Friday, 5 October
Tomorrow morning, some 201 hardy souls will set out on the Furnace Creek 508. That's 508 miles of bike racing...without stopping much. Some folks do it in 4-person teams (or 8-person, I guess, if you count the 4-tandem team), some in 2-person teams, and some do it solo. Like last year's winner, Michael Emde.
The Ring of Fire TT I've done twice now is sort of like barely getting your toe wet in this sport of ultra cycling. When you do OK at 12 hours, though, they think you'd be great at 48 hours or whatever it takes to ride 508 miles in the California desert. I'm not (yet?) convinced of that, so I'll be riding my rain bike on a sociable and short ride with my new team tomorrow but thinking especially of these 508 competitors that I've raced with this year in Washington and Oregon:
If you don't know any of these names after Emde, you should; they are all truly incredible and inspirational athletes. Michael Wolfe has probably raced his HPV more miles than I've ridden my road bike this year. Try googling "George Thomas RAAM."
You can find your favorite rider (they've all got numbers and "totems") and then follow their progress on the 508 website:
Send positive thoughts their way when you take a shower or go to bed or get up in the morning and realize that they are all still out there on their bikes. It's kind of amazing how this is part of the same sport that's holding national championships at the LA track right now!