Taking second place in the 8-rider competition was Team Pony Room Express, who finished today in a time of 6 days, 2 hours and 47 minutes for an average speed of 20.91 mph.
The team’s crew chief, Tony Riccitello (a former pro Triathlete turned trainer and Ironman official who has previously been a RAAM crew chief and racer) tells the team’s story, “RAAM is a celebration of Jeff Jacobs’ 50th birthday and a way for them to raise some money for Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF). It’s a great La Jolla-based organization that provide prosthetic device for athletes with disabilities and missing limbs, through money and grants. It’s an outstanding organization.”
The team members, Jacobs, Jeffrey Essakow, Kayvon Agahnia, Dave Vigil, Christian Aymond, Scott Kaplan, Bruno Wolfenzon and Hal Jacobs, chose the team name from their favorite watering hole, the Pony Room, the restaurant bar near their San Diego homes owned by Jacobs. Prior to the start Riccitello discussed the make-up of the team, “We’re an old team. Jeff is the second youngest at 50.We’ve got a couple of guys over 60. We’re old, but we’re ready to bring it to the youngsters. Each of the teams I’ve been associated with have taken the training seriously and have gone out there and had fun during the race. I think as a result of that fun and their diligence to the training, they’ve done well. I have no doubts this team will do well too. I’m a demanding crew chief. Not in a bad way. But the better prepared you are the more you’ll enjoy the event—that’s what I instill in them. Honestly they’ve gone above and beyond what I’ve asked them to do. They all work and it’s impressive. They know what they’re in for, aren’t taking it lightly, but my philosophy is when you have fun at what you’re doing you’re more likely to live up to or even exceed your capabilities.”
The team did indeed perform, not just in the race, but in their fund raising efforts as well. Together they raised over $150,000 for CAF, which is a reward in itself. Though Jacobs announced from the stage that he’s rewarding the team in another way—he’s rented a private island in Fiji and is taking the entire team.