Rocket Scientist: Eugene Chu, Mark Dragovan, Ray Garcia, Wayne Harvey, Paul Herrera, Chris Lindensmith, Karen McBride, Thierry Michel, Ron Morgan, Jay Nadeau, Julianne Romero and Mark Ryne
Support Crew: Eileen Clark, Ross Clark, Sam Dolinar, Lloyd French, Randy Hammock, Ray Jurgens, Mike Keesey, Feiming Morgan, Joan Schlaifer and Steve Schlaifer
JPL team logo designed by Ross Clark.
Ray Garcia handing off to Eugene Chu at Leg 4 after crossing the Spring Mountains (from 1999 race).
A team consisting of members of the JPL Running, Bicycle and Amateur Radio clubs participated in the 2001 Mojave 250+ Mile Death Race. This race is a 285 mile team event that features a combined race for runners, road and mountain cyclists in the Eastern Mojave Desert in California and Nevada. It is run relay style in 21 legs over surfaces ranging from paved roads to desert trails. Each twelve person team must contend with running and cycling legs between 6 and 42 miles in length, with most members competing in two legs. This year's race was held on June 9/10, 2001 and was run in a counter clockwise direction (significantly harder than last years clockwise course).
This is the fourth consecutive year JPL has entered the race. Our "Rocket Scientists" finished the race in 24:52:23 (that's hours:minutes:seconds). They placed FIRST in the corporate division and took seventh place overall out of twenty four teams. The JPL team, managed by team captain Mark Ryne, was comprised of twelve competitors, ten support personnel, nine bicycles, nine motor vehicles, lots of amateur radio and GPS equipment.
Our teams each ran 105 miles, cycled 180 miles and drove about 3000 miles back and forth across the desert with 24,000 ft of elevation gain and loss. After over 24 hours we were dehydrated, exhausted, dirty and hungry. And it seemed like the most fun we had ever had...
But the race is more than just running and cycling. You have to know when and where to drop off and pick up the twelve competitors and their bicycles. You have to carry enough food, water and spare tires, and find gas, refreshments and bathrooms along the way. You have to contend with heat in the afternoon, cold in the evening and wind for the whole day. You cross six mountain ranges, three dry lake beds, washed out desert tracts, a Joshua tree forest and even a field of volcanic cinder cones. There are also are trains, cows, balky equipment, and of course, the other teams. All this and you have to control your teams when it is spread out over 150 miles of empty desert.
The race is organized by the Orange County Marshals Department, and teams are typically from law enforcement, the military and large corporations. Entrants included the L. A. County Fire Fighters, L. A. County Sheriffs and the U. S. Marines. Some of the more unusual teams included the Dead Geckos, the Endorphinaddicts, Buns and Weenies, and the Desert Sharks (lawyers). The race organizers provide a common radio command center, an ambulance and rescue helicopter and man the hand off points.
So if you love running up hill in the desert heat on a windy summer afternoon or like cycling down a dark dirt road on a freezing, moonless evening, or take special joy in running the US Marines into the sand or just like zipping around the desert shuttling bicycles between hand off points - you just may be a Death Racer. If you are interested (or crazy enough) in participating as a runner, cyclist, radio operator or support person in next years race please contact Mark Ryne by voice phone or E-mail.
More Pictures (2001)
The Rocket Scientists at the post race party (from 1999 race) -->
Killer Kelbaker Climb Through Granite Pass (from 1999 race)
Updated July 6, 2000|
Web page maintained not frequently enough by Mark Ryne