Highways To Hell

On June 17th, fifteen men and two women mounted their bikes in Portland, Oregon, to ride 2,983-mile to Golf Breeze, Florida

| June 22, 2001


Highways To Hell, Dimity McDowell, SportsJones
On June 17th, fifteen men and two women mounted their bikes in Portland, Oregon, to ride 2,983-mile to Golf Breeze, Florida, in a race that stops for nothing--the average competitor sleeps only about an hour and a half per day. Dimitry McDowell, writing on SportsJones, the intelligent sports Web zine, recalls her stint on the crew for last year's eighth-place finisher, Mark Patten. McDowell retraces the path Patten, 40, took last year: 'Mile 1,488; Walsenburg, Colorado; 6th place. Down at 5:10 a.m. and up at 6:20 a.m., Patten has a thick green film coating his tongue and can barely swallow. Lack of sleep--six hours so far in almost five days--has broken down his mouth's lining, impairing its ability to dissolve stomach acid. 'I don't know, guys. This race is brutal,' [Patten tells his crew.]' On top of the $1,000 entry fee, racers spend about $10,000 on their crew and equipment, like jumper cables for broken-down vehicles and bungee cords to keep a racer's head up if their neck muscles fail. Nonetheless, the premise of the race is simple, writes McDowell: Hop on a bike in Oregon and just keep riding till you get to Florida. Think you could do it?
--Sara V. Buckwitz

Links:
Read about the 2000 race
Check the status on this year's racers