Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Stage 3 - Trona to Furnace Creek (Rebirth)

The five thousand foot dark-of-night plunge into Death Valley cannot be accurately described. After what I had just been through, the experience pumped life giving adrenaline into my system.

I was using a high power HID light that lit up the road like it was day. Racing down the highway at full speed we blew by rider after rider on the descent; Rob calculated that we hit 55mph. By the time we sped out onto Emigrant Wash, the grade eased slightly and the temperature had risen noticeably. In my biggest gear, I jammed the pedals down all the way past Stovepipe Wells.

From there Highway 190 is slightly downhill across Mesquite Flat and past the Devil’s Cornfield. In the light of day the clumps of arrow weed look like stalks of corn ready for a demon’s harvest. In the pale blue HID lighting, the eerie mounds danced with their own shadows along the road of my rebirth.

Just a quick little hop up to the North Highway and we turned south towards Furnace Creek. After fighting headwinds all day, that turn in the heart of Death Valley was the turning of fate for my 508. I thought about the last time that I was on the North Highway. The previous October I had spent some time suffering on this road. On that night I had felt the full weight of the Funeral Mountains watching me from the east. But this time, I had already done my suffering.

I pumped up my cadence and raced the rest of the way to Time Station 3. The certainty of finishing my 508 had returned.

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