by Sarah Cooper, Ultracyclist
I don’t recall the first year I first read about The 508, but it was probably 2008 or 2009. I was more of a runner/triathlete at the time, and found the link to the Furnace Creek 508 on the AdventureCorps website as I was reading about the Badwater Ultramarathon.
The idea of doing the 508 grabbed ahold of me. In 2011, I participated in the Fall Death Valley Ultra Century and spent a few hours after the finish talking with Susan von Sosten as she waited for her husband to finish the double century. She made training for the 508 sound completely sane and entirely possible, and I knew that someday I would find a way to do this event. I competed in Ironman triathlons for a few more years until I reached a point where I either needed to spend a significant amount of time and effort to improve my swim and run times, or move on to something different, because I wasn’t going to get any faster doing what I was doing. I thought again about the 508, but the logistics of training and finding crew were overwhelming. I mentally shelved the idea yet again, but then saw the UltraRaceNews story on George Vargas and Rev Endurance Cycling. He helped me make the shift from triathlon to ultracycling in October of 2013. I thought the ban on events in Death Valley National Park was going to derail my dream one more time, but with a change in venue to Reno, Nevada it was back on track.