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The AdventureCORPS' Fall Death Valley Century was held on October 30th, 2010.  Hannah, Moriah and I did this outstanding ride that featured 108 miles with 4,600 feet of climbing.  The ride began in the heart of Death Valley at the Furnace Creek Ranch, almost 200 feet below sea level.  Virtually all of the climbing occurred between mile 35 and 55, which would have made this century relatively easy, had the headwinds not hammered us on the 54 mile return trip of this out-and-back classic. 

The girls finished the event 8th out of 165 adult cyclists, with a total time of 6 hours and 53 minutes and a cycle time of 6 hours and 26 minutes, giving them an average speed of 16.7 MPH.  Given the headwinds on the 54 mile trek back to Furnace Creek, that speed was exceptional, especially for 11 year old Moriah, who knocked out this ride with relative ease.  The 15,000 feet of climbing they had done two weeks prior in the Death Valley Stage Race certainly added to their strength and speed.

Cycling through the heart of Death Valley was an incredible experience.  The surrounding mountain landscapes and diverse geological formations were mind-blowing, and it is easy to see why Death Valley was established as a National Park in 1933.  Our ride began around 7:30am under a light drizzling rain, which added to the adventure of our ride.  After our bikes, helmets and clothing were sufficiently splattered, the dark cloud cover cleared with remarkable speed, leaving us with crystal clear skies and perfect temperatures for the climb to Scotty's Castle.  With virtually no traffic, the smoothest asphalt we had ever ridden upon, and the sun at our backs lighting up the surreal panorama in front of us, the climb up to Scotty's Castle was exhilarating. 

As usual, the AdventureCORPS' staff was in abundance at every rest stop and the people were all filled with friendly, service-oriented hearts and lots of encouraging words to cheer us on.  While the ride back was challenging with the headwind, the amazing backdrop of every view provided a mental reprieve and before we knew it, we had crossed the finish line.  This 108 mile ride was one of the most enjoyable rides we have ever done.  I highly recommend it to all who are up for the challenge and have an adventurous spirit.  See the awesome photos here.

Richard Swan
Strive Racing