2004 Furnace Creek 508 Webcast

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Leatherback Turtles

By Steven Barnes

"Leatherback" makes you think of tough. "Turtle" makes you think of slow. Well, when it comes to the Furnace Creek 508 bicycle race, tough applies to Ron Leatherback Turtle Way and Gerd Leatherback Turtle Rosenblatt. But slow definitely does not. Although Gerd Leatherback Turtle has not ridden the FC508 before, his training has put him in great shape for the race.

It does not hurt that Gerd Leatherback Turtle has the lowest gears seen all weekend. Regardless of the road speed up Townes Pass, which is one of his stages, his leg speed will be optimum. Not only does he have a 24x34x48 triple crankset, his cassette is 11x34, operated by an XTR mountain bike rear derailleur.  

Ron Leatherback Turtle is a savvy veteran himself, with four finishes among his six Furnace Creek 508 starts. When asked what the Leatherback Turtles' trick for staying so young might be, he just laughed, saying "we hang around with a bunch of NINETY year olds!"  And he said it so quickly there was nothing turtle-like about it.

Below: the team and crew at the finish line: Gerd is in red and Ron is in yellow.