Long-distance bicycle races aren't supposed to come down to the wire. After 500 miles of riding, finishers are usually separated by hours, not seconds.
But in the narrowest margin of victory in the history of the Furnace Creek 508, Orange County-based Team Rat Pack won the relay division by three seconds over Bakersfield-based Team Action Sports Sunday.
However, there was no neck-and-neck race to the finish. Rat Pack was awarded the victory when Action Sports received a five-minute penalty for drafting in the final stages of the race.
The Rat Packers, Scott Martinmaas and Cameron Brenneman of Mission Viejo, Bob Mack of Rancho Santa Margarita and Don Miller of Foothill Ranch, had been gaining ground on the leading team and closed to less than three minutes behind with fewer than 30 miles to go. Soon after, Action Sports put a second rider on the course and, helped by the drafting, pulled away.
Action Sports' time adjusted with the penalty was 23 hours 26 minutes 30 seconds. Rat Pack finished in 23:26:27.
Race director Chris Kostman said the violation didn't appear to be a case of cheating. Drafting off teammates is permitted in the Race Across America but not in the Furnace Creek race.
Temperatures on the Furnace Creek route, which began in Valencia and went through Death Valley and the Mojave Desert on the way to the finish in Twentynine Palms, were unseasonably hot, causing a high dropout rate.
Of the 48 solo riders who started, 22 finished. Costa Mesa's Perry Smith, a 1998 finisher, dropped out sometime after the 250-mile mark. Santa Ana's David Warady, who won the 1992 Trans America Footrace, stopped after riding at least 158 miles.
Justin Peschka, a 24-year-old from Chandler, Ariz., won the solo race in 30:06:25, repeating his 1997 title. Cassandra Lowe of Sydney, Australia, won the women's race in 35:02:02.
A team from the Newport Aquatic Center won the senior masters division of the Molokai Hoe outrigger canoe race in Honolulu Sunday.
Considered the world championship for nine-man outriggers, the Molokai Hoe is from Hale O Lono Harbor on Molokai to Duke Kahanamoku Beach in Waikiki.
The Newport Aquatic Center boat finished 28th overall in 6 hours 9 seconds, winning the 45-and-older division. The overall winner, Outrigger Canoe Club of Oahu, finished in 5:13:02.
The paddlers on the Newport boat were: Dennis Campbell, Glenn Whitehurst, Barry Francis, Jirka Batlik, Ray Shipman, Dave Johnson, John Edwards, Mark Buck and Roger Malm.