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Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

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Old 10-01-13, 10:35 AM   #1
lhbernhardt
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Furnace Creek 508 - No, 476 - No, 500 - No, Trona 356...

Looks like Furnace Creek won't even reach Furnace Creek, since Death Valley will be "closed" due to the failure of your Congress to pass the budget. Evidently, because Death Valley will be "closed," the 508 will not be able to race thru Death Valley,but will instead have to race an out and back course between Santa Clarita and Trona.

What I want to know is, are there actually gates that keep traffic out of Death Valley? One of the reroutes due to washouts (Furnace Creek to Shoshone) runs thru Death Valley Junction on a major highway, which I would think would still be open. Not only this, but many of the rules regarding following at night and level of reflectorization to me are just downright stupid and unnecessary, but are required by the folks who run Death Valley. (Aside: the Hoodoo 500 does not require follow cars to ALWAYS be with the rider at night.) So with the authorities sitting unpaid at home, what's to keep the race from just going thru Death Valley anyway? Is Kostman worried about support or safety? I'm willing to take the risk.

Not only this, but I was talking with a friend who had ridden over many of the "washed out" sections of Death Valley eariler in September, and he says they are perfectly rideable, you just have to slow down to go over the gravel-covered dips and the places where an inch of borax covers the paved road. And this is on a road bike with 23mm tires and carbon wheels. Hell, I'd even ride over the dirt detour just past Trona, and I'm on a fixie with 23mm tires! He was riding the "closed" sections, and he said it was great, with absolutely no car traffic to contend with!

The last email I received from Adventure Corps REALLY tried to sell us on the 356-mile out and back route! (356 miles is not eve 600 km, so it wouldn't even qualify for a randonneur series!) Most of the reasons were pretty vapid. I'm pretty annoyed that I paid $500 and I won't be able to set the 60+ fixed gear record! Plus I've got a motel reservation in 29 Palms. I wonder if there is a way to link the Trona out-and-back with a route that runs directly from there to 29 Palms? Have they considered ALL the options? Hmmm...

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Old 10-01-13, 12:32 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lhbernhardt View Post
So with the authorities sitting unpaid at home, what's to keep the race from just going thru Death Valley anyway? Is Kostman worried about support or safety? I'm willing to take the risk.
Event organizers try to play nice with the authorities they request cooperation of. Not all of the authorities will be sitting at home.

The purpose of the shutdown is to prevent services from being provided (and irritate people). It sucks but that's the point.

Last edited by njkayaker; 10-01-13 at 02:06 PM.
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Old 10-01-13, 01:41 PM   #3
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Did he _just_ tell you guys? The storms that closed the roads hit in late July, and would have necessitated significant reroutes at that point (couldn't go through Badwater, couldn't go between Trona and Death Valley). There are gates on the roads leading into Death Valley, but I'd assume they'd leave them open because they are state highways that run through the park. The park service pulling a permit for the race seems reasonable though.
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Old 10-01-13, 02:54 PM   #4
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Yeah, I'm sure if they try to go through Death Valley when it's closed during a shutdown, they will have a hard time getting a permit in the future.

By now, it's probably too late for the 508 to back out of any purchases they have to make for the event. It's also far too late to get permits for alternate routes, an event like that takes a long time to arrange.

I say just ride and enjoy it anyway. I'm sure it'll still be plenty hot....
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Old 10-01-13, 04:03 PM   #5
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According to the Death Valley web site, route 190 is open for traffic regardless of shutdown. I don't see why they need a permit and why can't just ride across while the park itself is closed. But park officials are the ultimate authority. If they say no, it's a no. There's still a chance that the Congress will come to its wits and pass the budget in the remaining time.


I don't think it's possible to reroute to 29 Palms from Trona bypassing Death Valley. South of Death Valley there's a big military base where you can't go without a lot of red tape (and there are no paved roads going through the base north to south anyway), and the closest paved road south out of Trona is cycling-unfriendly 395. Even if organizers are willing to have their riders dodging semis for 40+ miles (most of the way from Ridgecrest to Adelanto), they need to pre-ride the remaining route, check for possible hazards, there's not enough time.

If they are going to do bike portage around the closed section of Panamint Valley Road, why not just have shuttles pick up racers on Panamint Valley Road and drop them on the other side of the park, on the 190 past the park boundary? It's 200 miles from Santa Clarita to the closure and 220 miles from the other side of the park to 29 Palms.
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Old 10-01-13, 09:42 PM   #6
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I've done the 508 10 times and I don't remember seeing any gates anywhere. There is a ranger Kiosk a few miles down from the top of Townes Pass but no gates that I know of and there are definitely none anywhere else. I don't know why Kostman can't take the race over the 190 to the 127 and rejoin the route in Shoshone. I thought that was the original plan? Don't know the big deal about a little dirt either. In the early days of the race we had a dirt section out by Kelso. We just rode it. I he's going to truncate the race to 350 miles, I'd ask for a raincheck. It's kind of a waste of time to come all that distance for a shadow of the real race. Sounds like Kostman is scrambling right now. He knows the rules and regs about the park better than we do but it still sucks. Another option would be driving across from Paniment to maybe up by the 95 near Beatty then down to the 127 to gain some mileage back.
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Old 10-02-13, 05:08 PM   #7
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Looks like you're doing a 600k. Better bring your brevet bike. Bummer...
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