The 4-rider mixed team “Team Tri For Hospice” has two goals for RAAM 2016; one is to raise money and awareness about the importance of hospice care and the other is to break the 4-rider mixed record of 5 days, 22 hours and 40 minutes at 21.17 mph set in 2014 by Stand Up 2 Cancer / BMS.
The four riders (left to right) Karen Buxton, Becky Sage, Chip Harris and Charles Fields are all experienced with hospice, “And it’s something that’s important to all of us,” said crew member Lisa Sexton (Fields’ wife) who also handles the team’s PR. “Supporting hospice care is vital,” she continued. “Not just for the role it plays for folks at end of life, but also for the role it plays helping the caretakers and family members and providing care for them as well. Most of these hospice organizations are non-profit. For people that can’t afford it or whose insurance doesn’t cover it, donations provide for that. We feel it’s something that everyone deserves to have access to. One of our members, Karen Buxton started the team in 2012 after her brother passed away. She’s raised nearly $70,000 for our local hospice since 2012.” To facilitate further fund raising there’s a donation link on the team’s website home page, www.triforhospice.com.
The team members are all cyclists and Triathletes. Buxton is a Level-III USA Triathlon certified coach with over 30 years of coaching experience and author of The Triathlete's Guide to Off-Season Training. Sage, a former school teacher and was a founding member of the team, is a Triathlete who has completed Ironman distance a couple of times. Sexton shared Harris’ details, “He’s an operating room nurse and comes from a background of primarily mountain biking. But he’s picked up road cycling. Most of his long rides have been century distance, but he likes to suffer. His mother passed away with cancer so he has a tie with hospice, so he was really interested in participating. It really spoke to him.” Sexton then talked about her husband, Charles Fields. “He raced the Sebring 24 Hour to see how he’d do—he has not intention of ever doing RAAM solo—but he wanted to at least try to qualify. He made it to 350 miles in 20 hours and then hyperthermia set in.” That performance was 50 miles shy of RAAM qualifying. “He was disappointed, but he also had to get up and go to work in the morning!” Sexton said.
While the riders and crew members are mostly RAAM rookies, not all are. Buxton has previously participated on a team. “It’s been helpful having her with us,” Sexton said. “Her first team, they made all the mistakes so she can steer us away from them with her experience. And our crew chief (Mick Hitz) has never crewed for RAAM before, but he’s very detail oriented. He has a plan for every situation. We’re feeling as covered as we can—you can’t plan for everything.” “We’re set all the way up to plan ‘R’ but I don’t know what happens if we get to ‘S’. That’s part of the fun of these things.”
“We’re excited to get going,” Sexton said in closing. The riders and crew will do
RAAM simulation in the coming weeks to practice hand-offs, transitions and to test their equipment. “We want to have it all down prior,” she said. With Annapolis being a relatively short six hour drive from their homes, the team is looking forward to being greeting by friends and family when they reach City Dock. “My husband’s parents will be there in Annapolis as will some of the other team member’s families. We have very supportive families. That will be a big plus.”