Thursday, October 16, 2008

Chris "RAM" Ragsdale Furnace Creek 508 Race Report

Many of us have had the pleasure of riding with Chris Ragsdale on the Sunday Hills of the West Coast ride. Below is a recent race report from Chris that chronicles his experience in the Furnace Creek 508. It also gives some insight as to why his wheel is so hard to hang onto...

"Hello Everyone
Just wanted to touch base and let you know I made it through another race. This past weekend was the Furnace Creek 508 and it was a heck of a race. Some of my personal hero's were there: Michael Seacrest, Michael Emde, and many other riders I respect a lot.

The quick version of the story is, Emde, Mcnulty and I took off hard into the first canyon and put a gap on the rest of the field. I continued to chase but the two of them slowly pulled away. By mile 200 with 10,000 plus feet of climbing I came in at 8 and a half hours. With the two just a few minutes up the road. We climbed Townes pass and descended into Death Valley in daylight, something that has only been done once before by Baloh. I hit the Furnace creek time station at the 252 mile mark in under 12 hours. By that point an ugly storm had descended into Death Valley and I was fighting to keep the bike upright due to strong side winds. Soon thunder and lightning was making this whole thing pretty surreal.

Things started to go downhill a bit. Energy started to run a bit low. I got a flat, had a few minor issues like adjusting lights on helmets and breaking a pair of glasses. Mainly I was just getting plain tired. By the time I hit Shoshone time station, I said I needed to rest a while. So I lay down like 15 min. And then went back at it. Not feeling any better from the rest. I ended up taking another just an hour or more later. This time I was passed by a team and a solo I think. Even after this stop I battled to stay awake. When I hit the Baker Time station, I needed to go down for another rest and I really felt wasted. This time when I got up they said another solo had passed me and I really needed to get up and go for it. I quickly caught one rider but I think at this time I was in 4th. However I continued to lose the fight to stay awake. This time weaving quite a bit and even going off the road once. Right about the time the crew was going to make me lay down again I was passed by Cat Berge, one of the strongest female riders alive. She offered a kind word and a couple no doze. So I took them, dropped back, and did my best to chase her vehicle up the hill. Before long I was feeling quite a bit better and was strategizing when I would make my move. I could see her and Joel Sothern, the 3rd place rider just ahead. I was currently fifth but was plotting to make it 3rd again. I took off up the hill and quickly passed Cat and was tracking down Joel. I just happened to plan it perfectly. I over took him just before summiting the climb and went over the top quickly. Now feeling very energized as the sun began to rise again. It was as if I were starting a new day all fresh again. The legs felt like they could answer any request and the mind was now fully engaged again. I rode hard to the next time station and upon asking for the time splits and placement, they told me that I was in second, and that Mcnulty had DNF'd, and Emde was the only one ahead. This was incredible fuel for the fire, and I rode as hard as possible for the next 6-7 hours, constantly obsessed with being caught by Cat or Joel. Finally I reached the finish in 29:10 for 2nd place. Cat would finish 3rd, like 20 or so minutes later.

I was super pleased with the result, and the amazing crew of Bob Brudvik and Mark Thomas. They were constantly stimulating me with more numbers and goals than I could process and did a great job of keeping my tank full. Thanks to everyone who has supported me this season and for all of your encouragement."

Here is a link to the Pics that Mark took Slideshow - view -

Chris "RAM" Ragsdale

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