Descending from Horseshoe Meadows (22 mile climb 6,000+ feet of gain elevation 10,000 feet) in the Eastern Sierras of California 2013 St Paddy’s Palomar Plus- Del Mar to Palomar Mountain 131 miles 11,600 feet of gain George “Red-Eyed Vireo” Vargas pictured with his record six consecutive Furnace Creek 508 finisher’s jerseys and medals.
2012 Grand Tour Highland Double Century 11 hours 20 minutes- Third Place
George “Red-Eyed Vireo” Vargas with Lori Hoechlin
My weapon of choice Cannondale Super Six EVO Di2 w/7900 SRM Power Meter
George “Red-Eyed Vireo” Vargas, Furnace Creek 508 Hall of Fame member, pictured at the 2011 Furnace Creek 508 finish line with six consecutive solo finisher’s medals– a record
George “Red Eyed Vireo” Vargas Furnace Creek 508 finisher’s jerseys and medal.
George Vargas climbs to Dawson Saddle
One of my favorite climbs 35 miles (with a few dips) from 600 feet to almost 8,000 feet
George Vargas climbs to Cloud Burst Summit
Milestone summit on the way to Dawson Saddle
George Vargas racing 2010 Furnace Creek 508
One of my favorite pictures of any Furnace Creek 508.
508 miles 35,000 feet of climbing non-stop bicycle race for more information FURNACE CREEK 508
Another great picture taken of George Vargas at the Tour de Francis Winter Edition
Furnace Creek 2007 Fixed Gear Solo – at the time one of only 7 Fixed Gear finishers in 33 editions of the race. This is what you look like after 45 hours on a Fixed Gear bike over 35,000 feet of climbing and 508 miles. Yeah pretty destroyed. By far one of my proudest achievements!
During Race Across America 2007
During Race Across America 2007 in Monument Valley
Race Across America Finisher’s Medal 2007
In a six-man break at the 2010 Spring Death Valley Double Century
Custom Steel Serotta CSI aka Sarah. I tell people if someone held a gun to my head and said “you can only keep one of your 10 bikes which one would it be?” Without hesitation or reservation my answer would be “Sarah!”
The oldest bike in my stable. A 1988 Bianchi lugged steel. Like a dummy I took off the steel fork that came with it when some young kid in a bike shop said “Why are you riding a steel fork …EVERYBODY is riding carbon forks now. You will shave 2 lbs off the weight of your bike immediately!” I wish I still had that fork now 😦
Cervelo Soloist SL or SLC-SL aka Sasha
Climbing Fargo Street in Los Angeles max grade 34%
Gettysburg Race Across America 2007
You are inspiring. Keep up the great site.
Thank you for reading my blog. How did you come across it?
What do you find inspiring? What more could I write about? What more adventures would you like for me to do and write about?
I would appreciate your feedback as I am taking my blog to the next level. This blog is for you and people like you! Help me make it better.
I find it inspiring that you keep saying yes to the miles and no to the pain of riding those miles. More ride images and info on your bieks would be great.
Thank you for reading my blog and taking the time to make a comment. I would love to talk about my bikes. Which one do you want me to start with lol? I will take more pictures while I’m out riding. Pictures of me riding is a little more difficult because I prefer to train alone. I rarely ride with groups or even a training partner.
Happened upon your website; awesome pictures and write-ups.
I’m in the market for a new bike; live in the SoCal area and noticed that you are a shop owner?!?
Was thinking full carbon / full ultegra but your write up of the CAAD10 makes that bike very enticing.
Would love to hear where your shop is located and what type of awesome bikes you have for sale!!
Thank you for reading my blog and thank you for appreciating my efforts.
My shop, Bike Religion, is in Newport Beach. We carry the CAAD10 and full carbon bikes as well. Please call and make an appointment to test ride some bikes or just stop in.
Was wondering if you do very much group rides during your training? I have been focusing a lot on solo riding as to simulate 508 conditions as much as possible. I have a lot of friends inviting me to group rides but I have been reluctent to join in, just trying to prepare as much as possible for my upcoming 508. I’m part of the killer Bees.
I created a post on main page to answer your questions. Please check there and feel free to ask more questions as you feel you need to.
Please check blog post. https://epictrain.wordpress.com/2011/07/11/furnace-creek-508-training-q-a/
I have updated it to include your question and my answer. By the way, how did you come to my blog? Please pass it on to your friends!
I was researching CAAD 10 and cme to your blog. Surprisingly you may be the perfect person to answer a simple question. Cervelo s2 or CAAD 10 for Road racing and Crits
Thank you for reading my blog and taking the time to make a comment. You pose an interesting question. I love the feel of a carbon bike. But when it comes to doing Criterium racing I don’t like to crash my carbon bike. No matter what Category you race there is always the potential for crashes. In the lower Categories (Cat 5, Cat 4 and even in the Cat 3’s) crashes are quite common. So even though I like the Cervelo S2 for all types of riding, I would keep that baby at home and race your Aluminum bike. The CAAD 10 is a fantastic bike. I have ridden it many times and I think it accelerates and handles cornering very well. You are not settling in the least by going with the Cannondale CAAD 10!!!
Keep reading my blog and please tell a friend.
Thanks for your reply. I was not clear. I have a S2 and was considering letting the frameset go to purchase a CAAD 10 and Crankset of some kind. I was wondering about handling characteristics etc. Based on your answer I suppose what I should do at this point is race the S2 until I crash it. Then once I clear the shattered remains of my frame from the course and the tears from my eyes feel no regret in buying the CAAD10 as a replacement.
Thanks for all the info and needless to say the inspiration. I will try some of those top 10 climbs in California.
Amazing stuff, I was thinking of doing Dawson’s saddle tomorrow, but after reading this I think I will wait a bit and make sure I have the right gears, I’m a decent climber for a rookie, but have on a 39/26 combo and thinking I need to put on a 11-28 in the rear, don’t want to change my big chain ring.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and posting a comment.
I think you should be fine with a 39/26 combination. There are only a few steep sections on this climb. They start after you pass the West Fork turn off. It is only for a few miles but you’re legs should still be fresh. Give it a try with your current combination. And remember if it gets too hard all you have to do is turn around and have fun on the downhill 😉
George “Red Eyed Vireo” Vargas
Furnace Creek 508 Hall of Fame
Thanks for you quick response, and your great blog 😉
Hey George, I got about 13 miles in, way past the resevoirs and I guess a 5 or so past the Westfork turnoff?? I turned back and rode back to the beach. Great ride! I’m going back with a 39/28 that should do it for me, don’t really want to go back to my compact, I like my big crank on the flats! Beautiful up there today 🙂
George, found your blog researching the climbs of E.C. You sold me my Eddy M. w/Campy back in 04’ish @ Nytro and it’s still taking great care of me! Returning to CA. after 5yrs. in SC. where I have enjoyed a really excellent cycling experience. This was not what I was expecting here in the South. Greenville, SC. and Athens, GA. are very rich in modern cycling culture and I will miss those people and places.
I gather from reading above that you are now a shop owner? That is fantastic! Clearly you are exceptional at what you do and I am very happy to know that you have prospered so well. Next time I am in the O.C. I will come find your shop and say hello again.
Regards, Alan Berardo
p.s. Your blog is simply fantastic, just keep telling your story. There is a great video on the Rapha website featuring Alex Stieda, to me your blog is a little like that video, both help build the cultural body of cycling in N.America. AB.
Very inspiring! you make me want to be a better cyclist (long, long, long way to go), thank you.
George glad to find your blog here and nice to see you are going stronger than ever!
George, your blog is inspiring! I commend you for being so passionate and sharing with the world, the experiences you have had, both past and present.
I stumbled across your blog as I was looking into the “breathless agony.” Where are you based out of in California?
You are truly an inspiration to the world, keep it up!~
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog and making the effort to post a comment!
I have been extremely busy with my new venture as team manager and bike shop owner that my blog as fallen down the priority list. I appreciate you coming on and checking things out.
I am based out of San Diego. If you would like to communicate offline about the Breathless Agony event please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org I put on a training ride at least once before the event sometimes twice to get people familiar with the course.