Custom Search

Monday, October 5, 2009

Furnace Creek 508 Solo Finisher...again

The very first thing I would like to do is thank my crew; Brandy, Colin and Julie.  No Solo Finisher is ever ...Solo! Thank you for sacrificing a long weekend of your personal lives to help me in pursuit of my FOURTH FURNACE CREEK 508 SOLO FINISH.  Thank you guys you kept my fed, hydrated, motivated and safe!

Next  I'd like to thank my friends who followed me on Facebook and my blog.  Your comments kept me motivated and laughing THANK YOU!  Brandy would like to post more but getting coverage is the only thing shutting her up ;) JK...I love you babe!

Next I'd like to say except for my Fixed Gear run in 2007, this was my hardest earned finish out of four visits to the Furnace Creek 508.  The winds between Furnace Creek Time Station #3 (252.89) and Shoshone #4 (326.29) were brutal.  Keeping the bike upright was a significant challenge when I was going less than 4 mph because of the 35+ mph winds. I actually think the gusts were much higher than that my guess at least 50 mph.  Would I say that?  Well, I often stick my hand out of the window while driving around in town and the winds in Death Valley on Saturday night felt very similar to that.  Bet you were waiting for a much more technical answer huh? Huge props to Brandy, my crew chief who at 5:12 am (gotta look at the download what if it was 5:08 cool huh?) offered me a seat in the van to wait it out.

What's the official word?  From the National Weather Service (it's a site) they say...

04 Oct 6:00 am    71    25    18    S    28    
04 Oct 5:00 am    72    28    19    SSW    27  
04 Oct 4:00 am    73    30    20    SSW    18  
04 Oct 3:00 am    76    31    19    SSW    15  
04 Oct 2:00 am    78    28    16    S    25    
04 Oct 1:00 am    79    27    15    SSE    23    
04 Oct 12:00 am    81    27    14    S    20    
03 Oct 11:00 pm    82    27    13    S    24    
03 Oct 10:00 pm    84    26    12    S    23    
03 Oct 9:00 pm    86    28    12    S    23  
03 Oct 8:00 pm    88    27    11    SSE    22  
03 Oct 7:00 pm    89    28    11    S    20   


And last but certainly not least the racers and crews you DNF'd this year's event I wish to say if you gave it your all and you left it all "out there" then don't worry too much about it.  It was really a tough year with the headwinds.   This event isn't easy but when you add a little weather (high heat, high winds etc.) it makes it that much tougher.  Remember it's called "the toughest 48 hours in sport". 

By my calculation there were 59 Solo Starters two of them Fixed Gear.
There were 7 Solo women including one Fixed Gear.  There was only one solo woman finisher--  14% Finishing rate
There were 52 Solo men including one Fixed Gear.  There were only 28 solo men finishers--  53.8% Finishing rate

For the Solo field there were 29 Finishers out of 59-- 49% Finishing Rate

Also interesting is that of the DNF's in the Solo Field 20 (out of 30) were veterans of the Furnace Creek 508.

Just goes to show not only was it a tough year but there are no guarantees you'll finish just because you've finished before.  Far too often I get comments from friends and customers who don't know enough about Ultra cycling say things like "Oh you've done it before you'll finish no problem."  No, just ask those veterans  that DNF'd if they thought it was in the bag at the start line at 7am Saturday morning and then again in Death Valley during the windstorm.

Race report and pictures as soon as I can get my life squared away from this race.

All for now.


  1. That's nutty! The wind was nearly identical here except the temperature was in the 40s-50s...

  2. I want to thank you George for giving us motivation in life!!! You are an amazing cyclist and a great guy.... I am sure I will be stopping by Nytro to give you a big hug, highfive and say whats up..... Great job to you and your crew!!!

  3. Amen brother I am inspired by you dedication to cycling and friendship.

  4. It was an honor to crew this race for you, George. Not once did you mention quitting, even during that horrible section from Stovepipe Wells to Shoshone.
    What an epic adventure.
    Congratulations, you truly deserve it.

    PS: We want to hear the van rental return story!

  5. The wind was worse than NWS says. The link points to weather from "Elev: 410 ft; Latitude: 36.5070; Longitude: -116.8478". Most of the torture was at sea level or below. As I pushed on in my 11 hour stage I was glad to start the climbing. The wind dropped quickly at altitude. 410 ft. would be a breeze. :-)
    -- Wolf Man 2X

  6. George,

    What a year - TransIowa all the way through to Furnace Creek! Great job.

  7. George, I'm glad to see you finished! I saw your crew as I approached Baker, and in the context of the mass exodus of racers out of Death Valley, I thought you pulled out. Guess they were just filling up on ice? :)

  8. Adam- actually my crew left me out there once I hit the Ibex Pass summit. Can you believe that?!?!?

    JK... they were driving into Baker to buy a new tire for the crew vehicle. They had a blowout descending the Trona bump. Luckily they were safe.

    The bad news was that the night before at 6pm they weren't able to do direct support because they were changing the flat. I had to wait 35 minutes in Pinamint Valley before we were "joined by the hip" again.

    And they did leave me at Ibex Summit and I rode into Baker (about 35 miles) alone but it was planned ;)

  9. Colin and Julie -- Thank you for chiming in and thank you for the kind words. I didn't want to let you down so a DNF was not an option.

    I will post the rental van story soon.