedication of the spirit that are the hallmark of both.
My few gripes are the somewhat overly detailed narrative style, the references to most of the other racers by number and not name, and the lack of photos. But those are small complaints at best and the book is a fine first effort for a rookie author. The unreleased sequel, which details Team Born's efforts in the 1991 RAAM, promises to address these gripes and then some. I can't wait to get a copy.
As for that unique title, well, you'll have to read the book to find out what it means.
Order from D.C. Born P.O. Box 3603 Sunriver, OR 97707 $14.95, including S&H and tax. 493 pages, paperback.
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