On October 8th and 9th, Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection supporters Sergio Avila and Bruce Gungle, known as Team Coonhound, will set out to ride the Furnace Creek 508 — a brutal, world-renowned ultramarathon cycling event where riders traverse 508 miles of mountains, stark deserts and desolate roads — all within 46 hours!
The race begins in Santa Clarita, California, crosses 10 significant mountain passes, 35,000 feet of elevation change, crosses Death Valley National Park, Mojave National Preserve and historic Route 66 before ending in Twenty Nine Palms, California.
The 508 mile race is divided into eight separate sections. Bruce and Sergio will alternate riding each leg while the person not riding rests in the support vehicle driven by their crew. The Coalition’s own Sean Sullivan and Cory Jones of Sky Island Alliance have volunteered to drive the vehicle and provide needed support throughout the race.
Team Coonhound is raising money to support the Coalition’s programs by asking friends, acquaintances and long time Coalition supporters to make pledges for every mile Team Coonhound completes. Bruce has gotten things off the ground with a 25¢ per mile pledge. If Team Coonhound completes 100 miles in the alloted time of 46 hours, Bruce will make a $25 gift to the Coalition; 200 miles equals a $50 gift; 400 miles equals a $100 gift, and a gift of $127 when they manage to complete the entire 508 miles. You can make a pledge by sending your name, address and pledge amount to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you a report and what your pledge totals after the race. Or you can make a direct contribution of any amount today by clicking the Donate Now button on the left side of your screen. All gifts are tax deductible to the maximum extent allowed by law.
Bruce and Sergio hope to raise $5,000 to support the Coalition’s work.
To learn more about the Furnace Creek 508, you can check out the official race website at www.the508.com. Below is more information on Sergio and Bruce. In addition, Team Coonhound will be phoning Tucson with periodic updates during the race. We will post these updates on the website and send e-mails to those who make pledges or otherwise let us know they wish to be kept up to date during the event. Go Team Coonhound!
Sergio Avila currently works for Sky Islands Alliance on their Friends of the Tumacacori Highlands Wilderness Campaign. Sergio was born in Mexico City and grew up in the Chihuahuan Desert. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Biology, a Master’s degree in Wildlife Management and has numerous wildlife research projects focusing on jaguars, mountain lions, rattlesnakes, sea lions, river otters, sea birds and pygmy-owls.
Sergio has played in organized soccer leagues since he was 7-years-old and was a semi-professional player during his college years. Besides soccer, he enjoys running, hiking and has been a mountain biker for the last 7 years; the Furnace Creek 508 will be his first road bike competition.
Bruce Gungle currently works for the U.S Geological Survey as a hydrologist. Bruce was born in Danvers, Massachusetts and moved to Tucson in 1984. He is a long time conservationist and endurance athlete. In the past several years he has successfully completed the Boston Marathon, Western States Endurance Run (100 miles), Badwater Ultramarathon (135 miles), Tour de Tucson bike ride (109 miles) and just last month summated Mt. Rainier. He spends his free time reading, watching the Red Sox, and lying around with his Black-and-Tan Coonhound, Barkley Jones.