Highways To Hell

Highways To Hell, Dimity McDowell,
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

Read about the 2000 race
Check the status on this year’s racers

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