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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

T minus 10 days Furnace Creek 508

The Furnace Creek 508 is 10 days away.  I have an unusual calm as the days tick away.  I am usually a lot more stressed out about my gear or nutrition.  But this year being the fourth year racing the "toughest 48 hours in sport" I feel ready and healthy. Over the next few posts I will recap my experiences from my previous three races.  For new readers it will give you a chance to see that I've probably made every mistake in the book ;)

In 2006,  I had incredible form.  I had had a good full season of Ultras.  I had done fast doubles, climbing doubles and climbing centuries and unsupported brevets.  I even had a great month of August training in the mountains with 1650 miles and 124,000 feet of climbing.

January San Diego 200km Brevet 125 miles 6,500 feet

 February I was hit by a car.

February Palm Springs Century weekend   340 miles 20,000 feet

March San Diego 300km Brevet 186 miles 11,400 feet

Hemet Double Century  202 miles 6,000 feet

Mullholand Double Century   202 Miles with 16,500 feet

Breathless Agony  11,000 feet in under 75 miles

Heartbreak Double Century 200 miles 16,500 feet

Death Ride 129 miles 15,000 feet

Everest Challenge 29,000 feet in 2 days

Furnace Creek 2006

Death Valley Northern Route 196 Miles 10,500 feet of climbing

So where did I go wrong?

My breakfast was a bit too heavy (Moons over my Hammy with a stack of pancakes) too close to the start of the event.  Then too many calories over the first five (5) hours.  I was putting in over 350 calories an hour and I hadn't trained with that much intake.  As many of you know, when you are out training alone you conserve your calories because you either don't want to stop or the services are few and far in between.  I fall victim to both scenarios because my training routes are very remote.  Well this totally locked up my stomach and my intensity had to drop significantly.  I puked many times on the side of the road until finally my stomach was back in good shape but I was very fatigued.

Are you asking yourself why was I taking in so many calories? Because I was intimidated by the event.  The 508 miles the 35,000 feet of climbing.  I thought I would really fuel up this time.  I would really take in the calories to make sure I wouldn't falter on the course.  But that was a big mistake and I paid for it for miles miles and miles and hours and hours of poor performance.

So in short, I had great fitness but my nutrition made for a horrible first 152 miles.  Sleep deprivation also was a major problem through the first night and I was still in Death Valley (about 300 miles) by daybreak.  I learned a lot from my first Furnace Creek. But as you'll see I still had a lot more to learn in the next couple of years.


  1. George, you drive is inspiring, as I sit here drinking beer and eating buttered popcorn. :-)

  2. Thank you as I sit here eating a 12 oz bag of pretzels and dip them in hommus ;)

  3. Hey George.. I was checking out your 2006 Fall DV200 Report.. My wife and I were there too.. I guess if you also include the 2007 FC508, You and I have ridden together a couple of times.. Good luck in this year's solo 508.. I'll see you at Racer Check-in in Santa Clarita in a week or so..

    [2X_Thrasher 2009]

  4. Eric- Looking forward to see you again. Two person this year? Had enough of the SOLO thing? I just want 5 solo finishes and then after that I'm doing an eight person relay;)

  5. Looking forward to hearing the epic tales from this coming weekend. I hope this endeavor surpasses all you've accomplished so far. Have a great ride!!