Idyllwild Arts Technical Director and Theatre faculty member Todd Carpenter had said prior to beginning the 860-mile Race Across the West that his goal was to finish. He did considerably better than that, finishing first in the solo (not team) under-50 age division and second overall.
Thirty-two racers competed in the RAW solo category from Oceanside to Durango, Colorado. They left Tuesday, June 14. Todd crossed the finish line two days, 14 hours and 9 minutes later at 5:31 a.m. Friday June 17.
His goal was to complete the endurance race in 80 hours. He finished in slightly more than 62, 16 hours ahead of his personal goal and logging 928 miles in the process. “He finished so far ahead of his planned schedule that we arrived too early to get into the house we had rented,” said Bonnie Carpenter, Todd’s wife and crew chief. Luckily, another of his crew, former Idyllwild Arts student and current Durango resident Eric Bulrice, found temporary accommodations for them.
Bonnie credited Todd’s fast uphill climbs as likely reasons for his early finish. “He was great on the elevation,” said Bonnie. “He just blew past the others on the uphill inclines.”
Todd also managed to beat his goal of continuous riding of 36 hours from the start of the race before stopping for sleep. He logged 39 hours of riding before stopping for an hour and 15 minutes of sleep. Any sleep time is counted as part of the overall race time. The clock runs continuously from start of the race until finish, much like a time trial.
Bonnie said her crew, including Idyllwild Arts Theatre Chair J. Barrett Cooper, functioned perfectly together. She recounted the many times the crew in one of the following vehicles came abreast of Todd and handed him water and food. “This was the first time he ate fast food as part of a race,” said Bonnie. “It was a pretty textbook race for the crew. We just had to keep focused and remember how long the race was.”
This is the first endurance cycling event Team Carpenter has attempted in three-and-a-half years. Although a textbook race from the standpoint of the crew, for Todd it was an amazing finish and a victory to savor.
Bonnie has managed all but one of Todd’s endurance races. The very specific race rules required constant adherence to avoid elimination for any infraction. Bonnie’s forte is organization and planning, and the result — strong rider and strong crew — was a united effort. As Todd noted at the start of the race, “It’s called a solo race but this is a team event for sure.”