Race Is Grueling, but View Is Spectacular

Post a Comment » Written on July 15th, 2008     
Filed under: News
CHICAGO, IL (July 15, 2008) – The Thorpe family says the grueling Race Across America gave them a deeper appreciation for the generosity of this country’s people and its beauty.

“There are a lot of really great people out there in America!” exclaims Leslie Thorpe, the team crew chief.

“When the follow van had a flat tire, a good Samaritan took the old tire off, drove Bill (Anderson) to a tire shop, called the owner to convince him to open up and sell us a tire, then came back and mounted the new tire himself,” Leslie says. “When Don (Thorpe) tried to offer to buy him even just a cup of coffee he would not accept it.”

A mechanical breakdown in Flagstaff was even more serious, but employees of a repair shop proved to be a providential pit crew. “Flag Tool in Flagstaff, Arizona, gave us priority and fixed the RV generator in record time so we could get back into the race,” Leslie says.

Others fed the hungry riders. The McDonald’s in Pratt, Kansas, gave them food and supplies. In addition, Leslie says, “Time station volunteers gave us food and water—a nice benefit to being dead last and therefore the last one through the time stations.”

Even though Roger Thorpe has traveled much of the world as a missionary with the Evangelical Covenant Church’s Department of World Mission, he was in awe of this country’s landscape. “I expected that it would be fun for 24 hours and then boring as can be, but it was never boring,” he says. “We got to see some great scenery going at a slow speed.”

“All in all, it was, as everyone assured us it would be—a once in a lifetime experience,” Leslie says. “There was a major equipment or personal crisis every day of the trip, but the   creative problem solving and cheerfulness of the crew and racers got us through them. We heard many stories of crews and racers fighting among themselves, and even one racer quitting because of the internal strife. We all managed to stay cheerful and friends to the end and have great memories.”

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