Furnace Creek 508
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (August 2010)|
Furnace Creek 508 is an ultramarathon bicycle race that takes place annually each October since 1989 in Southern California. Its route starts in Santa Clarita, California (25 miles north of Los Angeles), goes northeast to Towne Pass and drops into Death Valley, traverses Death Valley in the southern direction, crosses Mojave Desert and ends at Twentynine Palms, California. The race is named after the total length of its course (508 miles) and the location of its midpoint (near Furnace Creek, California).
Rather than use names or numbers as in other races and other sports, the Furnace Creek 508 identifies riders and teams with "totems"; animal names said to signify or have a special meaning for a rider or team.
- Santa Clarita, California (start)
- Antelope Valley
- California City, California (82 miles)
- Trona, California (152 miles)
- Panamint Valley
- Townes Pass
- Furnace Creek, California (252 miles)
- Death Valley
- Salsberry Pass
- Shoshone, California (325 miles)
- Baker, California (382 miles)
- Kelso, California (416 miles)
- Amboy, California (450 miles)
- Twentynine Palms, California (finish)
Participants and results
In 2006, Furnace Creek 508 saw its largest number of entrants yet, at 179 (75 solo and 104 in teams). In order to be declared an "official finisher", an entrant must cross the finishing line within 48 hours (46 hours for relay teams). The official finishing rate is usually on the order of 60% for solo cyclists and approaching 100% for relay teams. Median finishing time is around 36 hours.
Among solo competitors, current overall records are 27:15:21 (men) and 28:46:34 (women).
At 508 miles (818 km) of length and 36,000 feet (11,000 m) of elevation gain, Furnace Creek route is roughly comparable to four typical mountain stages of Tour de France ridden back-to-back.
The Furnace Creek 508 was once a qualifying event for the Race Across America but has not been since 2003 due to rule changes.
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