Furnace Creek Time Station #3 to Shoshone Time Station #4 (Mile 252.8- Mile 326.4)


Furnace Creek Time Station #3 to Shoshone Time Station #4 (Mile 252.8- Mile 326.4)

 

What more can be said about this stage that hasn’t been posted on blogs, race reports and weather reports? How about that I survived it? How about that I had many moments of “WTF?!?!?” Or how about that I just couldn’t believe I was riding in it?

Here are just a couple of comments I’ve seen.

From Adam Bickett’s Blog

“I was only averaging around 11 mph. Sand, dust, and rocks sprayed in the air. I tried to yell to my crew as they pulled alongside, probably about how ridiculous the conditions were, but realized neither of us would ever be able to hear each other. I shook a bottle, and got back a full bottle of Perp. We’d have to use gestures.”

or Dan Crain’s Blog

“…the 50 miles between Furnace Creek and Ashford Mills was much worse this year than in 2004.”

I left the Furnace Creek Time Station knowing that I would face headwinds as I went south through Death Valley but I had no idea how ridiculous they would be. The winds were blowing a steady 25-35 mph and gusting up to 70 mph. I can’t express to you how humiliating it felt to be riding at 7-8 mph into those headwinds. I pushed the pedals hard and got nowhere. I eased up on the pedals and felt like I was going backwards. I couldn’t get in my aero bars because I was being tossed around like laundry on a clothesline.

I would ride for 30 to 40 minutes and then pull over exhausted — physically AND mentally. When the road would turn slightly and the headwinds became crosswinds it was extremely difficult to keep the bike upright. I would lean into the wind and when the wind would shift and I would go wildly across the road. I felt like I was in the start house of a Time Trial and balancing myself with the spotters’ help and then they would let go of me as a sick joke.

 

This mental and physical torture went on for hours. It took me six hours to ride 30ish miles. Eventually, at 5:07 am, Brandy, my crew chief, pulled me off the bike and suggested that I take some time off the bike. The “plan” was to wait until daybreak to see if the weather would improve. Meanwhile, I would have time off the bike, rest my body and recharge my mental energy.  Remember, being in Death Valley our cell phones are more akin to paper weights than communication devices.  We had no way of reaching out to the “outside world”, the internet, to find out what the weather forecast might be for the next few hours.  Many riders took naps of at least a couple of hours.  I have trouble falling asleep when I first get off the bike.  By the time I get comfy so much time has gone by I can’t take a nap then.  My crews, bless their hearts, have always found a way to fall asleep almost instantly when I’ve gotten off the bike.

Daybreak did bring slightly better conditions but only slightly. Or was it that I was refreshed from the hour off the bike? One thing I’d like to mention is the tenacity and will power Isabelle Drake, who was part of a 2X Sandhill Cranes, displayed while on the Furnace Creek to Shoshone leg. She battled through the night in short spurts like I did. We would leap-frog each other and give each other motivation to continue. One time when I pulled over exhausted she even said “Don’t you stop (or quit) and leave me out here!” Isabelle you’re an inspiration. I’m proud of you and glad to have witnessed your ride!

Based on my personal experience, the winds this year were the worst I have ever ridden in my four Furnace Creek 508s and at least five other Death Valley Double Centuries. I fought the winds as the sun came up and my only goal was getting to the base of the two exit climbs out of Death Valley, Jubilee Pass and Salsberry Pass. The first climb starts at mile 300 and climbs about 1000 feet in five miles to Jubilee (El 1285’). A one-mile descent leads to the next climb, about 2300 feet in 9.5 miles to Salsberry (El 3315’). Source

If you can believe it I was so happy to be climbing again. Well actually, I love to climb more than anything else. The climbs were uneventful just climb and climb some more. The best part of these two climbs was I was no longer riding into a headwind! LOL!

 

I rolled into Shoshone at 10:18 am Sunday morning. I’m almost embarrass to say that it took me 10 hours and 41 minutes for cover 75 miles but I’m proud to say that I continued on from Shoshone. By my count (17) SOLO riders, (4) 2x teams and (1) 4x team DNF’d before reaching Shoshone. But I was still standing and that has always been a great motivator to me.

RAAM Team Start


I took my son on his very first train ride! We drove from Huntington Beach to the Irvine Train Station. We boarded in Irvine and de-boarded in Oceanside.

The train station is conveniently only blocks from the Oceanside Pier and subsequently the Race Across America start. His eyes lit up as the train approached the platform. He was so excited. It was really a great day.

I POSTED A VIDEO ON MY WEBSITE GO CHECK IT OUT HERE.

Giro Stage 21….


How many of you were in horror when watching this? The margin between Menchov and DiLuca was only 20 seconds before the beginning of the stage. It is amazing how fast the mechanic Menchov bested DiLuca in the TT and improved his margin of victory to 41 seconds to win his third grand tour. Menchov adds the Giro to his palmares which already includes the Vuelta victories in 2005 and 2007.

Irvine Ride of Silence Video


I’m happy to have done this ride. But I have mixed feelings. I’m disappointed in how little was known about this ride. By one account the turn-out was better at Irvine than it was when he attended the Long Beach and Fullerton versions in the previous years. I belong to Team Sho Air which has over 400 members and I believe there were only three members present, including Brandy and me.

On the other hand, the City of Irvine police department provide at least eight motorcycles and three cruises to escort us through our 9.7 mile Ride of Silence. I believe attendance was about 100 riders.

I have included a video below. Please make it a priority to attend this ride next year. In addition, if there are other activities that raise awareness for bicycle safety you should ATTEND and GET THE WORD OUT!!

HERE IS A VIDEO OF THE IRVINE RIDE OF SILENCE HELD ON MAY 20, 2009 SORRY NO GROOVY SOUNDTRACK THIS TIME. IT WAS A TIME OF REFLECTION. A BETTER QUALITY VIDEO CAN BE FOUND ON MY WEBSITE.