Tomorrow is the 27th edition of the Furnace Creek 508 aka The Hell of West aka The Toughest 48 Hours in Sport!!
I'm racing solo. Again. Third year in a row. I've written about this race enough that it has its own tag. Check out this post from last week for my history with the race including links to reports, etc. My close friend Morgan 'Goat' Beeby, the first of our crew to race this, wrote a great story about his experience as my Crew Chief on my first solo race which gives an idea of what it's like out there.
I'm so stoked and feel incredibly privileged to have the health, ability and resources to even attempt this race. The days leading into the race are very stressful- the logistics are complicated (and expensive!!) and that feeling of not having trained enough will wake you up at night! But the day before I feel a peace with it all and just can't wait to get to that start line.
Let's go to my favorite format of all time- FAQ's- to cover what all this is about. Thanks for reading and think of me riding all day on Saturday. And Saturday night when you go to sleep. And Sunday morning when you wake up. And hopefully when you're eating dinner Sunday night I'm crossing the finish line...
Can I follow the race online?
Yes. I'm updating the Swarm! Twitter when we can. My time splits will be posted here as part of the AdventureCORPS webcast. This is the page to follow! Photos, videos and updates will be posted all morning. My pre-race mug shot will be up by tonight!
What's this 'Desert Locust' thing about?
Instead of a number you get an animal totem that is yours for life! I'm Desert Locust, but last year I was Dessert Locust which is the dessert totem of my animal totem. This year I'm a combination of both and the jpeg above is the sign that must be on all four sides of the support van.
Do you ride the whole thing yourself?
Yes. Every mile. You can race team as I did in 2006 where you switch at every time station. About 80 of the 200 racers are solo.
Is it a race or just a long ride?
The fastest folks finish in under 30 hours. That's a 17 MPH average over 508 miles and 35,000 feet of elevation gain! The time limit is 48 hours. National Geographic Adventure (RIP) called it the 8th hardest race in the world.
Do you race it?
Ugh. Sort of? I got tenth last year, only cause faster folks dropped out in the 50+ MPH winds in Death Valley and my crew had the tenacity to push me on. It was actually much uglier than that, but I'll spare you the details of puke and piss.
Do you have a crew?
Yes. Three friends are in a support van with the job of keeping me going with food, water and motivation. This year I have a totally rookie crew! They are in for an adventure as well. Dave Vandermaas, Lisa Auerbach and Sabrina Ovan. Thank you so much!
They 'leapfrog' me all day Saturday and follow me directly over night passing me water and food.
What do you eat?
A combination of fruit like bananas and apples, liquid foods like Sustained Energy, bars, gels and mini-burritos. Peanut butter on tortillas, pretzels, and chocolate covered espresso beans are my secret weapon based on my 7-year, $65,000 education in nutrition.
Do you sleep?
In 2008 I slept 15 minutes at daybreak on Sunday. In 2009 not at all.
Does your butt hurt?
Yes. And then it stops hurting. And then it hurts again. But you know what? Anything worth doing involves some pain and suffering.
Is going down hill really fast awesome?
Why is water wet? Why is the sky blue? I'm drawn to the physical and mental ends of this body I live in, I think. And I happen to be good at riding a bicycle for long periods of time, so this is the best way for me to do this! The answer to this question varies depending on my mood too. I love to travel from A to B, I love California and really, because I can.
Specific motivation this year?
5-time RAAM winner Jure Robic was killed while cycling near his home in Slovenia last week and that weighs heavily on my mind. Death is real, folks. RadioLab has a fitting good-bye. Also friends and specifically my girlfriend who are overcoming their own struggles, will motivate me through the night. Considering what lots of people have to deal with every day, having to pedal my bicycle, something I love, can't be that bad. Right?
Any other Swarm! vegan racers?
Max and Brian from the 2006 fixed gear team Bonobo are racing as a 2-person team: Emperor Tamarin
Megan (also from Bonobo), Sasha (who made the documentary from the 2006 race), Jacob and Mike Sz are a 4-person team: Wild Burros!
New friends which I met at 508 last year Jeff (pro coach) and Cara (PRO) are a 2-person team: Godwit attempting to beat the 2-person mixed record of 27:34:29!!
What can I do to help?
Ride a bike for trips under 4 miles. Eat vegan when you can. Realize that your actions do matter. And, secondly, you can txt, tweet, email or facebook me with words of support and my crew will pass it on, when they can.
Can you post an awesome Hip Hop video to get me stoked?