Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Michael Emde

Michael Emde
Age: 38

The Furnace Creek 508 is a challenge and adventure and just finishing is an accomplishment. The "508" will test my strengths both physically and mentally. The FC 508 has become one of my favorite races because I enjoy the environment, the weather and the challenges that Death Valley and the Mojave present. Undertaking such a distance is a huge sacrifice for both myself and my family. Martina and Marla (my wife) are a huge part of my success. I spend a lot of time on the bike and they are very supportive and understanding. I couldn’t do it without them. Hopefully I can teach my daughter how to work hard for something and give it your best effort. She was on my “team” a couple of years ago and she was my biggest cheerleader out there.
The FC 508 is not a solo effort--you cannot race the Furnace Creek 508 on your own. A group of support people (the crew or as I refer to them, "team") are very important and help get me to the finish line. They provide assistance by passing me water and food, providing support, navigation and driving ten feet behind me to illuminate my roadway during the evening hours of the race. This is a rule of the race in fact. Sometimes just knowing they are there is comforting and also motivates me to do my best. It is a sacrifice on the teams part as well and I appreciate all they do. I have the easy part, I just have to ride the bike…they get all of the workJ.

My Goal: Finishing four in a row is always foremost but I would like to finish well. There is a lot that can happen over 508 miles and the attrition rate of this race is high (average about 46%). Weather, mechanical issues and physical problems all can take their toll in Death Valley. After winning this race the last two years, there are folks who laugh when I say, “I just want to finish”, but it’s true. Finishing is the goal, placing well is icing on the cake. Sometimes a successful race doesn’t always mean winning either. Racing within your means is very important with a race this long. I certainly have respect for this distance and the demands of this course. It’s demanding just staying focused for 508 miles…not too many have that desire or ability.

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