Strong tail winds and fast matt. Morgan attempting double pound
century with second burrito. Three hours till dark entering death valley
Category Archives: 508
Strong tail winds and fast matt. Morgan attempting double pound
This is going to be fun! Though my friend Matthew once said, ‘What you consider fun is very different than what most normal people consider fun.’
The proof is in the photo of Budge below. And for most normal people picking up a rental car is a straightforward process. For us it was an entanglement of multiple people showing up at various times via bike and confusing them on who is driving and why so many people need to be on the contract. And then the barrage of questions regarding what exactly the damage waiver covers. We are considering, instead of ‘Desert Locust’ signs taped to the sides of the van, getting it airbrushed. ‘I don’t know how it got there. I live in East LA, I just woke up and it was like that. Damage waiver, dude.’
I am feeling well-rested and am excited about the weekend. Looking forward to seeing Brian and Megan and their crews in Santa Clarita today for the check-in and race meeting. It has been a long week of logistical planning, but it is coming together. Now what remains is pedaling my bike 500 miles. Emotionally and physically it will be a journey in every sense of the word.
‘Our 508-mile course serves as a dramatic forum for bicycle racing, personal achievement and self-discovery.’
-from the Furnace Creek 508 press release.
This year I am racing solo.
It has been a long time coming! I wanted to race solo in 2005, but after riding a triple century I decided I was not ready. In 2007 I was burned out after the world’s hardest triathlon and the 760-mile Paris-Brest-Paris.
This race is different in that it is one stage. The clock starts when you roll out in Santa Clarita and does not stop until you reach 29 Palms. Can you sleep? Yes, but the clock is still running! The race offers no support, I am dependent on my crew, Morgan, Budge and Chris, that leap frogs and supplies me with food, water and anything else I may need.
Why would I do something like this? Bicycles have been a part of my life since I was very young. When I was 7 I used to sneak out of my neighborhood and ride as far as I could- and still be able to find my way home. Once my neighbor found me 4 miles away and drove me home to tell my mom what I had been up to.
When I was 14 I started traveling the country to race BMX bikes. That progressed to traveling to ride BMX trails and skateparks. This is how I began to see the world. Within a month of getting my first road bike ($50!) I rode it from college to my mom’s house, 150 miles. I wore skate shoes and cut-off camouflage shorts and the idea of wearing a helmet didn’t even cross my mind. The following summer I rode 3300 miles cross-country. The 508 seems to be a natural progression.
How far is 508 miles?
San Francisco to San Diego or NYC to Columbus, OH
35,000 feet of elevation gain is greater than going to the top of Everest from sea level (see profile here).
There is a new route reconnaissance with excellent photos (some stolen below) and descriptions. Check it out!
Am I ready? It is hard to say. I have done a number of ‘long’ races this year from iron-distance triathlon to 100-mile mountain bike races and double century road events. But they have been ‘only’ 12-15 hours. How will I feel while crossing Death Valley at 2am? After a day of 90 degree heat, will I be freezing when it is 40 degrees and windy? When the sun rises Sunday morning and I still have 150 miles to ride, will I be happy about it? An event like this is about the journey, not the destination. It is not a race that you can go into saying ‘I’ll be happy when I am done.’ It’s the experience of the race that I am looking for more than having finished. Really, I look forward to the time I’ll have to think and what I will learn about myself.
A number of Swarm! riders will be out there racing and crewing. Brian ‘Emperor Moth’ is racing solo for the second year in a row and hopes to improve his 36-hour time. Megan is on a bad-ass all-girl fixed gear team-The Blue-footed Boobies.
You can follow the race’s webcast where photos, time splits and updates will be posted with surprising regularity. We are going to try to update my blog from the road as well. Please leave comments here and be sure to follow the webcast!
A good way to begin my thirties?
Desert Locust (my 508 totem/alter-ego)
Come check this out. Fun times.
Thursday, December 13, 2007, 7-10 pm
at the new Bike Oven location!
Special LACBC screening! We will be joined by director Sasha Edge, as well as the four cyclists who braved the Furnace Creek 508 on fixed gear bikes.
Cover: $5 LACBC Members, $10 Non-members
Membership deal: Join tonight for just $30, and get in FREE!
Brought to you by Swarm!, Scoops, Orange 20 Bikes, Coffee Cellar, and Pure Luck Restaurant.
Beer generously donated by New Belgium Brewing!
Screening at 8pm, but come early for food, coffee and ice cream (vegan too!).
Jack DNF’d on Townes Pass, about 200 miles into the race. Brian finished in 36 hours and was elated just to have finished! This is a photo with Jack holding a secret message for the Swarm! racers from Morgan. He just finished hiking the Pacific Crest Trail last week(!!), but when it crossed the 508 course back in July he had left a message under a rock in a strategic location. Amazing!
The Furnace Creek 508 started this morning at 7am! After PBP I realized I was not going to be ready for this race. From PBP till 508 I only had one free weekend; not enough time to train properly to finish this ‘comfortably’ (I put that in quotes cause I probably could of finished, just not well or in relative comfort). And I am still homeless and training with no where to live is harder than it sounds. See this post for some more thoughts on that. Luckily even with me wussing out Swarm! still has two team riders out there, both entered as solo: Jack Jaxartosaurus and Brian Emperor Moth. They are strong riders and we hope to see sub-34 hour performances by both. Jack is eating a vegan diet and Brian is eating strictly raw, as he has been for 4 months.
I stole all of these photos from the AdventureCORPS webcast which is updated throughout the race with pictures and reports. You can go straight to the time station and result times here.