Hurry Up and Wait
That’s what the riders, crews, and race officials are faced with on the day before the start of the 2003 Furnace Creek 508 ultracycling race. After hotel and race registration, a vehicle check, and general race preparation, waiting is all that anyone can do, anxiously anticipating the start of the race on Saturday morning.
Friday evening’s pre-race meeting offers a perfect way to motivate the riders who will be faced with gradually climbing temperatures. Rumor had it that the mercury neared the 100s on Thursday in the depths of the appropriately named Death Valley. The Santa Clarita area, sight of Saturday’s starting line, experienced moderate winds today, which could be a precursor of things to come for riders as they set out toward the finish at Twentynine Palms, California.
Much more than just a review of the rulebook, the meeting opened to a packed room of over 300 with an exceptional video of the 2002 event. Rookie riders were able to get a brief look at the course that awaits (more waiting!).
Of special note was the dedication of the 2003 event to Dennis Brown, a fixture at this event since 1985, usually seen running the Shoshone Time Station and patrolling the course in his well-used minivan with “RAAM FVR” license plates. It’s people like Dennis who make this race possible for everybody to enjoy.
As the solo riders gather in the morning for the 7am start and teams prepare for their 10am or 1pm start, anxiety will be high, but each of the athletes can take solace in the fact that months of training and preparations have finally brought them here to the start of the Furnace Creek 508.
Until then, we wait with the riders and crews for a race of epic proportionsWhere The West Is Won.