Given my age and that I have only been training on a bike since November of last year, one could say I am a bit “wacko” to attempt the Furnace Creek 508. At times I have been sure that that is the case. So, … why?
I am a runner by background who has done a companion foot race, also presented by the race director of the Furnace Creek 508, called the Badwater 135 (135 miles). It too takes place in and around Death Valley. Due to a foot problem that prevents me from running much, but does not prevent me from biking, I decided this year’s annual challenge and adventure would be the FC508.
Since signing up, I have lost count of how many times I have told myself I over-reached, as in the field of ultra-distance events it usually takes at least a few years to acclimate one’s body to the efforts and stresses involved, and my neck and back have let me know in no uncertain terms that they have not been thrilled with the necessary training. They have reminded me of my memories of biking in a few Ironman triathlons in the early 80s; biking can be a pain in the butt and neck!
In addition, training has not been a straight-line process, with a number of accidents/injuries/maladies that have kept me off the bike. After the first accident and resulting layoff, my coach, Michael Emde, advised that I should seriously consider not doing the race this year given the time left to train after I recovered. However, persistent and hard-headed person that I am, I have kept at it.
On the brighter side, long training rides have acquainted me with the wonderful country around Spokane, especially the Palouse. It is quite something to be riding through the Palouse at night under the light of a full moon. Being able to do back-to-back 100 mile rides in training (not my idea, but Michael’s!) also brings a certain satisfaction. Indeed, at times I even love my bike and riding it!
It is with a love of the desert country that we will be passing through, and a determination to finish bolstered by both a fine three-person crew and a dedication of the race to Mobius Kids that I will toe the starting line and proceed down the course. It will be an adventure … exciting and fun. At least that is the intended story line for all involved, my crew and me. Hopefully, from a distance, you will find the race an interesting, worthy and intriguing adventure too.