Robert “Roby T” Treadwell
Trying to survive The Furnace Creek 508 offers me a chance to test myself against myself. To test myself against doubt, pain, and will.
I began racing bicycles 4 years ago as an outlet for my competitive nature. I enjoyed running, and staying physically fit but I didn’t really have an avenue to test myself against others. Bike racing, unlike many other endurance sports, pits competitor against competitor and adds a strategic “Team” dimension. In bike racing, your goal is to inflict “pain” on your competitors in order to advance your own, and your team’s objective: winning. Bike racing is not about personal bests, it’s not about finishing, it is about winning. Unlike another great sport: triathlon, crossing the finish line in a bike race in not enough in itself, if you fail to achieve a certain physical fitness level, if you fail to understand the strategic nature of the race, you lose, you are “off the back.” Unless you’re on the podium, there is no medal, nothing but an incentive to get back on the bike the next day and train harder. I love it completely.
In 2007 I was able to garner the title of Washington State Bicycling Association’s “Best All-Around Road Rider” in my category. I was fortunate enough to win the State Championship Stage Race Championship and scored enough points in the season to be ranked the number one overall rider in my category in Washington and earn enough points to upgrade racing categories in the USA Cycling rider system. 2008 has been dedicated to training for Furnace Creek.
The other nature of bike racing is that the race is usually not decided solely on individual effort, the teams, the strategy, the race itself may not ALWAYS offer an opportunity to showcase an individual’s pure physical conditioning. The strongest rarely wins a bike race unless he is also among the smartest tactically, I often guess wrong!
So, I need something else. I just need to test myself against “myself” now-and-again, thus “The 508.” That, and I believe I was dropped on my head a few times as a child!