Custom Search

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Stage 3 Trona to Furnace Creek 99. 1 miles

From the 508 website:

Stage Three: Trona to Furnace Creek, 99.2 miles. Elevation Gain: 7538'.

"Just north of Trona (mile 160) there is a 1000 foot climb up the Trona Bump (Mountain Section Four); the descent from there into the Panamint Valley is winding and may be fast with a tailwind. Some of the road ahead is very rough, but it used to much worse. At mile 200 you’ll begin the 13 mile, 3800 feet climb up Townes Pass (El 4956’) (Mountain Section Five). The climb up to 2000 feet is gentle, then there are steep grades of 10-13% to 4000 feet; the last few miles are gradual. It will be chilly at the top and you have a fast 17-mile, 5000 foot descent to Stovepipe Wells, where it may be hot! Desert rollers take you to Furnace Creek."

It was still very windy and luckily still a tailwind. Check this out.

I was so excited leaving Trona (TS#2) that I couldn't contain myself. You see, I have never made it to Townes Pass in the daylight. We launch from Santa Clarita at 7am. We arrive at the base of Townes Pass at about mile 200. We MUST put lights on the bike and crew vehicle at 6pm. There is about 12,000 feet of climbing to get to Townes Pass. In 2006 I had stomach problems. In 2007 I was on a Fixed Gear. But here I am in 2008 getting ready to see Townes Pass in the daylight. I was being fueled by the very real possibility of climbing a portion of the 13 mile climb in the light.

Okay, I guess I was being fueled by more than just that thought. I had left Trona ahead of my crew who were patiently waiting in a long line for that carne asada burrito that I requested. They eventually caught up to me and I was able to enjoy some real, HOT food. Mmmm...meat.

Here we are about a mile from the Right Turn to Hwy 190 switching bikes and turning on our lights.

There are a couple videos that follow and I'm sure you can see the excitement in my face.

Six miles from the summit of Townes Pass I'm still happy. I feel great my legs are tired but I feel great. Stomach is online and processing just fine. Legs are tired but heck I just did an 11 hour double century with 12,000 feet of climbing.

So you remember those great tailwinds? Now I am climbing Townes Pass and they are HEADWINDS.

In the following video Brandy and Ticia tell me to pick up the pace otherwise I will get passed on Townes Pass by a 'bent.

The climb is hard enough already, but fighting that headwind was really tough. I thought of years past where I had to stop. In 2006 I couldn't stay awake--- it was much later in the night. In 2007 on the fixed gear, I simply couldn't turn the pedals over. I kept seeing the turnouts on the side of the road, but I just kept digging deeper and committed to not dismounting, not pulling over, not giving in to the mountain. And I didn't. I crested the mountain without having to pullover. There was one time I was blown off the road but I don't think that counts.

And finally a pass on Townes Pass

At the top of Townes Pass it can get cold it was in the 40's.


Now that I am suited up with a very technical piece from Showers Pass I begin the 17 mile descent on to the desert floor. Once on the desert floor the temperatures are nice and warm even at night.

It rained on me when I was riding through Stovepipe Wells. I've never been rained on in Death Valley. What a nice treat. The air was warm but the water droplets were very cold.

Brandy stuffing ice in the Speedfil

Up until the beginning of TS#3 I had been off the bike only 7 minutes. From Trona to Furnace Creek I was off the bike 31 minutes bringing the total to 38 mins off the bike in 252.8 Miles not too shabby.

My goal for getting into TS# Furnace Creek was 18:00 total time. I got in at 15:28 Still have a cushion to make my 40 hour goal.

TS#3--------Total Miles--Date--Time----Total Time--Avg speed Start-- TS time---Avg speed TS
Furnace Creek---252.9---10/04---22:28---15:28:00---16.35---07:06:00---13.96


  1. What awesome coverage...thanks for taking us along!!!

  2. you're welcome stay tuned...Still got 300 miles to go