Thursday, September 22, 2011

Furnace Creek, here I come!

Thanks to those of you who found your way here via the Portland Monthly, a must-read magazine for Rose City residents in-the-know. Ramona DeNies, Zach Dundas, and the crew at PM did a very nice job with the short feature on yours truly. My biggest concern in submitting to the interview was coming across as too crazy or arrogant, and I think they presented my quest for the Death Valley Cup in a very kind manner. As for the crazy part, even the finest wordsmith can't do much to justify my often questionable decisions when it comes to the world of endurance sports!

My training for the Furnace Creek 508 bicycle race has been progressing very well. Last Friday, I managed an epic 192-mile training ride that took me from Portland, through Tillamook, Grand Ronde, Sheridan, Amity, St. Paul, Newberg, and back to Portland. It was a great test of my riding fitness and I felt very strong. As strong as I could feel, that is, with an annotated version of bike training that accompanies a Spring and early Summer preparing for a 135-mile footrace through Death Valley.

Do I wish I had another month of training time available? Sure. I think there are precious few times in a person's life when facing a big event where more preparation isn't desired. But sometimes, we have to know when to trust the preparation we have done, and boldly move forward with confidence. It's in that moment of realization ("I've done all I can do") where mental training marches to the front lines and gives us the power to trust in our innate ability to perform, excel, and endure.

A 508-mile bicycle race, synthesized down to its essence, is a fairly simple affair. Begin riding at the starting line and stop when you've reached the finish. But that's a gross oversimplification of the event, the months of training notwithstanding. Each rider's support crew, a dedicated bunch of comrades who support the cyclist's every turn of the cranks, are invaluable to helping us reach our end goal. Over mountain climbs, through desert heat and nighttime cold, fighting brutal winds, suffering sore muscles, and enduring abject fatigue...the constant through it all is a 3-person team in your corner, delivering food, encouragement, and advice by the bucketful. Their contribution to my own race effort cannot and will not be overlooked.

In two weeks, along with Mary Betts, Dan Jensen, and Danny Westergaard, I'll be shooting for a successful completing of the Death Valley Cup. The Badwater Ultramarathon and the Furnace Creek 508 bike race done in the same calendar year. By accepting the challenge, I've already "won." Finishing in Twentynine Palms will simply be the acknowledgment of a goal envisioned, accepted, pursued, and completed.

Whatever your own goal, whether athletic, professional, or personal, my wish for you is as much enjoyment and excitement that I've experienced in the pursuit of the Death Valley Cup.

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