background on this year’s race here
It’s never easy to write about these kind of events. Yes, I rode for a long time, it was difficult and I’m stoked on the accomplishment. But the adventure, camaraderie and even spiritual (yeah, I wrote it, what?) parts can barely be articulated. My crew: Morgan, Max and Chris, were so exceptional and supportive and best of all super fun! Around 1am, as we traversed Death Valley into 40 MPH winds, the van rolled up next to me at 5 MPH, my average speed for most of the night, just in time for me to see Chris puke out the window. Quite a sight with the winds! Did it slow him down as a valuable crew member? Nope. We laughed about it. Spent a lot of time laughing, even more so when conditions were worse. And that’s what I love about ‘being out there’. The bike is merely a medium, as I’ve said before.
Pre-wind, average speed of almost 20 mph through 254 miles
I did have some important goals for this race. One was getting up Townes Pass (the 11-mile climb into Death Valley) in the light in order to 1) have less time for car-sick prone Chris to have to follow behind 2) do the 50 MPH descent a little more safely. The extra benefit was the stunning beauty of the sunset. This is my favorite time to ride. Another goal was to swim at the Furnace Creek Inn at mile 254, which we did successfully. Though eight fewer minutes swimming and I would gotten 9th. Haha. It was worth it. I tried to make up the time by bunny-hopping the cattle guards (did 4 of 5).
I recommend reading the AdventureCORPS post-race write-up and this story on Charlie Engle who owns the the record for fastest combined Badwater ultra-marathon and Furnace Creek 508 in the same year. He’s articulated the course and race very well.
Thank you guys!
Nutrition/food post coming soon. Thanks for reading. Have a fantastic weekend and be thankful for your health and ability to do all we do.
What are the chances? Chris makes the amazing dessert locust signs for the support van and uses photos from my friend Danielle’s bakery Vegan Treats for my second year racing the Furnace Creek 508 solo. The day before the race a mutual friend of ours returns from a trip to Pennsylvania and brings me a peanut butter cup brownie, one of the desserts on our signs! I’d say unbelievable, but really, when you set out to do fun/silly things, the world responds positively and next thing you know you have a great photo op:
Photographer: You know there is only one ‘s’ in ‘desert’ right?
Me: Uh, yeah. I’m writing dessert.
Photographer: (cocked head, stares puzzlingly)
Me: I’m going to be eating this dessert in the photo as well, if that’s cool.
Photographer: Uhm, okay.
And has anyone mentioned that it was windy? Like 40+ mph and 8 hours to ride 45 miles? Just thought I’d mention that part. I’m going to do a more thorough write-up this year and discuss non-dessert related nutrition, etc. My crew was so so supportive, I can’t thank them enough. Same with the encouragement I received from friends, family, other races through this blog, facebook, etc. This is only a bike race, but having so many people ‘with me’ is incredible and I’m extremely fortunate. Thank you!
Everyone is tired, but Matt’s display of Ruscigno Power is impressive.
Five miles to go!
Almost at the last checkpoint before the finish line… Crew ETA
We dosed Matt with jet-fuel grade camp-stove brewed espresso…