Regular readers of this blog will have no doubt noticed the ad in the right hand column of this blog, for the Silver State 508, some of you may have even clicked on it to find out more.
This tough ultra-marathon 508 mile bike race with a cut-off time of 48 hours, has been successfully run using four different courses for the last 31 years.
The race started in 1983 when it was first run on a 102 mile loop in the Hemet area, a little town in the Southern California desert, southeast of Los Angeles. Three years later the race moved to Arizona and was run on an out-and-home course from Tucson to Flagstaff and back.
In 1989 in search of safer and quieter roads, the event became the Furnace Creek 508, and was run for the next 24 years on a route from Santa Clarita, California, through Death Valley to Twenty Nine Palms. The race would still been there to this day had not a brand new Death Valley Park Superintendent taken over.
This new DV Parks Chief would soon put a stop to this nonsense of people running and riding bikes through Death Valley, someone might die. After all, it is called “Death” Valley…. Duh.
Actually, people died in the past because they were on foot and ran out of water. Cyclists and runners know to drink water, and have helpers to make sure they have a good supply. Don’t you just love these politicians who take over and decide we need to be protected from ourselves?
In spite of the organizers having the support of the California Highway Patrol, and the Death Valley, and Lone Pine Chambers of Commerce, and Congressman Paul Cook, their pleas to continue on this course fell on blindfolded ears.
And so the race became the Silver State 508, (A nice ring.) The Silver State being Nevada. This year’s race was moved to yet another classic America Frontier Region, and was held on the quiet Northern roads of that State.
Held this year on October 5 – 7, on an out-and-home course starting and finishing in Reno. The event drew 141 riders from 16 American States, plus Canada, Italy, Mexico, Philippines, Slovenia, and Switzerland. Next year, Adventure Corps, the organizers are hoping for an even bigger entry.
The 2015 event will be held 2 weeks earlier, September 19 - 21, it is hoped that some of the chilling desert night temperatures will be a little higher. The race is in the form of a time-trial.
If you have ever thought about trying one of these Ultra-Marathon events, Adventure Corps also puts on a 308 mile event, with a 24 hour qualifying time, held at the end of May. In fact for rookies, finishing the 308 is one if the best credentials to have for acceptance to ride the 508. They also have Century, and Double-Century Rides.
If the 24 hour and 48 hour qualifying times seem generous, bear in mind that both these events take in some serious mountain climbing. Some reaching over 7.000 feet. Check out the website it is interesting reading.
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