Sharp-eyed readers may have noticed that for the last six weeks—ever since Boston-Montreal-Boston, in fact—I have forgone the Super Bike and even my long-serving Cannondale to ride a 1984 Gitane Criterium exclusively. Why the sudden switch to a vintage machine with a lugged steel frame, downtube friction shifters, six-speed freewheel, and even toe-clips and straps? It’s because I will be racing in this year’s Furnace Creek 508, a super-hilly 508-mile bike race from the coast of Southern California through Death valley and over to Twentynine Palms near Joshua Tree National Park. In the Classic Randonneur Division. Yes, on the Gitane.
And it’s about time for the race. It will commence at 6:00 a.m. PST this Saturday (October 8th) in Santa Clarita, and from there on out I figure I will be riding for around 40 hours. My best girl friends, Tori and Raquel, will be crewing. The company of The Goddesses (if I were Charlie Sheen) will surely take some pain away from the challenge and immensely add to the fun factor.
You can follow the race as it happens on the official 508 webcast: http://www.the508.com/2011web/index.html. My race totem is Asiatic Wildcat.
Due to the distance, the substantial amount of climbing (35,000′), the competition, and the 27-year-old equipment I will be riding, it is bound to be a great adventure. And perhaps my ultimate ultra, as I do plan on taking an extended leave-of-absence from the ultra-distance world immediately following the race to spend more time on other interests of an entirely different sort.