Click image for video of 2007 Furnace Creek 2007 Fixed Gear Solo
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THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN DO TO HELP YOURSELF SUCCEED IN THE
508, IS TO SELECT A GREAT CREW. The crew won't win the race for you but they sure can prevent
you from doing your best. Select your crew members wisely. Your crew will be there to comfort you,
motivate you, protect you, feed you, and ultimately bask in your glory as you all cross the finish line
together as a team.
Here are some basic questions and attributes you are looking for in your crew members.
1. Have you ever crewed for someone in an Ultra Cycling or Ultra event?
2. If so what did you learn? Give me an example of something you would do differently? Now give me
an example of something that you would definitely do the same.
3. WHY do you wish to crew for this Ultra event?
4. Have you raced an Ultra yourself? Have you ever raced in a crew supported Ultra event? What value
can you add now as a member of a crew having experienced the other side as a racer?
5. Do you have the ability to be totally committed to the racer? NOTHING MATTERS MORE TO YOU
THAN THE SUCCESS OF THE RACER FINISHING THE 508.
6. Do you possess the ability to identify the pain the rider is in and anticipate what he or she needs to be
7.. Do you possess the ability to make decisions while experiencing sleep deprivation, boredom, hunger,
thirst and general discomfort from climatic conditions.
Planning for a multi-day bicycle race that includes a crew and support vehicle is a very demanding job. I
chose Timmer as my crew chief. I felt that he possessed the qualities that I look for in a crew chief.
Through my many interactions with him over the previous year I began to appreciate his attention to
detail, his straight-up personality and clear concise manner of speaking. I felt that this calmness and
security in his own abilities would be extremely valuable if/when tense situations would arise. I believed
his leadership abilities would help him make decisions even when he was fatigued, sleep deprived and yes
even bored. NO ONE IN THE CREW IS DISPENSABLE BUT I BELIEVE YOUR CREW CHIEF IS
THE GLUE THAT KEEPS YOUR CREW TOGETHER.
NAVIGATOR AND FEEDER
Although all members of the crew will wear many hats it is important that one person be the
go-to-person, the crew chief. Once the crew chief is selected the other two crew members must be the
type of persons who are capable of being crew chiefs themselves but are willing to be a part of a team.
They possess the intelligence and resourcefulness to assist the crew chief in his duties. The additional
crew members should be versed in basic bicycle maintenance, navigation, driving a follow vehicle,
nutrition for the rider and many other things. I chose my girlfriend Brandy (former crew chief of
my RAAM 2007 crew) and Terry, RAAM Race Director. Both of which I am confident, having been
crew chiefs in the past, would be able understand and anticipate the needs of the crew chief and the rider.
What follows is a report that I hope will be informative, entertaining and in the end educational. Just like
last year's report, I hope to have LESSONS LEARNED and maybe this time include the crew's
perspective as well. The first part talks about the logistics and details. Then there is a stage by stage
account of the "toughest 48 hours in sport" the Furnace Creek 508.
For a day by day account of the preparation work leading up to the 508 check out the blog.
Compiling a budget is the next step in the process. The assumption here that you have a general idea how
much it will coast you to do the 508. Allow me to explain. The sport of Ultra Cycling is very expensive.
Yes buying a bike and clothing is expensive but those are just the basic necessities. If you decide to do
supported double centuries or brevets the costs are just travel to the race site and lodging. BUT, if you
venture into the crew supported Ultras the costs begin to sail upwards. Here are just a few of the
considerations associated with crew supported racing.
1. Vehicle Rental- Unless you plan on using the family wagon for your SAG vehicle it makes sense to
just rent one.
A. Wear and Tear- you will be driving a minimum of 508 on the course. Often doubling back
and forth on/off the course. And you will travel to and from the race site. Why put all that wear and tear
on your family vehicle.
A. Pick up and drop off could be inconvenient you need two cars and drivers to pick and drop off the
B. Cost- You are paying per day and you should get the additional insurance.
2. Travel Expenses- CREW and RIDER to and from the race site
3. Lodging- Start Line and Finish Line accommodations for you and your CREW
4. Food- For RIDER and CREW
5. Special Equipment - Safety yellow strobe lights
6. Totem Signs- In the 508 you race under an animal name not a race number
7. Lighting Systems- Night riding is a given once you move away double century