Cyclists Challenge 508 Miles through Southern California's Mojave Desert and Death Valley in 25th Anniversary Furnace Creek 508

For Immediate Release

Oak Park, CA - AdventureCORPS, Inc., an event production firm specializing in ultra-endurance and extreme sports events, will host the 25th Anniversary, and 34th edition, of the Furnace Creek 508 Bicycle Race on October 4-6, 2008. Held since 1983 and known as "The Toughest 48 hours in Sport," it is the world's premier ultramarathon bicycle race. This non-stop 508-mile bicycle race is revered the world over for its epic mountain climbs, stark desert scenery, desolate roads, and its reputation as one of the toughest but most gratifying endurance challenges available, bar none.

The Furnace Creek 508 race course is 509.58 miles long and has a total elevation gain of over 35,000', while crossing ten mountain passes, and stretching from Santa Clarita (just north of Los Angeles), across the Mojave Desert, through Death Valley, to Twenty Nine Palms.

This year's Furnace Creek 508 celebrates the 25th anniversary of the 1983 John Marino Open, the predecessor to "The 508." That inaugural race was won by Michael Secrest, setting the stage for his career as one of the dominant, most competitive, and most respected cyclists in the sport of ultracycling. Twenty-five years later and aged 55, Secrest will compete at Furnace Creek 508 this year.

Since 1983, Michael has become the only athlete in history to set similar World Records in three consecutive decades. Michael is the only cyclist to have ridden more than 500 miles in 24 hours in all three venues: Indoor Track, Outdoor Track and Road (not to mention 1216 miles in 24 hours while drafting a truck around a motor speedway). He is also the world transcontinental record holder. He will be at Furnace Creek 508 with the goal and intention of overall solo victory. More info.

Michael Emde, 38, an Austrian living in Spokane, WA, who won the overall solo division in 2006 and 2007 will be among the many other solo men with the same intention of winning overall. In the women's solo field, a record 13 women are competing, including 2006 solo champ Shanna Armstrong, 34, of Lubbock, TX and 2007 solo champ Karen Armstrong, 48, of Spokane, WA (no relation). Making her ultracycling debut will be world famous adventure racer Robyn Benincasa, 40, of Cardiff, CA.

Solo, two-person relay, and four-person relay divisions are offered with over 200 racers competing, the largest field in the history of the race. This year's field includes 86 solo racers, 34 two-racer teams, and 16 four-person teams, for a total of 214 racers. Fourteen countries are represented - Austria, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Guatemala, Italy, New Zealand, Romania, South Africa, Sweden, United Kingdom, and the USA, with 19 American states represented. There are 175 men and 45 women. 125 are veterans and 97 are rookies. More info.

Designed as an endurance challenge, no drafting or pack riding is allowed in any division at Furnace Creek 508. There is a 48 hour time limit for the solo division and a 46 hour time limit for the relay team division.

The 2008 Furnace Creek 508 is dedicated to John Marino of Irvine, CA, the godfather of ultracycling who created the Great American Bike Race, Race Across America, and Furnace Creek 508 in the early 80s. The plaque he will receive on Friday evening recognizes him "for his pioneering vision as an athlete, for his unmatched leadership as a race director, for creating this event 25 years ago, for his friendship, wisdom, and support, and for being a guiding light and inspiration to cyclists across the USA and beyond." John will be on hand at the pre-race meeting and working on the race staff during the weekend. More info.

Four racers will be inducted into the Furnace Creek 508 Hall of Fame on Friday, October 3, at the pre-race meeting. Having each completed the race an impressive five times, the Class of 2008 includes Gary Baierl, 41, of Lake Forest, CA; Bernie Barge, 47, of Castaic, CA; Bill Hanf, 59, of Kennewick, WA; and David Nakai, 53, of Fallbrook, CA. More info.

AdventureCORPS offers the Death Valley Cup to recognize those athletes who complete both the Badwater Ultramarathon 135 Mile Running Race and the Furnace Creek 508 Bicycle Race in the same calendar year. This feat has only been accomplished fifteen times since Marshall Ulrich became the first Death Valley Cup finisher in 1996. Seven 2008 Badwater Ultramarathon finishers are attempting to earn the Death Valley Cup this year: Shanna Armstrong, Michele Santilhano, Lisa Smith-Batchen, Monica Fernandez, Steve Teal, Erhard Weiss, and Danny Westergaard. More info.

In an ongoing effort to minimize the environmental footprint of our events, as well as make them safer and less obtrusive on the highways, AdventureCORPS initiated a "Green Team" program at Furnace Creek 508 in 2007. More info. Additionally, AdventureCORPS is a member of 1% For The Planet and the Conservation Alliance. More info.

The Official Charities of AdventureCORPS, Inc. are Challenged Athletes Foundation and Major Taylor Association. More info.

The sponsors of the race are Hammer Nutrition, Sparrow Hawk Photography, Bicycle John's, Moeben Sleeves, Hilton Garden Inn of Santa Clarita, Furnace Creek Ranch, and the Best Western Gardens Inn of Twenty Nine Palms.

A live webcast of the race, including time splits, results, images, and more, will be available on this website at this link.

To download the Race Magazine (a 3.1MB Pdf file), click here.


What: 25th Anniversary AdventureCORPS Furnace Creek 508 Bicycle Race

When: 7:00am October 4 to 7:00am October 6, 2008

Where: The start line is the Hilton Garden Inn of Santa Clarita. The halfway mark is at Furnace Creek in Death Valley National Park. Racers then pass through the Mojave National Preserve en route to the finish line at the Best Western Gardens Inn in Twenty Nine Palms, CA. More info.

Who: Approximately 220 bicycle racers from across the USA, Canada, Asia, and Europe. Click here for the roster.

Why: To challenge themselves in the world's toughest single stage open bicycle race. To experience an unparalleled spiritual odyssey.

Sponsors: Special thanks to Hammer Nutrition, Sparrow Hawk Photography, Bicycle John's, Moeben Sleeves, Hilton Garden Inn of Santa Clarita, Furnace Creek Ranch, and the Best Western Gardens Inn of Twenty Nine Palms.

For more information, contact:

Chris Kostman
Chief Adventure Officer, Race Director, and Totemizer
AdventureCORPS, Inc.
Oak Park, CA USA