you donít think Dave Haase is at least a little bit nuts, he figures
heís not trying hard enough. "Thatís how I function,"
Haase says. "When I look at something, I wonder, ĎIs that crazy
The answer most
times is yes. Haase is an endurance athlete who has run and ridden his
bike for hours and sometimes days on end with little regard for his
second in a 24-hour bike race in Iowa last summer and qualified for
the Race Across America, a 3,000-plus mile jaunt from Oceanside,
Calif., to Annapolis, Md., this June. At the age of 47, he will
compete in RAAM for the fifth time, the first since 2008.
Haase, who grew
up and lives in Fond du Lac, says he could never compete with his
talented, one-year-younger brother, Dean, in the traditional sports,
so he looked to prove himself in other athletic endeavors. His first
job out of college was selling software in 1993, and one of his top
clients was a bike shop.
"I got into
cycling, did a few events and did pretty well, and fell in love with
it," Haase recalls.
He turned that
love into a full-time job when he opened Attitude Sports, a cycling
shop in Fond du Lac, in 1995. He opened a second shop in Pewaukee in
2010 and splits time between the two stores, working 50- to 60-hour
weeks while still finding extensive time to train outdoors in decent
weather and indoors during the winter.
wake up at 3 or 4 in the morning then ride my bike until I have to go
to the shop at 9," Haase says. "And sometimes Iíll ride
another 30 or 40 miles at night."
In the 2004 Race
Across America, Haase was riding in the mountains of West Virginia and
suddenly couldnít breathe. He was rushed to the hospital, where
doctors discovered his kidneys were shutting down.
if I had gone a little farther, my kidneys would have collapsed,"
Haase remembers. Instead of taking a few days to recuperate, Haase
left the hospital after 30 hours. And tried to finish the race.
went another 50 miles and couldnít go on," Haase says. "I
had a crew with me and we were invested, but we didnít know what the
heck we were doing."
landed him a prominent role in a TV documentary about the race that
aired on NBC. He was also featured in a book about the event,
"The United States of Delirium," after his best finish
(third place) in the 2008 RAAM.
self-admitted quest for craziness, Haase has entered other events that
he wasnít "particularly good at," such as 100-mile
ultra-marathon runs in Colorado and the recent 65-mile Frozen Otter
Run on the Ice Age Trail in Kettle Moraine, where he finished fifth.
in pushing my limits," says Haase, who also won events in 2014 by
riding 32 hours non stop in a gravel road race in Minnesota, 33 hours
straight over 520 miles in Utah (with no support crew), and a 500-mile
race across Oregon. He was the first American finisher in the 2007
Race Across the Alps, a 321-mile trek that included 28 total miles of
vertical ascent over various sections of the route across Austria and
the Race Across America remains Haaseís most passionate quest. After
his near-death experience in 2004, he finished fourth in í05 and í06
and third in í08, the first American to complete the course in all
three of those years. Haase feels wisdom will prevail over age and is
optimistic about his chances this summer.
concerned about being 47. My body is stronger, and Iím mentally
stronger even though I might not ride as fast," he says. "Iíll
be relying a ton on my crew."
crew will include a nurse, chief mechanic, technical support people
and some folks in charge of marketing and social media. Haase says the
latter contingent is critical to achieve the difficult task of
attracting major sponsors.
some great (financial) help in these races from local businesses, but
when many people save their retirement money, mine has gone to racing
for the most part," says Haase, who is single and has no
So while most
people his age are winding down their athletic pursuits, Haase will
ride more than 3,000 miles in just over nine days, sleeping a total of
10 hours and sucking down liquid nutrition packs hoping his body will
hold up. You can call him crazy. He wants you to.
been chasing this RAAM thing and trying to win the race, so I think
this would be my last RAAM," Haase says. "But Iíll do the
other events. Itís fun. I guess I donít really know anything
To sponsor or
donate toward Haaseís RAAM ride, go to davidhaase.com or call (262)
695-7433 or (920) 923-2323. m