Archive for October, 2008

Furnace Creek 508 – Team Prairie Dog

| October 17, 2008 3:16 pm

This past weekend, Paul and Franz competed as a two man relay team in the 25th Furnace Creek 508 bicycle race (see Prairie Dog Team Website). We were lucky to have Russ and Sheila crew again for us. We started on Saturday morning at 9:00 am and finished on Sunday afternoon at 5:17 pm, for a total time of 32 hours, 17 minutes.

Watch Our Video

Preparation

We started the trek on Friday. After loading up the van with bikes and supplies we headed down to Santa Clarita.

We had a few mishaps on the way down. The first one was Paul seeing in his rear view mirror that one of his spare wheels had bounced off the top of the van. We were on a freeway so we had to go to the next exit several miles down and back track. It was hard to figure out where the wheel was, so we stopped at a rest stop and searched. Sheila finally found it, still in good condition.

The other mishap was some exploding coke cans. We had put them near the dry ice to cool them fast, but they froze and exploded.

After arriving, Russ and Paul worked on getting the signs on the van and then we had the inspection.

Saturday morning it was up early and get ready. Since the start hotel was not that far from where we were staying, Franz decided to just bike over there instead of try to put his bike up on the top of the van.

Start Line

It was a lot of fun to have so many friends at the start doing the race on other teams. Franz, Gary F. and Joe F. were at the starting line.

Eight Stages

Franz did the “A” rider stages again this year so he started out with the first stage from the start to California City.

We had a police escort for the first 5 miles. The support vehicles have to drive out to the 24 mile mark and wait for the rides.

The 84 mile ride over to California City was fast with both a tailwind and a cross wind at times. Franz arrived at 1:25 pm and made the hand off to Paul. He then headed to Trona.

Paul made very good time on this state, averaging 20.3 mph.

This year we were doing much better which allowed us to drive the support vehicle on to Trona and wait. Last year we had to go into the follow the rider mode at 6 pm. Since we could get to the time station before 6 pm, we could drive ahead and be ready before Paul finished the stage. Franz decided to switch to his bike with the triple since he would be climbing Townes Pass.

Paul arrived at 5:27 PM, and Franz made my way towards Townes Pass as the sun was setting.

One stage that Franz didn’t feel like he did well on last year was this stage 3, from Trona to Furnace Creek. This year his time was 6:03 compared with 7:17 last year, so nearly a 45 minute improvement.

It was now dark as Franz started to climb up Townes Pass. Unlike last year, it was much warmer, but there was a strong headwind. Once he reached the summit, Franz switched to his other bike, which had the bright light on it. It was then a 5,000 foot drop down into Death Valley, then the long ride over to Furnace Creek.

At 10:56 pm, Paul took over and started the stage to Shoshone. That involves considerable climbing, up out of the Death Valley.

He arrived at 5:27 am, so we needed to do a night time switch, which meant Franz could not get out of the car and get the bike ready until after Paul reached the time station. It was still dark as Franz left for Baker. After 7:00 am, the support van could go ahead and get to Baker in time for Paul to enjoy a milkshake before Franz arrived.

Franz came flying into Baker at 8:53 am.

The stage to Baker was slower than last year but there was a headwind instead of the tailwind Franz had enjoyed previously. He was glad to get off the bike, if he could only get his leg over it! But when he did he found they had bought him a cheeseburger and fries. Wow that was great.

Powered by the milkshake, Paul made his way towards Kelso.

At 11:30 AM, Paul arrived at Kelso and Franz took the hand off and headed to Almost Amboy.

Being his last stage, Franz took off fast with the plan to ride this 33 miles as fast as he could, despite the climbing. Besides Franz had that power from the cheeseburger that he had eaten in the van on the way over.

After the 2,200 foot climb, it was a very long descent down to Almost Amboy. It was not as fast as last year when we had the tail wind but Franz still was able to average 18.9 mph. Paul then started the last stage to the finish.

The Finish

Just before the finish, as is customary, Franz got back on the bike so we could cross the finish line together.

It was really the effort of the entire team, both riders and crew, that made this such a rewarding experience.

We were happy we finished 69 minutes faster than last year and within 7 minutes of our target (See Results).

Post Race Recap

| October 7, 2008 11:35 pm

This past weekend, Paul and Franz competed as a two man relay team in the 25th Furnace Creek 508 bicycle race. We were lucky to have Russ and Sheila crew again for us. We started on Saturday morning at 9:00 am and finished on Sunday afternoon at 5:17 pm, for a total time of 32 hours, 17 minutes.

Watch Our Video

Preparation

We started the trek on Friday. After loading up the van with bikes and supplies we headed down to Santa Clarita.

We had a few mishaps on the way down. The first one was Paul seeing in his rear view mirror that one of his spare wheels had bounced off the top of the van. We were on a freeway so we had to go to the next exit several miles down and back track. It was hard to figure out where the wheel was, so we stopped at a rest stop and searched. Sheila finally found it, still in good condition.

The other mishap was some exploding coke cans. We had put them near the dry ice to cool them fast, but they froze and exploded.

After arriving, Russ and Paul worked on getting the signs on the van and then we had the inspection.

Saturday morning it was up early and get ready. Since the start hotel was not that far from where we were staying, Franz decided to just bike over there instead of try to put his bike up on the top of the van.

Start Line

It was a lot of fun to have so many friends at the start doing the race on other teams. Franz, Gary F. and Joe F. were at the starting line.

Eight Stages

Franz did the “A” rider stages again this year so he started out with the first stage from the start to California City.

We had a police escort for the first 5 miles. The support vehicles have to drive out to the 24 mile mark and wait for the rides.

The 84 mile ride over to California City was fast with both a tailwind and a cross wind at times. Franz arrived at 1:25 pm and made the hand off to Paul. He then headed to Trona.

Paul made very good time on this state, averaging 20.3 mph.

This year we were doing much better which allowed us to drive the support vehicle on to Trona and wait. Last year we had to go into the follow the rider mode at 6 pm. Since we could get to the time station before 6 pm, we could drive ahead and be ready before Paul finished the stage. Franz decided to switch to his bike with the triple since he would be climbing Townes Pass.

Paul arrived at 5:27 PM, and Franz made my way towards Townes Pass as the sun was setting.

One stage that Franz didn’t feel like he did well on last year was this stage 3, from Trona to Furnace Creek. This year his time was 6:03 compared with 7:17 last year, so nearly a 45 minute improvement.

It was now dark as Franz started to climb up Townes Pass. Unlike last year, it was much warmer, but there was a strong headwind. Once he reached the summit, Franz switched to his other bike, which had the bright light on it. It was then a 5,000 foot drop down into Death Valley, then the long ride over to Furnace Creek.

At 10:56 pm, Paul took over and started the stage to Shoshone. That involves considerable climbing, up out of the Death Valley.

He arrived at 5:27 am, so we needed to do a night time switch, which meant Franz could not get out of the car and get the bike ready until after Paul reached the time station. It was still dark as Franz left for Baker. After 7:00 am, the support van could go ahead and get to Baker in time for Paul to enjoy a milkshake before Franz arrived.

Franz came flying into Baker at 8:53 am.

The stage to Baker was slower than last year but there was a headwind instead of the tailwind Franz had enjoyed previously. He was glad to get off the bike, if he could only get his leg over it! But when he did he found they had bought him a cheeseburger and fries. Wow that was great.

Powered by the milkshake, Paul made his way towards Kelso.

At 11:30 AM, Paul arrived at Kelso and Franz took the hand off and headed to Almost Amboy.

Being his last stage, Franz took off fast with the plan to ride this 33 miles as fast as he could, despite the climbing. Besides Franz had that power from the cheeseburger that he had eaten in the van on the way over.

After the 2,200 foot climb, it was a very long descent down to Almost Amboy. It was not as fast as last year when we had the tail wind but Franz still was able to average 18.9 mph. Paul then started the last stage to the finish.

The Finish

Just before the finish, as is customary, Franz got back on the bike so we could cross the finish line together.

It was really the effort of the entire team, both riders and crew, that made this such a rewarding experience.

We were happy we finished 69 minutes faster than last year and within 7 minutes of our target (See Results).

We Finished – Praire Dog

| October 5, 2008 6:52 pm

We finished the Furnace Creek 508 at 5:17 pm for a total of 32:17. That is more than one hour better than our time in 2007. We are glad it is over and are happy with how we did overall.  Both Paul and Franz were able to have an overall improvement in their times from last year, although some stages were faster and others were slower due to very different wind paterns.

We had the vest best crew than any team could ever ask for.  Russ and Sheila made sure that we were well taken care of and also did a great job of keeping track of what we were eating and drinking and giving us reminders that we needed to do more of each.  We feel that this great crew support was one of the main reasons why we ended up having such a good improvement in our time from 2007.

16 Miles To Go – Praire Dog

| 3:56 pm

Paul now has 16 miles left but into a stiff headwind. He just passed the Zorrilla 4x team!

Hot on stage 8 – Praire Dog

| 3:01 pm

Paul is making the last long climb of the 508. The temperature is now 90 degrees, the warmest we have had during the race. Franz is riding in the air conditioned support van.

Finished Stage 7 – Praire Dog

| 1:30 pm

Franz finished his last stage at 1:18 pm. Last year it was close to 2 pm so we are doing better this year, so far. Paul is now biking the last 57 mile stage. We hope to finish before 6 pm.

Finished Stage 4 and 5 – Praire Dog

| 9:09 am

We finished stage 4 at 5:25 and stage 5 at 8:53 am. We had headwinds on both stages compared to a nice tail wind last year.

Finished Stage 3 – Praire Dog

| October 4, 2008 11:21 pm

Franz finished stage 3, arriving at Furnace Creek at 10:56. Last year we arrived there at 1:17 am, so we continue to improve on each stage.

The climb up Townes Pass was much warmer than last year but there was a strong headwind, which made climbing difficult. Franz was very happy to reach the summit. It was then a 5,000 foot drop down to Death Valley.

After reaching the valley floor it was 25 miles to Furnace Creek. Franz was very tired and the legs were sore.

We were passed by team Zorrilla with 8 miles to go. That is the 4x team Lane and Mani are on but their ringer rider was doing the stage.

Because we are going faster, Franz will start his next stage at around 4 am, instead of 7 like last year.

It is now 12:40 am. Paul has finished 23 miles so far. Unlike last year, he has a head wind instead of a tail wind

ETA for Stage 2 – Praire Dog

| 4:07 pm

Looks like Paul will finish stage 2 around 5 pm. That means we can do a daylight swap. After 6 the van needs to stay with the rider so can not go ahead to get the other rider ready to ride. It is 4:10 pm now.

First Stage results – Praire Dog

| 3:42 pm

The first stage results were posted on the 508 website now. Gary was under 4 hours. Our team was 4:25.