Thursday, April 01, 2010

More RAAM coverage - introducing our Crew Chief!

In the world of staying fit and active, a lot of folks talk the talk, a few walk the walk and yet others - like 74-year old local resident Lee Mitchell - pedal the, uh, pedal.

Mitchell, an instructor in geology, geography and oceanography at Woodland Community College, has been cycling for nearly three decades but unlike most folks who pull a bicycle out of their garage or storage shed for a leisurely five-mile ride once a week, Mitchell has logged more than 100,000 miles on his bike and chalks much of his passion for distance up to his first Davis Double Century event in 1975.

Since that one event, Mitchell has participated in hundreds of rides including racing in three Race Across America (RAAM) events - an annual 3,000-mile, coast-to-coast race that draws endurance riders from around the globe - and crewing another twenty.

Alternating between racing on a team (setting records in each for age-category race times) and acting as a crew chief to other teams, Mitchell has become a well-known face to the RAAM athletes who compete each year and 2010 will be no different. Beginning June 12, Mitchell will be crew chief for Team Bent Up Cycles, an all-male, all recumbent bicycle team as the four-man team leaves Oceanside, CA.

Sponsored by Bent Up Cycles, the premier retailer and manufacturer of recumbent bicycles in the States, the team consists of three Californians - Dana Lieberman, owner of Bent Up Cycles, Willie Hunt and Jim Verheul - and Texan Kent Polk.

Few riders or crew chiefs know the Race Across America route, high points or challenges the way that Mitchell - nicknamed "Fuzzy" for his Santa Claus-like beard - does and he's got great stories to share. In fact, Mitchell is a fun, lively character who treats the idea of 3,000 miles in non-stop cycling the way he treats life - with a great, great sense of humor.

In the last three months, Lee has pulled the team together by providing much needed insight, cinched the logistics of building a 14-person crew, making sure racers have the appropriate equipment for the race, and ensuring that all of the little things, those things that many forget about until the day of the race, get done! For that reason, we felt it appropriate to feature him first in our series of crew and racers for Team Bent Up Cycles.

For more information about sponsoring our team, email us at, or purchase a supporter T-shirt at the Bent Up Cycles website.

Photos by Chuck Bramwell, James Burger

2 comments: said...

I always wondered what Santa did during the off-season!

Jim Artis said...

Wonderful story. I remember following Mitchell and the Grand Pac Masters Team in last year's RAAM. Thanks for sharing. --jim