Monday, September 24, 2007

Furnace Creek 508 here we come!!!

I don't know if I have told you all this but my BUTT is very sore from the training for the Furnace Creek 508 bike race which will be on Oct. 6th.
There have been many events which I have trained for in my life but I have to be very honest when I say this bike race takes the cake. What I mean by this is: IT IS NOT EASY FOR ME:):)

You might wonder why I am doing this bike race, I have asked myself this several times over the past few weeks. I have even considered pulling out of the race because I just did not feel confident and all the hours that it takes to train for an event like this.

This bike race has been on my "Dream list" for 8 years now. Not just the bike race but the Death Valley Cup!! What is the Death Valley Cup? This is an award that is given by the race Director of the Badwater 135 mile foot race through Death Valley and the Furnace Creek 508. In order to receive this award you must complete both the Badwater race (which was the end of July) and the 508 bike race, in the same season/year. There have been 2 women who have successfully completed the Death Valley Cup and I know them both. I have more respect than ever for these 2 women. This year there is another women (Linda) who is also going for the DV cup, so when we both cross the finish line we will be the 3rd and 4th women to even complete the DV cup. I can tell you this, I now know why there have only been 2 so far. The time to train for this event is long and hard. My having a full time job, mother of 2..wonderful husband who God love him supports me all the time has suffered due to the training. The bike is not like running. If you want to run you can train by doing many things..To bike, you must bike and to bike it takes a great deal of time to get yourself ready, the bike ready and all the rest that comes with it. To run..I put on my shoes and out the door I go at anytime of the day or night.
Needless to say, the respect I have for endurance bike racers is high on the list. God bless you all!!

These 2 races this year were 9 weeks apart.
Well..truth be told, I have found that 9 weeks is just not that much time to train for such a long event on the bike. To switch over from running to the bike is difficult.
First I needed to recover from Badwater which took 1 week, then it was time to start sitting on the bike seat for many, many hours. The first week was not bad and then coach Cathy showed up at my door:)
I thought my training was going along just fine until went for a few rides with coach Cathy, who time after time left me in the dust!!! is a beautiful sight to watch an experienced biker, especially going down hill. Cathy is out of my sight within a few minutes which is good..then I can go back to holding on for dear life!

1 week to recover, week off due to the Teton races, 1 week off due to sick kids and things that happen in life. This leaves me 6 weeks to train..we have less than 2 weeks until we show up at the starting line..Guess what? I think I can do it!
Who would have ever thought I was going to say that! By the grace of God and by the grace of my amazing family support and coach Cathy I will get to the starting line..sore butt and all.
Last week I think I was able to get close to 350 miles on the bike, today I was able to get about 110 and this was not to hard at all..Funny..when I trained all winter for Ironman AZ the longest ride I did was 4 hours..4 hours just won't cut it for this 508 miles on a bike.

My longest rides have been all night long. One 12 hour and one 16 oh man..I don't even know if I can explain the level of fatigue I have had from the biking. What became clear to me is that I am much better with my feet on the ground. Being on the bike for many hours at a time leaves me so beat up due to having to watch out for cars, pot holes, wind and all the obstacles that seem so much more simple with running.

I have become a strong biker in the last 4 weeks, good but not great..but I think good enough God willing to see the finish line of the 508! My legs will prove that, they are about double the size from the quads and hamstrings..big enough that my PANTS ARE TIGHT!!
My endurance from running has also paid off here. The longer I ride the bike, the stronger I become and this can even make my sore butt smile!

Below is my 508 crew...these 3 amazing people will be my life line and will do their best not to let me get in the van!!

Paul Biron has completed the 508 in 2001 in a time of 35:04 and was 5th place, qualified for RAAM:):)
Paul will be my head crew chief and tell me what to do and when to do it. I am so thankful that I will have him with me on this journey. I have been training in Paul's 508 bike jersey in hopes to draw on his wonderful energy!!! Thank you Paul.

Paul riding in the 2001 Furnace Creek 508

Bill at Badwater 2007. Bill Cook..Mr. Bill, the wonderful Mr. Bill! One of my coaching students and one of my most favorite:) Bill is a Physicians Assistant and works in Cardiac Surgery. His talent is to, "GET IT DONE", for I have seen him get many things done in the short time he has been an Ultra runner and now training for a bike race to! Bill will be such a great help for me when the going gets tough to always remind me to GET GOING...!!! Bill, I cant wait to share this journey with you.

Cathy riding to Mesa Falls. Well...what can we say about this woman???????????????????

Coach Cathy..who showed up to help me with the 508 and is still here helping me. If it were not for Cathy I would have pulled out and left this 8 years dream on the side of the road a few times. It has not been easy for her to deal with me:):) Cathy is such a better biker than I am and it is hard to always be with someone better!!! Ha..well, watch out have taught me well. My mind is in a good place, getting focused on what we need to do to be successful at this 508 miles and it will be because of Cathy not giving up on me and her gentle way to push, push, push!! Next year I will crew for Cathy's 508! brag a bit about this women..she did a 24 hour mountain bike race here in the Tetons on a 1 day notice..she had not been on a mountain bike for over a year let alone a trail, her bike is way too heavy and she did not even have the right lights for her bike..Well...she was 2nd overall behindWORLD Champion Rebecca Rusch..Here is Cathy's story is on her blog Now you know who I am dealing with:) It will so great to do this race and it will be even better to have it over with and off my list!!

We will have lot's of blog updates/live updates along the race course..Pray for us all!


Furnace Creek 508 Website


Anonymous said...

You will do the 508 just fine like you do everything else you set out to do. One step or one peddal stroke at a time. Looks like a good crew you have. Go Lisa Go!!

Anonymous said...

508 miles on a bike? I had no idea you were going to do this. I bet you have a sore bum.
Who is coach Cathy?
Take care of yourself on this bike ride and know that all of us here in NJ will be cheering for you.

Anonymous said...

Lisa I will pray for you guys but no promblem -got in the bag-focus breath pedal!! Ill be watching you georgie

Anonymous said...

bill is the man. your crew for the 508 looks good. you are in good hands not go and kick some butt.

Anna Boldon said...

You will be great, my dear Empress Penguin! Don't we all underestimate the adequacy of our training before such epic events? You recognize the words "trust your work," don't you? (-:

You ARE ready, and you will soon be one of the few female Death Valley Cup holders. I'm looking forward to seeing you!

Team Swift Fox, rider B

Lisa Smith-Batchen said...

Anna!! trust your work, are so right. I have done all the work I have had time for and all that my body has allowed me time for..It is going to be so wonderful to see you and Lisa Bliss and so many other's that I adore.

Someone asked who is coach Cathy..go and check out her blog but it does not tell you what an amazing bike coach, athlete, bike mechanic and so many other qualities she has. Cathy Cramer..all I can say it this: watch out for her next year at the 508!

Have a great day

Anonymous said...

Hi from London.
508 miles on a bike? insane if you ask me but who is asking. if anyone can do this you can.
go for it.

Anonymous said...

You can do this! You have the strength and the determination. Enjoy the experience and focus on the present. You'll do great! I'm rooting for you and sending prayers and good wishes your way.
-Tracy Fawns

Bob Gentile said...

It's time to ZERO in Coach, like u said the work has been done...well as much as you can and sounds like u had some great long training rides...

my butt just hurt reading how long ur butt has been on the bike :-(

Great Crew you have, YOU WILL FINISH!! You are a WINNER, so "Git R Done", It's ur Time!!!!!

Love the new profile pic also!!

Lisa Smith-Batchen said...

Hi Bob!

Thanks for the kind words. Git R Done:)
I was told today that perhaps I should sign my name
Happy Butt in place of Happy Feet:)
Once the 508 is over I think its a good idea.
JFK 50 for you..not a problem,just don't go out to fast.

Anonymous said...

Lisa, don't forget your wonderful advantage of loving the heat! There will be many wonderful miles of riding out there in the desert once you get away from the big city. Try to get in the groove and put it in autopilot.

Just a thought if you get too sore to sit. Back in the early 90's, I saw a young lady pedal standing up the entire way on both of the long passes out of Death Valley to Lone Pine. How she did that I do not know.


Anonymous said...

Hi Lisa!
Hope your day is going well. I can't believe your bike race is coming up so soon! I am (and will be) thinking of you and praying for your safety throughout! I CANNOT imagine how much you have been going through to prepare for that, and as always, you are a true inspiration!!!

Anonymous said...

You have a good crew so I know you are in good hands. We will pray for you and the rest of the athletes.

Anonymous said...

I met Bill Cook out in Death Valley this summer, he will do you some good on your crew. Great man, smart man.
Have a stong race and don't fall off your bike.

Meredith said...

Lisa! You are gonna kick some butt out there! I cannot even bear to sit on a bike for more than 15 minutes. I give you major credit for taking on the Death Valley Cup. You are going to do great out there. h

Lora said...

It's all about making our dreams come true, isn't it??!!

I'm gonna dedicate my 21st mile of the Chicago marathon to you. I usually hit the wall there, so I will think of you and stay tough in order to send out strong vibes to you. My mantra will be "Lisa's Death Valley Cup".

Bring it on home to us!!!!!!

olga said...

You know, sore butt scares the heck out of me! Along with downhill screaming on a bike. So please, be my guest and do 508 miles for all of us sissies. I rather go get lost at Bear...apparently, should have listened to you or read reports earlier, the course reminds me of Plain 100! Oh, well,it is what it is. Shh, it is a big secret too:)
You go, Lisa!

Anonymous said...

Go Lisa...have a super bike race! I enjoyed reading your blog about how different bike training is from running. Your efforts will definitely pay off in the 508, but your spirit will get you through to the finish! I'll be thinking about you...out there in the desert (at least for the start). I know it will be another exciting adventure for you!

Love ya,

Anonymous said...


Best of luck in the Furnace Creek 508. God has blessed you with incredible drive and determination – you’re going to be awesome! I’ll be thinking of you!

Ed Kelly

Anonymous said...

Hi Lisa

Here are some good links for you to check out.

Make sure you have the big gears for the climbs a double with compact will not due it and your butt will hurt worse.
Ride smart

Greg Pressler said...

Good things come to those who are patient...and focus...and are driven...and walk (run/ride) with humilty.

You have all of these qualities in abundance. So, by my (very fuzzy logic), you're ready!

Soak up the 508 experience and smile knowing that a DV Cup finish is within your grasp.

Rubber side down, shiny side up. And may the tailwinds be plentiful.


Anonymous said...


I ran MDS with you in 1999...if you do only a fraction as well in the 508 that you were able to do at MDS you will be kicking some serious derrier (sp?). I just hope your but doesn't look like your shoulders did with all the rub marks of your backpack as I remember!HA! NO LUCK NEEDED YOU WILL GET IT DONE BY HARD WORK AND GREAT PREPARATION! The Best To You Mike Arnspiger, Miami, FLA.

Anonymous said...

I am envious of your bike ride and I can't wait to hear how it goes though. If there is some relationship between the number of people that insist that you're insane and the sastifaction of enduring absurd undertakings then this bike ride has to be high on the chart.
Good luck on your ride. You will not realize, until years from now, how much your adventures will enrich your children. It is not until,unexpectedly, you'll find a story or paper they have written that reflects something you thought had long past or unnoticed and you realize that they were watching and they knew you were different and maybe even special.
I believe part of your job as a parent is to create more stories!
Looks like your doing something right.

Dusty said...

Hey Lisa,

You're going to do awesome at the 508!!! It will be great to cross this one off your life list, eh?

I'll keep you in my thoughts on the 6th!


Anonymous said...


I’ll be thinking of you and following your progress during the Furnace Creek 508.

Here’s my report from Akron. Started off faster and stronger than I wanted. Was shooting for a 10 min pace for the first 5 miles but ran about 9:30. For the next 15 followed instructions and did a 9/1. Course had more hills than I expected – most of them were gradual so I ran them. Walked a few steeper ones. Longest uphill was about 3 miles. I just tried to keep my heart rate steady which meant slowing down on the hills. At mile 20 I picked it up. From mile 20 on NO ONE passed me. I passed many (There was a 5-person rely division and none of those passed me either.) I was in a good rhythm throughout. Kicked butt on the downhills. My best time since I started running again was in Cleveland in May. I did a 4:28:16 there. (My PR is 3:27:00.) Yesterday I finished at 4:03:54! I was estatic – 25 min off my previous best and this was supposed to be a “training run.” I knew it was going to be more than a training run when at mile 15 I was on a 9:24 pace. I just felt good.

Today I have no soreness. COULD (but won’t) go for a run. Will walk with Gail for 30-45 min. This is the best I have EVER felt after a marathon. Your training regiment WORKS AGAIN!

Next Sunday (10/7/07) is the Chicago Marathon. Shoot for under 4:00:00?
Thanks for everything, Lisa! My body and my spirit are definitely in the right place. Compared to my training for the 2006 MDS I am WAY AHEAD. 12 lbs lighter and in much better condition. It’s exciting!



Anonymous said...

Hi Lisa,
Just got home a few minutes ago. The race went really really well for me. I really didn't even have one bad patch. The worst thing was my buckle fell off my fanny pack and I had to tie it in a knot. The weather was beyond perfect and the big saver for the day in my mind was the compression shorts. Not one issue all day with my legs. Got some blisters on my toes and almost fell at mile 45. I totally understand the jump rope and ab workouts now. I must have tripped on roots 20 or so times. My abs were starting to get a little sore. Miles 12.5 to 35 were the best for me. I felt really strong most of the day. My time was 10:23. Unfortunately I have to drive to NC Tuesday and won't be back until late Wed. Thanks for all your help Lisa. Two weeks ago I didn't think I had a chance in the world to finish this. Once again THANK YOU!!! Wayne

Anonymous said...

Hi Lisa, just want to wish you the best of luck on your bike race! I really admire your
courage! Wish I had it! LOL It'll soon be time for the bazaar at Villa Walsh. This will be my
4th year (I missed one 2 yrs ago, my son got married)! It's so nice seeing the Sisters. I hope
to get to see Sr. MaryBeth & the Mother General. Stay well & Godspeed! Best wishes, Ralph

Anonymous said...

HI! Good luck with the Death Cup!! You will do it -you will just have a sore butt..Nina

Anonymous said...

Hey Lisa, Just wanted to wish you luck at Furnace Creek 508 this coming weekend.

Mara and I did our long back to back rides this past Friday/ Saturday. We rode down to PA for 135 mile and then back the next day for 110 miles. I was thinking about you all day Saturday wondering how you can ride 500 miles with no long breaks and no drafting. OUCH!

I see that you are going to be riding through the Mojave Desert. We are going to be riding the same road when we do the Sin City Challenge in November. Palm Springs to Baker, NV. then on to LV the next day. I heard they have the biggest thermometer in the world.

I will be following your progress on the website. It is definitely going to be hard. Press on and know that we are all thinking and praying for you.


leigh said...

you can do it Lisa! i believe in you! just keep visualizing your finish and your place in history. i will be watching. enjoy that cheeseburger! Love Leigh

Anonymous said...

You are in my prayers for a safe and successful race.
Go and get that Cup!!!

Anonymous said...

Lisa, if you think your butt is sore from that training, just think of how sore you're gonna make the butts of everybody you're ridin' against, not to mention the course, as you kick 'em! Pack some extra tubes, a few bike parts, and your running shoes. As hard as things get on the bike, I suppose you've always got the option to just hop off and trot the rest of the way, right?

I don't know about you, but every day as I ride the 3 miles over to school, the mental calculus of whether to stay on the bike or ditch the thing and head off on foot kinda goes like this: 1. Am I going faster on the bike than I can run? (probably not). 2. Am I riding faster than I can walk? (probably--I'm actually worse at walking than biking). 3. Is the remaining distance something that I would prefer to run? (generally, but other factors like clothing choices, available time, or a need to transport more gear than just one's body often rule). 4. If running the rest of the way isn't a fantastic idea for some reason, would walking be better? (almost never). 5. Did I pack my lock so that my bike will be there later? (hopefully). Is there more coffee in my backpack or at my final destination? (basic survival calculation). 6. Once I've reached an acceptable distance to either walk or run the rest of the way, will it actually be easier to just ride the rest of the way? (grudgingly yes, usually). 7. How many downhills are left? (more = more likely to keep riding). 8. How many uphills are left? (hopefully fewer than the downhills). How ridiculous would I look running along wearing a helmet and whatever shoes I decided to wear that day and is that better than continuing to ride? (almost always a tossup). 9. Am I saving enough time by staying on the bike so that I can run a few more miles without the clothing and other restraints that come with riding a bike? (Yeah, why else would I do it?). 10. When I woke up that morning did I tell myself I would ride the bike to where I'm going, thereby guaranteeing that no matter how much I don't like it, I'll do it anyway? (unfortunately, yes).

3 miles of flat pavement in a temperate region is a little less challenging than 508 miles through mountains and deserts without stoplights where you can put your foot down and take some pressure off your butt. However, in the event that you start dreaming of your bike disappearing so that you can just run the rest of the way, I thought it might be helpful for you to see how I go about making that decision. So far I've been able to keep myself on two wheels rather than two feet. Best of luck this weekend--I suppose you've run across Death Valley enough times now to be able to make an informed choice as to whether to ride or run.

In all seriousness, you're going to have a fantastic ride! I'll be cheering for you from afar! Good luck!!!


Anonymous said...

Good luck with you bike race........GO LISA GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!