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Birdmachine Chicago is carrying on the Ragnar Relay torch as the second team in our Podium Project Series. After talking to this crew of poised, yet determined women, I gathered extensive data and present to you some (almost) scientific findings.

Graphs are included because this team means business, and everyone knows businesses love graphs. 



BECKI SPELLMAN: speed demon – FOUR time Olympic Trials Qualifier – has the ability to make the most exhausted and sleep deprived runners smile.
MAELUEN GRUMAN: The energizer bunny of the relay team, she will keep going, and going, and going. Need actual proof of this profound ability? Her relay-without-sleep record is 40 hours.
JEANNIE SULLIVAN: Meet the team jokester, Jeannie. On deck for any moment the team needs a morale boost whether its via inappropriate jokes at the starting line, or turning the darkest moments of the race into a solid punchline.
BETSY NEUSTIFTER: The Queen of the night legs! Betsy claims to have natural night vision that will give her the ability to run the darkest sections with absolutely zero fear… and without a headlamp. Just kidding that would violate rules and we’re not about that. Definitely will test at a later date though.
LAURA JULIEN: Laura is a mother of an 18 month old who refuses to sleep through the night AND she works full time. Therefore, she can succeed without sleep. Meanwhile I’m tired just thinking about it.
COURTNEY HANSEN: Courtney calls herself the execution master. Gnarly uphill? Executed. Downhill? Executed. Morning leg? Executed. Night leg? STILL executing. This woman is relentless and an honorary captain of the Gritty Bitches Racing Team. 
KRISTINA TABOR: A super encourager, who is also super organized. Fun fact, Kristina possesses an internal GPS and will 100% find any item that may be lost or forgotten during the relay.
NICOLE FALVO: A Ragnar Relay veteran, Nicole is prepared to conquer any and all obstacles the race may throw her way.  
JENNA MUTZ: The team rock, Jenna is able to stay calm even in the most unexpected moments. Mountains into molehills? Ha! Try ant-hills. Teeny tiny ant hills. Also, look for Jenna and her varying Goodr glasses that will perfectly coordinate with each outfit.
ELIZABETH MILLER: A champion of others and their accomplishments! Elizabeth is ready to focus on one step at a time and find joy in her teammate’s successes.
AMY SCHLOTTHAUER: A consistent runner who has such an impeccable feel for pace she is basically a human Garmin.
ASHLYN HOWIE: Rounding out the runners for Birdmachine Chicago is Ashlyn! This is her first relay but she is more than ready to push herself outside of her comfort zone and go for the win, maybe even squeezing in some naps along the way. 
ANDREA GILLESPIE: Crew member and DJ master, Andrea is ready to keep the good tunes and good vibes rolling all weekend long.
LISA BROWN: Next on the crew team is hardcore cowbeller, Lisa. She will ruthlessly cheer on all teammates until they no longer want to hear her voice, further inspiring them to run faster.
MOLLY THOMAS: Documenter extraordinaire. Molly is ready to take pictures of everything. The good, the bad, the ugly. No team member, no moment, is safe from the camera.
CHRISTINE PEITER: Last but not least, is crew member Christine who will be drawing inspiration from Lionel Ritchie. Thus she is ready stay up all night long and make runners laugh even when they want to cry. Honorable work. 


The Birdmachine Hierarchy of Needs
When asked what item they would absolutely NOT forget the birdmachine team came forward with an array of answers. However, some items were frequent repeats, and therefore proven to be essential (hence the items at the bottom of the pyramid). Not essential to all, but a pillar to some, was their Yeti. Rumor has it a Yeti dance party may ensue mid-race pending current energy stores. Stay tuned. Glasses of all variety are packed in bags predominantly for safety reasons, such as seeing the road or speed signs. Tweezers were only mentioned once but could prove vital if a mid-race sliver unexpectedly cripples a runner. Findings: Birdmachine Chicago is very prepared. 


Team Talent
All twelve runners and four crew were asked to share their relay superpower. This elaborate graph shows this team has all of the ingredients for a sweet, sweet recipe of winning. 12/12 fasties, 4/4 organized crew. Bonuses included a comedian, a DJ, a photographer, a mother to an infant (read: performs great under pressure without sleep) and a master of Ragnar Relays. Findings: Birdmachine Chicago is a well-rounded elite Ragnar team.

I'm done dropping #BirdmachineCHI knowledge for now, but there will be more to come this Friday and Saturday! Follow our Oiselle Podium Project twitter and #BirdmachineCHi for race day updates.


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Racing - Races
Allyson Ely