Ultra-endurance mountain biker Tinker Juarez moved one step closer to his goal of competing in the 2006 Race Across America by qualifying for RAAM with a second-place finish at the Furnace Creek 508; a five-hundred eight mile ultra-endurance bicycle race that transverses California's Death Valley every year. This year's edition was won by duathlete Kenny Souza, who switched from the team to solo events at the last moment when his team-mate was hit by a car.
"I've watched (RAAM) several times on TV and never really gave much though about doing it myself," said the 44 year old Mountain Bike Hall Of Fame member before this year. But recognizing it as the ultimate endurance challenge, Juarez has publicly made plans to enter in 2006.
To work his way into ultra-endurance road racing, and since it used the same roads around Southern California he's trained on for many years, Tinker decided to participate in the Aids/Lifecycle 4 ride from San Francisco to LA this June. Even though the event was not a race, anytime you put a number on his bike, it becomes a race to Tinker. After pedaling 585 miles over the 5 days on the Aids ride, Tinker decided that his next challenge would be to do nearly the same distance without stopping.
This year's Furnace Creek 508 boasted the largest number of racers ever to take on the challenge. 150 racers started in Valencia CA and peddled through severe heat and winds that would make a camel look for cover through the Death Valley Desert . Despite the more than 35,000 feet of climbing, Tinker and his team of supporters put in a great time; completing the race in 27:24:07. The result earned Tinker a 2nd place finish and more importantly, a spot on the starting grid for his next, and biggest challenge of all: RAAM.
For more information about the man and his next endurance challenge, visit www.TinkerJuarez.com.