Joe DeSena and friends recall a full week of memories,
prepare for grueling race.
He pedaled across the Great Plains.
He pushed himself over the Rocky Mountains under his own
strength. Now, after two weeks of bringing his body to the limit of physical
exhaustion, he will do it all over again.
Joe DeSena’s 3,000 mile bike ride across the country was a
test, his plan to get in shape prior to the Furnace Creek 508, an extreme
bicycle race through the desert.
“I told myself I’d never do it again,” DeSena said,
recalling how he felt after participating in the race last year. “But about two
months ago I turned to my buddies and said ‘I think I want to do it again, I’m
getting out of shape, and to get in shape why don’t we bicycle out to the 508.
By the time we get there we’ll either be in shape or dead.’”
The Furnace Creek 508 runs 500 miles from Santa Clarita to
Twentynine Palms, and it forces riders to endure countless hours in a bicycle
seat without sleep.
While DeSena will be peddling non-stop, he will have a
support team consisting of friends Chet and Bo, who also joined him for the
journey across the country.
“Joe does ultra races,” said Chet, who, as a former racer
himself, is no stranger to two-wheeled mobility.” It’s painful in a different
Joe’s “ultra-racing” is different than the standard races
like the Amgen Tour of California, and it has opened Chet up to a new world of
“I’ve been retired from bike racing for 15 years, and to
keep my focus this has been just excellent, said Chet.” “Now I have a new goal
to do ultra racing.”
And Bo, at 62 years old, confessed to KHTS that he hasn’t
been on a bike in 40 years.
“I wasn’t really in shape to do this trip,” he said. “I
remember one time when we were in the Rocky Mountains
and we were riding to Durango.
You’re fighting with the traffic on your right, and then you’ve got the cliff
on your left…so understand that you can just go off the cliff and then I don’t
see my wife anymore.” As Bo finishes laughing, he admits that was the one day
during the cross country journey where he surrendered to the challenge and let
DeSena ride by himself.
In each of the men’s stories, one common thread emerges; the
human body can do miraculous things when challenged.
That is a message that the city of Santa
Clarita hopes will resonate with local residents,
prompting them to take advantage of the many bike trails in town.
“We love to see cycling enthusiasts out here,” said Jessica
Freude with the City. “We built a network of more than 60 miles of off-street
bike trails and we want folks to get out and enjoy our trails with their
family, so that’s absolutely inline with our lifestyle here and what we hope
people will embrace.”
There is another reason for such motivation though. The
group is riding to help raise funds for “child headed families;” those family
circles in which the parents have died from AIDS. www.aidsorphansrising.com 
describes that up to 50 million of these child headed families will be in
existence by 2010. To learn more about the crisis, and to donate to the cause,
click the site link above.
To hear the full interview with Joe, Chet and Bo, click below.