Back in 2011, I set a pretty audacious goal: to tackle the “Toughest 48 Hours in Sport”—or what the Furnace Creek 508 was known as at the time—in one of the toughest divisions from an effort perspective, the Classic Bike category. This meant riding this 508-mile (actually 510-mile) race with 35,000 feet of climbing on 1983 technology or older, which meant a lugged steel frame, toe clips and straps, non-indexed downtube shifters, 32-spoke wheels, and a 6-speed freewheel.
I even found a classic blue Gitane—the type that Bernard Hinault, Laurent Fignon, and Greg Lemond used to ride—on eBay specifically for the Furnace Creek 508, also known as the original qualifier for the Race Across America (RAAM). I also recruited two of my best friends, Raquel and Tori, for what would be still the only event I’ve raced that I needed a crew.
It only recently occurred to me that I never posted a full report on the race, just photos and copy-and-pasted tweets in this post. So before I start forgetting all the details, I created the following Microsoft Sway presentation, something I can look at while reminiscing decades from now.
This historic race is no more ever since the government started disallowing athletic events through Death Valley National Park, but for those who are interested in racing something like it, consider registering for its successor, the Silver State 508.