Billed as the “Toughest 48 Hours In Sport,” the Furnace Creek 508 begins tomorrow and will run into Monday. The event is an ultramarathon of cycling, sending riders across a non-stop 508 mile course through some of the most demanding terrain in North America.
This year marks the 27th running of the race which is renowned for its length and challenge. The race begins in Santa Clarita, California and runs northeast to the northern most point of Death Valley. From there, the riders will turn south, traversing the length of DV before moving through the Mojave Desert and ending in Twentynine Palms, California. Along the way, they’ll face tough mountain climbs, wild open desert, and over 35,000 feet of vertical gain. That makes this race the equivalent of riding four mountain stages in the Tour de France. Back-to-back, non-stop. Ouch!
To be declared an official finisher of the race, the riders must reach the finish line in under 48 hours. That means they’ll have to average about 10.5 miles an hour, which any cyclist will tell you doesn’t sound too bad. But throw in that vertical gain, not to mention the heat of the desert, and hours and hours of riding, and you begin to see the challenges that these endurance athletes will face. The race is extremely demanding and many of the cyclists say that it is the toughest thing they’ve ever done.
So? Anyone care for a little bike ride in the desert this weekend?
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