It is very difficult to summarize this type of experience without sounding obvious or cliche, but I'll do my best. First I want to be honest and say that this is the most difficult experience I have ever put myself through. I knew it would be hard, but I was blown away (twice almost literally: once in a sandstorm and another on a hairy descent with insane crosswinds- one of the scariest times I've ever had on a bike). But I had a great time. Really. In one waking period I rode through fog, rain, steep canyons, 50+ MPH downhills, dry desert, 10 mountain passes, temperatures in the 40s all the way to 90s, headwinds, tailwinds and even a few miles of normal conditions.
I'm going to break up my thoughts into a number of posts so that Matthew doesn't complain about bike blog posts being way too long. For now here is a photo Race Director Chris Kostman posted. Below is a caption that he wrote, which he rarely does, so I am thankful for that.
Photos by Chris Kostman, Oct 5, 2008: Finishers 7:00pm through 9:50pm
The stars of Eat!Sleep?Bike!: the acclaimed film by Sasha Edge about the four rider fixed gear Team Bonobo who completed The 508 in 2006.
From L-R: Pictured are Maxwell Lucas crewed for Brian; Matt Ruscigno competed solo as Desert Locust; Megan Dean, a custom bicycle frame builder, competed with the four woman Team Blue-Footed Booby; Brian Davidson competed solo as Emperor Moth. They are all members of Team Swarm!, an LA-based cycling club, team, and advocacy group. Why the bananas? In 2006, they used a banana as their relay team baton, which they then ate at the finish line. This year, Megan's team also used a banana as their baton, while Matt carried one, too, just for fun. All four riders are vegan. In fact, Brian has now completed the race twice on a purely raw, vegan diet, about which Matt, a dietician, has presented a poster at a science conference. It was on display at Racer Check-In. Click here for the first of several photos of the poster (click the arrows to the right to see the rest of the photos.)