Furnace Creek 508 Race Report

The complete story of the 2008 Furnace Creek 508 race is available here.

The Beginning

The previous year in 2007 I had completed a Super Randonneur award, Brevets of 200, 300, 400 and 600k, I had also competed in the Ring of Fire 24hr time trial. However I was not really thinking about racing the 508 until my dad received an e-mail from a friend of ours who is a randonneur; Del Scharffenberg, who had completed the 508 four times. In the e-mail he informed us of the race fee discount that the race organizer Chris Kostman was making for the 25th anniversary of the race, for racers under 20 the race fee was only $100. I finally decided to sign up for it right before the application deadline which was in April. The next key thing was to find a crew. I knew my dad was going to be on the crew and he has experience riding four person team Race Across Oregon so I knew he would be a good member. We were riding a 400k in June and were at the end resting before the ride home. Our friend John Henry Maurice, who had ridden and crewed several times at the 508, was volunteering to work the final control at the end and he volunteered to be a member of the crew. So know we just had to find a third crew member, my dad thought we would be fine with only two members but John told us we needed three members. In July we rode a 200k and working the secret control was several friends of ours; Edna and Dave Van Gundy and Mandy Achterman. When my dad mentioned that we were looking for a third crew member Mandy instantly volunteered to help. She had crewed for four person RAO twice and crewed for Michael Wolfes solo RAO finish.
Pre Race

All four of us met the Thursday before the race at our house in Salem and drove down to the race, a fourteen hour drive to Santa Clarita, California where the race start was. When we got down there we had to check-in and get the car and bicycles checked and prepared for the race. After that we went to a gathering of recumbent and recumbent-friendly racers for a pre-race supper. Later we went to the pre-race meeting where Chris Kostman told us about the route and the rules and all kinds of other information. It was cool meeting the other racers especially Deanna Aye-Aye Adams who was a 20 year old female rider. I also got to see Del there as he was going for his fifth official finish so he could get into the hall of fame. Thankfully I did not feel at all nervous and in fact felt quite calm about the whole thing, unlike my dad who kept on walking into the room that Mandy and I were sharing and adjusting the bicycle and walking downstairs to the car to make sure everything was ready to go the next day.

The Race

The next day when everyone was gathering I could feel myself becoming nervous. There was one guy who while I was waiting for the race to start told me that he did not believe that I could do it and tried to tell me about all the bad things that could happen on a ride like this. I think that actually calmed me down because it got me thinking about the fact that I could actually do this strangely enough.

For the first four miles the course was a parade start with everyone in a large pack. After that we turned left and we immediately had to make gaps between each other so that we were not drafting which is against the rules. Right after the turn the road is very recumbent friendly with slightly rolling mostly flat road through a canyon, it was very frustrating unfortunately because there were too many people crowded together and since there was no drafting you couldnt pass very easily. The first climb is actually surprisingly difficult, it is about fifteen miles long and climbs 2500 feet. It was overcast that morning and as I climbed farther up we got into a thick fog that made it difficult to see.


Photo by Doug Sloan

Finally I reached the top where my crew was, they had to drive ahead in the first 24 miles because there was no support allowed during that time. The descent down off the mountain was very fast, I reached 50 MPH on the T-Bone for the first time, once I reached the bottom the fog had disappeared and we were in a desert. This section was very fast because the road was flat and there was a tailwind the entire way. After this very fast section I started the Windmills Climb, which is called that because there are dozens of wind turbines on the top of the hill. I was only 50 miles into the ride when all of a sudden I felt like throwing up, I pulled over to the side of the road and threw up all over my leg and shoe. Since I had never thrown up on a ride before my first reaction was why did this happen and I am only 50 miles into the ride and I am already throwing up, this is not good. I quickly got back on my bike and rode off; when the car went by I waved for them to stop and got some water poured over my leg and foot to clean off my leg, I told them I had thrown up. Later they said that I probably tried to eat too many calories too quickly and because my stomach was not used to that, it caused me to throw up. We had a nice descent/flat all the way to the first time station California City. Ever after this point till late in the race my stomach was hurting and I had trouble eating.

As soon as we left the time station and instead of the awesome tailwind we now had a very strong horrendous crosswind. The land around here was all sandy and the sand was being blown into the road, luckily I managed to prevent the sand from blowing into my eyes. 


Photo by Chris Kostman

What I did not know until after the race was that the car got stuck here and that Mandy and John had to get out of the car and push it so that it could get unstuck. The road here is flat and rolling until the bottom of the first climb of this section. It was not really that bad of a climb, but it climbs gradually at the start so you can see almost the entire climb before you. My crew was great on this climb because they knew that even though my stomach was killing me, I needed to eat because otherwise I would bonk and then the race would be over. They started a pattern that would last for the rest of the race, giving me small amounts of real food at certain times while I slowly drank small amounts of Spiz. When I reached the top of the climb there was a small descent and then a series of steep rolling climbs that were very slow. After the final climb there was a fast descent down to a highway, where I turned and headed towards the next Time Station in Trona. This is where we got passed by the first two person team, team Ox. The road to Trona was completely flat but then I went around a corner and there was a ferocious crosswind that made it hard to control the bike from going into the ditch. At several points on the way to Trona the road curves which turn you straight into a ferocious headwind that diminished my speed all the way down to nine mph. After battling the head/cross wind for what felt like forever I reached the time station in Trona.


Photo by Doug Sloan


After we left Trona the road was fairly flat, but with a tough crosswind. My stomach started feeling worse the closer I got to the next climb, Trona Bump, a 1000 foot climb at mile 160. Halfway up the climb I felt like I was going to throw up again so I proceeded to pull over and heave up the contents of my stomach several times. This was definitely a hard time mentally, because I knew that I was only 160 miles into the race and if I kept on throwing up like this that it would be hard for me to continue. My crew was great though because they kept on forcing me to eat even when I did not feel like it. They knew as I knew that I had to keep eating to finish the race. As I descended off the hill I got stuck behind a slower moving upright rider and his support vehicle, which was very frustrating until I saw the opportunity to pass the vehicle and the rider. That was a surprisingly fun descent that I managed to carry the momentum from until the road started to rise again as we got closer to Townes Pass. It was right before the turn onto HWY 190 that we had to stop and turn the lights on and put the lights on my bike. After a couple of minutes being followed by the car my back lights holder broke and fell off into the road. This was the second back light to break during the ride, which tells you how lousy and bumpy the roads are in the 508. Turning onto HWY 190 the road goes straight for what seems like a short distance, but with a strong crosswind and the fact that you can see Townes Pass looming before you it feels like the road lasts forever. Finally at mile 200 we began the 13 mile 3800 feet climb up Townes Pass, which is the hardest climb of the race. Now one of the pre-race ride previews I read said that the climb was only an average of 6%, that was most certainly wrong, it felt like the climb was at least 8-9% most of the way. The worst part of the climb is that you can see the bicycles and support cars working their way up the mountain before you. I do not feel like I was going up this climb particularly fast but I was able to keep pace with most of the uprights that were around. Since I wasnt feeling well and it was hard for me to eat on the bike I took several breaks on the way up were my crew gave me food to eat and John told me about the rest of the climb. Looking down the pass we could see all of the lights of the riders who were climbing, it was very beautiful and interesting. Finally we reached the top of that awful climb and we pulled over and my crew took the Stiletto down for the descent into Death Valley. We figured that using the Stiletto would be a good idea because it would keep me from getting cold on the 17 mile 5000 foot descent. It was a very fast descent, but it was probably not as fast as it could have been since I had never ridden the Stiletto at night downhill, so I was little unsure of how it would feel. After we reached the bottom I continued to ride the Stiletto all the way to the third time station at Furnace Creek. The air was warm in Death Valley even at night around 81 degrees when I reached the bottom of the climb. The weird thing about riding at night is that sometimes you cant really tell if you are climbing or not, especially on the Stiletto because you cant see the speedometer. As it turns out it is not completely flat from the bottom of Townes Pass to Furnace Creek and I was pushing too high of a gear on the Stiletto trying to go faster. This is where my ankle started hurting and it only got worse most of the rest of the ride. As we got closer to Furnace Creek I was starting to have a hard time falling awake. We reached the time station around ten at night and I decided I needed a sleep break, my crew reluctantly went along. We had planned the race with the knowledge that my body was probably not going to be able to last the whole night without sleep but we had been hoping to make it to 3:00 before having to take a sleep break. But the crew emptied half of the Prius trunk, laid out a sleeping bag and I went to sleep.


Photo by Chris Kostman

About twenty minutes later they woke me up; I got back on my bike and started to ride across Death Valley.  Earlier in the night it had rained for what must have been the first time in months, but now the roads were dry. Now I had never been to Death Valley before and I assumed like I think almost everyone else who has never been there does that it was flat. Boy was I wrong. While it was flat in some sections there was a lot of rolling terrain. Riding through there at night is very hard because it seems like it is going on forever and it feels like you have been riding for days. About an hour after leaving Furnace Creek I felt my ankle really started to bother me a lot. So we stopped and Mandy put an ice pack held on by some tape on my ankle. Unfortunately this did not help as much as we thought it would because it was uncomfortable and made it awkward to ride the T-Bone which I had switched to at Furnace Creek. After riding for what felt like hours across Death Valley I could feel myself getting sleepier again and I asked my crew if I could take a sleep break again. But unlike me they were still smart at this point and told me I had to wait until the bottom of the Jubilee Pass, which is at the end of Death Valley, only then could I take a break. This was the low point of the race, I stopped along the side of the road and my dad got out of the car and came to see what was wrong. At this point I was not sure that I could finish, it was the middle of the night, I was exhausted, my stomach was killing me and my ankle was starting to get worse. My Dad gave me a little pep talk, I cant remember what he said but I know it helped and I rode off. I think the most important thing a rider can do at this point of the ride is to listen to his crew, by now the riders brain is so tired by the riding that he cant rationally think about anything. For example I would stop and Mandy would give me something to eat and while I would tell her about what I thought I could eat she would make me eat something. I think this is where trust of your crew is a really important part here if you have a crew you dont trust then you are going to struggle. However I trusted my Dad, Mandy and John completely I knew that I was in good hands and that they knew better than I did about what to do. I knew I needed a sleep break as I got closer to Jubilee and John told me a good place to pull over, a dirt road off of the side. On the final climb before Jubilee we got passed by Patty-Jo Struve whose crew chief Sandy Earl had helped me on the ROF, as they passed Sandy yelled encouragement from a loudspeaker. Evidently I passed the dirt road before Jubilee and my crew thought I was going to go on, but I just was so tired that I missed the turnoff and instead stopped on the shoulder only fifty feet ahead. They took all of the stuff out of half of the Prius, laid out the sleeping bag and I fell to sleep immediately. After I woke up I started the climb up Jubilee which is the easier of two climbs out of Death Valley at 300 miles into the race. Soon after I crested the top there was a one mile downhill before the start of Salsberry Pass which is 2300 feet in 9.5 miles. I ate a part of a bagel at the bottom of the climb and then started the climb. Right about this point I seemed to be in the middle of the womens solo field as there were about four female soloists close to where I was. This is most certainly a very difficult climb especially because it is late in the race. Halfway up I felt like throwing up again and I pulled over and proceeded to empty my stomach. My crew joked later about the disappearing bagel which amazingly did not appear even though I had eaten it only a little but ago, however then nothing was funny. Even though I felt horrible at that point I knew I could finish and I knew that I needed to finish quitting was not an option. The sunlight was just starting to come up and that gave me a huge boost mentally. When we reached the top there was another boost mentally, everything up to that point was counting the miles up, but from now on everything was counting down towards the finish. So even though my stomach was still committing suicide and my ankle was still killing me I felt good and I felt like I could make it. Then there was a good descent towards Shoshone and while there was supposedly a small climb on the profile I honestly did not notice it. So at around 8:30 we rolled into the fourth time station: Shoshone.


Photo by Chris Kostman


After leaving Shoshone the road was flat until we began the climb up to Ibex Pass. While the route sheet called this an easy 750 feet climb, it really felt much harder at this point for some reason. On the second day the support vehicle can follow directly behind the rider or leapfrog ahead. Our original plan was to have the car leapfrog me and give me food and water. We decided halfway up the climb that it would be safer to follow me in the car because the traffic was starting to get heavier and faster. I finally started the descent off Ibex Pass and it was fairly unrewarding, I was having trouble getting speed up. Right at the bottom the road gets very straight and goes through a low spot between two hills, in the middle, between the two hills there was an off-road vehicle driving area. There were a lot of cars and RVs leaving this area and heading down the road to Baker. 


Photo by Tom Parkes

The road between there and the next time station at Baker, is ever so slightly uphill and the traffic on the road is atrocious. It was on this road that I saw a gecko walk slowly partway across the road and then when it saw me it took off like a shot and ran across the road extremely fast, I thought it was interesting so I pointed this out to my crew. We nearly got killed several times on this road by the crazy traffic which was moving at around 80 MPH, all these large SUVs and pickup trucks pulling RV trailers and who were passing us with on coming traffic. I only learned this after the race but apparently there was one time when this large SUV pulling a trailer almost hit the support car while my dad was driving. He was trying to figure out what would be the best solution if the SUV hit us; whether he should accelerate quickly and try to knock me off the road to try and avoid the SUV possibly hitting the car and possibly killing both of us or whether he should try to absorb the damage from the SUV and hope for the best. Thankfully the SUV/RV just missed us by a very narrow margin. However you can see how dangerous of a road this truly was and how urgent it was for us to get off this road. I started to feel really good as I got closer to Baker; I was finally starting to catch some solo riders. With only about five miles to go I caught a female soloist Saralee Microraptor Liner who I would see for most of the rest of the race. As I was catching some more solo riders my big toe on my right foot all of a sudden started hurting really badly. I pulled up my crew and told them about it, they said we would do something about it at the next time station. When we reached the time station in Baker, I got off the bike and Mandy told me that my toe probably hurt because it had swelled up and was rubbing against the shoe. So I sat down and they took of my shoe and put some ice on the swelled toe in the hopes of relieving the swelling. At this point Mandy called her dad, Chris who is an orthopedic surgeon, and he told her to buy some Ben-Gay to put on my toe and ankle.

So as I was leaving the time station my crew drove off to buy some Ben-Gay and other ointments. While we were stopped Microraptor passed us and as I was heading towards the nasty 25 mile climb to Kelso, I passed her again and yelled we are almost there... she was a veteran so she just laughed. The road here for this entire stage is absolutely awful, the surface is really bad chip seal. Only a few miles into the climb my crew showed up and we put some Ben-Gay on my ankle and toes. At this time they asked me if I wanted to try this water vest that John Lauer had given us at the dinner before the race. It was starting to get hotter out so I agreed, we decided that in a few miles time when the vest had been soaked for a while we would give it a try. The road before the climb is a straight slightly uphill section where you can see the road climbing the hill ahead of you. This climb really is not incredibly hard it is just long and gradual and demoralizing. A few more miles into the climb we put on the water vest, it was great it felt like I was freezing to death it was so cold, but it was just what I needed. I slowly climbed this hill taking it one pedal stroke at a time, my stomach was still feeling bad, but my crew was still forcing me to take the calories. At one point they pulled up beside me in the car and dad told me that I had ridden farther then I ever had before and that there was only 120 miles to go. I replied yeah its also farther then you have ever ridden, which made him kind of blustery, but my crew was quite happy at this point because they knew that if I was able to think of a snappy remark so quickly that I was doing okay. About a half hour after we put the water vest on it started to lose its effectiveness. So I stopped and we took it off and my crew put it back into water to soak longer. About here with maybe six more miles to climb the pavement changed, it turned from bad pavement to really awful, horrible surface. It seemed like when they made surface that they had thrown anything they could find into the mix. The stones were really large and I swear I saw some bottle caps and bits of metal tubing in the surface. 


Photo by Doug Sloan

We put on the water vest one more time to reach the top. I could see the top from where I was and it seemed a short distance away, but it took along time to get there, I was not going very fast so it seemed like it took forever. Right at the top there was a cattle guard; it was one of those that have the wider than normal bars and it was right at the top so I was not going very fast. I stopped and walked my bike across the guard to the other side. Now I knew from looking at the map that it was all downhill for ten miles to Kelso, I thought this should be fun. Boy was I wrong. The road surface did not improve on the way down; in fact it got even worse. There was some loose gravel and the road crew had put down those type of patches on the road that act as bumps. There were layers of patches on top of each other, it was awful and dangerous. The last thing I wanted was to crash with only 100 miles to go. This was a slow descent, I was constantly having to apply my brakes so that I would not crash. I think someone on a two person team might have crashed here, because I saw their support vehicle pulled over and the bicycle leaning on the trunk. My crew said they could feel the roughness and bumps on the pavement inside the car. However we managed to get to the time station in Kelso without having any trouble. The Ben-Gay on my ankle and toes had worn off and my ankle was starting to hurt as badly as it had before. I asked Mandy if we could use more and she said that we had to wait five hours between applications and that we could put on more at the next time station. Great, now I have to ride for twelve miles uphill with my ankle hurting as badly as before.

The next stage is only 33.8 miles long, but the first 12 miles are all uphill. The nature of the race is that there are a lot of straight roads and this climb was no exception. From the bottom I could see where I thought the top of the climb was and it did not look that far away. For the most part this climb is not very steep, all I had to do was slowly spin my way up the hill making sure that my cadence wasnt getting too low. Are plan had been to get to the finish before it got too late during the night and before I got really sleepy, but this plan was quickly falling apart because I simply wasnt going that fast up the climb. There is one curve in the road and then it is straight almost the whole way to the top. When I got to the curve John said I had six miles to go to the top. I was thinking "no way, it cant be six miles to the top, I can see the top from here." Unfortunately it was not the top and I still had a long way to climb. My crew and I decided that I should carry a container full of e-caps and race caps for the rest of the race, so I wouldnt have to stop to get them. My dad tried to hand them to me while running alongside me on the climb, but I failed to get a grip on the container and it fell. So instead I stopped and got some food and liquid and took the container. As we got closer to the top the back of my knees started hurting. I dont think this injury was caused by anything in particular, but was instead caused just by riding for 400 plus miles and putting a lot of strain on my knees. I dont think I ever got annoyed at my crew except once going up this climb, for some reason I thought they were coming with these doom and gloom scenarios about what would happen if we did not finish before it got too late during the night. I was frustrated since I couldnt hear what they were saying and I was imagining all the things I thought they might be saying. The last couple of miles of the climb are steeper then the first 10 miles of the climb and they really slowed me down a lot here. Right at the top of the climb there was another cattle guard just like on the previous climb. It was another really bad one and I stopped and walked my bike across it. After looking at the profile I thought after the top it would be all downhill to the next time station, but after you crest the top there is a flattish rolling section for a couple of miles. However finally after that there was downhill all the way to the time station. The pavement was really bad on this road with huge cracks in the surface that I had to swerve to avoid. My crew was yelling at me from the car to pedal on the way down. I must admit I didnt feel like pedaling, the pavement was very rough and was hurting my ankle and every time I pedaled my knees would hurt. This was definitely not a satisfying descent. Finally we reached the last time station in Almost Amboy, where there was a man with a dog manning the table. I sat down in the car and Mandy put some more Ben-Gay on my ankle and the back of my knees. 

The Ben-Gay definitely helped a lot because neither my ankle nor my knee hurt as much for the rest of the race. As we left the time station I reset my computer so I could know exactly how far to go to the finish, only 57 miles to go... woo-hoo! Shortly after leaving the time station we arrived at the town of Amboy, which has absolutely nothing in it. It was dark by now and the next turn was a left turn. Mandy was driving at this point and she saw the sign by the side of the road that told us to turn and she turned down what she thought was the road. I was in front of her and when I saw the turn signal on I turned and we went right into a dirt road. We laughed about got back onto the road and made the correct turn. There was a great tailwind on this road as I rode towards the last hill of the race Sheephole Summit. This road was really lousy; it looked to me like the chip seal was really large and I kept feeling like I needed to swerve to avoid gravel. As we got closer to the bottom of the hill my stomach started to feel better for the first time during the race. I was moving fast along the section to the bottom of the hill, about 16-17 MPH it felt really great. At the bottom of the hill we stopped and I voluntarily ate some food, which felt like a first. Then we began the climb. I felt like I was going pretty slow, but my crew said after the race that I was going surprisingly fast up the climb, it was dark so I couldnt really tell what the grade was like, but it didnt feel very steep. Only a little ways up the climb I started to hallucinate, I pulled over and the car pulled over too and dad asked me what was wrong and I said I was starting to hallucinate. He said can you see the trees?? I said yes I can. Well we can too. Of course there were no trees for miles around, but we were all hallucinating. Along with the trees I thought from the way that the sagebrush was swaying that there were people waving and moving along the shoulder. Sheephole Climb is hard, I did it at night so I couldnt see how much farther I had too go, but I knew it felt to long. It is fairly gradual for most of the ascent and then it gets steeper the nearer you get to the top. There was also a lot of fast moving traffic on this road. It seemed like every car that was passing us was going at least 80 MPH. As we almost got to the top I saw a farmer loading a pig onto a pick-up truck by the side of the road. It turned out to be three bushes that were all moving together. When we reached the top we stopped briefly so that I could drink some frappaccino to get the caffeine. Right at the top there was a tower with a big light that was reflecting off of the hills. The descent down the other side was quite fast, but not technical. Then began the last 24 miles to the finish, the road looked flat but was in fact slightly uphill the entire way. It cant compare to Timberline as far as difficulty, but it is still not easy, especially in the dark. The road surface was absolutely horrendous, hallucinating did not make it better, the road looked like it had giant bumps which I kept swerving to avoid, though they were not actually there. I kept thinking that I saw another riders support vehicle up ahead, but it was just the reflectors by the side of the road. This section is frustratingly slow, because I felt like I should be going faster but I could only manage about 10-12 MPH. I really did not know where anything was and I was convinced there was a freeway to the left, because I kept on seeing these lights in the hills. We drove through there the following day in the sunlight and I have no clue where those lights could have been. It was hard to concentrate going up the final ascent, I took to slapping my legs and my arms to stay awake. We could see the lights of Twenty Nine Palms and the Marine Base up ahead, but I couldnt tell how far they were. Finally after what felt like forever we reached the outskirts of the lights. I turned left and headed towards the town, there was a stop light way in the distance that looked closer then it actually was. We stopped so that I could change into my Hammer shorts, for the benefit of the sponsor. As I was changing clothes we were passed by another solo rider. I climbed back on the bike and we headed towards the finish. I turned at the second to last turn of the race and headed towards the finish. It felt like we were getting into downtown Twenty Nine Palms, but in fact there were very few buildings. It seemed as we were heading down the road that there were buildings to the right of us, but in fact there were none. The ride through the town is not easy, because the finishing hotel is all the way on the other side from where we were. There were also several small hills that made my knees scream in pain. Finally as we approached the hotel there was a lead car ready to take us into the finish. We turned left and went into the front of the Best Western. There was a banner on the front of awning coming in and there was a photographer taking pictures as the riders came in.



Photos by Chris Kostman and Jeff Bell

 I got off my bike; it felt great to actually finish this race. Instantly my crew was there, hugs all round as we celebrated the finish. Chris Kostman gave me the official finishers jersey and medal and they took pictures of me with Chris Kostman and of the crew and me. 



Photos by Chris Kostman and Jeff Bell

It was absolutely great to finish the race with a time of 40 hours 49 minutes and 52 seconds, not as good as I had hoped, but hell if I cared. Then since we were staying at another hotel down the street I got into the car and we headed to the hotel. We got our bags and headed to our separate rooms, Dad and John to their room and Mandy and I to our room. After taking a shower my Dad and I borrowed Mandys cell phone and called my mom, evidently waking her up. Then I went upstairs and fell asleep.

Post-Race

There was post-race breakfast we wanted to go to at 7:00. So Mandy and I set our alarm to wake up at 6:30 with the idea that my dad was going to come to get us at 7:00 and then we could go to the breakfast. We woke up at 6:30 and neither of us felt like getting up so we lay in bed waiting till about 7:00 when we decided to get dressed so that we would be ready for when dad came. We got dressed and then climbed back into our king bed and waited. We talked until about 7:30 when it became clear that my dad would not be coming, so I called his room and he answered the phone all groggy and tired. Apparently he had just woken up, he saw that there was light coming through the curtains and he saw that it was 7:30 and he thought "oh my god, we are going to be late for the start of the race!" Then he realized what time it was. So we all met to head down to this church for the breakfast. There was a long line, so instead of eating we decided just to talk with the other racers and crewmembers. I was still pretty out of it and my brain wasnt working to well, so I didnt talk very much. But it was nice to see all the other racers especially the recumbent racers. As we were leaving we saw Deanna sitting in her van and we congratulated her on finishing and talked about the race. Then we left and headed back towards Oregon, by way of Death Valley so that we could see all that we had missed while riding at night. I think it only really hit me that I had finished the 508 when we were driving through Nevada at night. It was only then when my brain finally really realized that I had finished the race that I had been thinking about for so long and that I had really ridden 508 freaking miles.

Final Thoughts

I would not have been able to finish the 508 without my crew my Dad, John and Mandy. With them I think I had the best crew that anyone can ever have. So my thanks go to all three members of my crew. I am also thankful for the incredible support of the OHPV group who watched from home and offered moral support. I have had several friends of mine at a recent fencing tournament that I attended who came up to me and said they had followed the race on-line, for which I am eternally grateful. Looking back onto it now, while I was certainly not happy about it at the time, my stomach and ankle issues seem to make my finish more rewarding in my mind. I feel like having to overcome those obstacles makes it more special to remember, then if everything had gone smoothly even though my time would have been better. I may have hated it while I was doing it, but now I feel very happy for having done it and finished the race.