07 October 2009

Furnace Creek 508 wrap-up

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.

1 comment:

Tom said...

Matt,

I crewed for Ross "Gray Wolf" Rader this year and had the pleasure chatting with your crew during the initial leap frog stage. This was my first time crewing and I now know why you ultra folks tend to use the word "epic" more often than other mortal men. "Epic" is the only word that can describe the adventure.

You and your team passed us with about 12 miles to go and it really hit me then, that this type of sport is the only place where you actually cheer on your competitors. We were honestly stoked for you. And blown away at how fresh your legs looked! Don't get me wrong... we would have loved to catch you and return the favor . :)

I wrote about our adventure from the crew's perspective, if you're interested: http://www.tmcdonald.com/notes/2009/10/random-thoughts-on-my-adventure-crewing-for-ross-in-the-508/
Ross tells me I overstated the strength of the winds... they certainly felt as strong as I indicated. :)

Respect!
-tom