Sunday, October 2, 2011

Furnace Creek 508

My friend Tim Marks is once again taking on the challenge of the Furnace Creek 508, an ultra-endurance bike race which starts on Saturday, Oct. 8th.

Last year, his first 508, Tim finished in well under the 48 hour cutoff. The details of his ordeal are intriguing. This is a grueling event, only for the super tough and extremely dedicated. Being a bit crazy (as in obsessive) probably helps, too.

Tim and one of his fans at the start of the Death Valley Century ride earlier this year. This photo was taken only a few  months after Tim's inaugural 508 finish, which proves that the man is an endurance beast and no stranger to suffering. 

Here's the blurb from the event site:

Founded by John Marino in 1983 and known as "The Toughest 48 hours in Sport," Furnace Creek 508 is the world's premier ultramarathon bicycle race. This 508-mile bicycle race is revered the world over for its epic mountain climbs, stark desert scenery, desolate roads, and its reputation as one of the toughest but most gratifying endurance challenges available, bar none. The course has a total elevation gain of over 35,000', crosses ten mountain passes, and stretches from Santa Clarita (just north of Los Angeles), across the Mojave Desert, through Death Valley National Park and Mojave National Preserve, to the finish line at the gateway to Joshua Tree National Park, Twentynine Palms, CA.

According to Jill, Tim's wife and support team leader extraordinaire, Tim's goals for this year's event are as follows:

  • Finish the race
  • Beat last year's time of 44 hours 9 minutes 30 seconds
  • Finish in daylight hours (or close to it) on Sunday. Last year, Tim arrived at the finish line at 3 AM on Monday, which was really tough for both him and his support crew.
I haven't quite decided if Tim and all the other participants are truly insane, or if I'm just insanely jealous that they're capable of taking on an event like this. And living to tell about it, and then coming back next year to do it again.

Best of luck to Tim and all the racers in this year's 508! 

(You can follow the race on live webcam).