Next Saturday October 8 at 7AM area riders Brian Ecker and Bob Brudvik will face the challenges of the 2011 Furnace Creek 508. The 508 includes over 35,000′ of climbing, crosses ten mountain passes, and stretches from Santa Clarita (just north of Los Angeles), across the Mojave Desert, through Death Valley National Park and Mojave National Preserve, to the finish line at the gateway to Joshua Tree National Park, Twentynine Palms, CA.
Brian finished third at the 2009 edition of the 508, and as a training ride for this year’s 508 finished first in the 2011 Seattle to Spokane. Fresh (?) from the 2011 Paris-Brest-Paris, Randonneur Bob Brudvik will be attempting his third 508 this year; Chris Ragsdale is on Bob’s crew. Lap Lai from the Vancouver (WA) Bicycle Club will also be competing this year.
And to emphasize this point, here’s an excerpt from an email I received from Tammy DeRoche of Sammamish, WA after the original post:
“As an endurance cycling fan I wish them all good luck to but the person I’m cheering on is Seattle area’s Jim Ryan (Sammamish). Although he was (originally) omitted from this article, this will be Jim’s 7th FC 508 (his fourth solo event) and he is one of the toughest riders around. This year he has competed in the Ring of Fire 24 hour challenge in Oregon and was a team participant/finisher in 2011 Race Across America (RAAM)–personally riding over 900 miles in that event. Past Paris-Brest-Paris finisher (2007), past National 24 Hr Challenge rider (Michigan), winner of the 2007 Texas Time Trials 24-hour event, etc. One of the nicest, hardest working, funniest riders out there but perhaps the most underrated and undervalued, too–never gets any press but he doesn’t care about any of that–he rides for the best reason of all–because he loves to do it. Wishing best of luck and a safe race to Jimbo…hoping HE has a great race this year!”
As Brian makes final preparations for the big day he relayed this message:
“Final prep and training have gone very well and I am very optimistic for a good ride. The crew–Paul, Bish, and David (not the author of this blog)–are set and ready for a great ride too. So much of a successful race depends on having a great crew, and my crew is as good as they get.
My prediction is that the winning time will be sub 29hr and such is the specific goal I have for this year. Ultimately it is always most important to me to race a good race, limit the mistakes, and put 100% in. If that happens then simply crossing the finish line is enough reward.”
In addition to following Brian, Bob, Jim and Lap via the 508 web site, you can track Brian via a SPOT beacon in his support vehicle which should update every 10 minutes once the race is underway.
Here’s wishing Brian, Bob, Jim, Lap and their crews a great race next weekend!