Silver State 508: A New Era Dawns

After 27 years of producing and promoting the ultra cycling event commonly known as “The 508,” officially as “Silver State 508,” and formally as “Furnace Creek 508,” race director Chris Kostman has turned over the reigns to Robert and Jo Panzera of CCSD, a San Diego-based cycling event production company that operates events across the USA and in Europe.

All Things New for 2017

Reno, NV – After 27 years of producing and promoting the ultra cycling event commonly known as “The 508,” officially as “Silver State 508,” and formally as “Furnace Creek 508,” race director Chris Kostman has turned over the reigns to Robert and Jo Panzera of CCSD, a San Diego-based cycling event production company that operates events across the USA and in Europe.

Said Kostman, “This race has been near and dear to my heart – and the one constant in my life – since 1984, the year after it was created by my mentor and hero, John Marino, the godfather of ultracycling who also created the Race Across America. I first worked at it when I was 17, I raced it twice at age 18 and 19, worked on a support team a few times, officiated a few times, and then became the race director in 1990 with John’s encouragement. I’ll never forget the sense of pride I felt in having John work for me at that first race as I truly wanted to live up to and exceed his expectations. Twenty-one years later he honored me again by competing in the race, alongside fellow Race Across American founders Lon Haldeman, Michael Shermer, and John Howard in the 2011 edition.

“Now it’s time for me to turn the event over to the caring hands, fresh eyes, and dedicated energy of Robert and Jo, and I know they will do big things with the event and nurture it far beyond what I could even imagine. I encourage everyone who has ever been part of The 508 – as racer, crew, volunteer, or staff – to put their full weight behind The 508 this year and far into the future. This event became great because of everyone who contributed to it over the years and it will become greater still with our team effort. I plan to be there this September – maybe even as a participant! – and I look forward to seeing the race expand and flourish.”

While epic routes, a formidable challenge, a friendly camaraderie amongst the racers, and much more have defined the race from the begin, change has also been a constant: It’s had four names: John Marino Open, RAAM Open West, Furnace Creek 508, and Silver State 508. It’s had four routes: a 102-mile loop ridden seven times in the Hemet, California area; a 552-mile out-and-back route between Tucson and Flagstaff, Arizona; a 508-mile horseshoe-shaped loop across the Mojave Desert featuring Death Valley in the middle 100 miles; and, since 2014, across the northern Nevada Outback on Hwy 50, known as “the loneliest highway in America.”

Multiple improvements are planned for 2017, including the new official start/finish host hotel at the Hilton Garden Inn, which is a lovely hotel, much smaller than the previous venue, and is not a casino. It’s much like the type of hotels The 508 used in the past, on the Southern California route, which will make the whole race experience much more intimate and homey. The Hilton Garden Inn is located at what was mile 4.5 of the race route, so this will eliminate a total of nine miles of urban riding at the start and finish of the race, which will be a nice improvement.

Additionally, a finish line breakfast will be served for all riders and crew members at the conclusion of the race. The race has also shifted to a Friday-Sunday schedule so as to avoid end-of-weekend traffic on Sunday afternoon and evening. Racers and crews can now all be back home by then instead! Finally, Robert and Jo will soon be launching a much improved and updated website at, along with many other enhancements to the race.

No newcomers to The 508, Robert and Jo have been involved with event since 2010: Robert was crew chief for Team Yak, who set a 60+ record in 2010. Jo completed the race with the four-woman Team Pine Martens, with Robert as their crew chief, in 2011. In 2012, Robert and Jo ran the Trona time station. On the Nevada route, Jo crew chiefed for the oh-so-memorable Team Chase-adon in 2015 and then Robert and Jo worked the race in 2016: first running time station one, then officiating the route, and then managing – and vastly improving upon – the finish line operations.

Said Robert, “When we heard that Chris Kostman, Director of The 508, was looking to pass the torch of the event, we were honored and excited to have the opportunity to add to the amazing history of this iconic ultra-endurance race. We look forward to providing the same great competitive race, fun race atmosphere, and racer community for many years to come. With the introduction of the Reno start/finish location in 2014, we see a continuing opportunity to grow the event through reaching more riders by expanding the roster for both the two-person and four-person relay divisions, and encouraging those riders to take on the solo challenge in the future. We are glad to have Chris along with us as a consultant in the foreseeable future to continue The 508 in his spirit, passion, and vision. 2017 is going to be an amazing event. September can’t arrive quickly enough!”

Jo and Rob Panzera


Robert and Jo run CCSD, producing their own tough cycling events like the Dirty Devil and St. Paddy’s Palomar Punishment, the iconic Great Western Bicycle Rally over Memorial Weekend in Paso Robles, a full plate of cycling training camps in San Diego County, multi-day tours held in conjunction with the Spring Classics in Belgium, plus pub-to-pub tours in England, and more. On top of that, they also handle – with absolutely incredibly precision – all the operations for the many 2- to 7-day cycling events promoted by Challenged Athletes Foundation.

The 34th Anniversary Silver State 508 will take place on September 15-17, 2017. Founded by John Marino in 1983 and recognized as “The Toughest 48 hours in Sport,” it is the world’s premier 48-hour ultra cycling race. This 508-mile bicycle race is revered the world over for its epic mountain climbs, stark desert scenery, desolate roads, and its reputation as one of the toughest but most gratifying endurance challenges available, bar none. Solo, two-person relay, and four-person relay divisions are offered. Registration is now open.

For additional information and to interact with fellow 508ers, “like” the official 508 Facebook page and click “Going” or “Interested” on the 2017 FB Event Page.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like
Stromer ST3 'Launch Edition'
Read More

Work Commute 90 Miles? The Stromer ST3 Electric Commuter Handles The Ride Safely and Securely

The secret behind ST3’s power is its newly engineered SYNO Drive II rear hub drive, which packs a punch of 600 W and transfers 44 Nm of torque directly to the road surface. The motor is not only highly efficient, it also captures the energy released during braking in its powerful BQ814 battery with a range up to 93 miles.
Read More

The Maserati of Bicycles (Literally)

Maserati, the Italian luxury car manufactures, have had brief encounters with the cycling industry in the past, but are now increasing their involvement with the sport beginning this year. In the 1970’s they created a few Maserati model bicycles, though traces of those are difficult to find now, and in 2009 they released two different models designed by legendary Italian bike-makers Milani Cycles.
Read More
SDMBA Black Widow Trail Building
Read More

‘Recommended Directional’ Trail Building in San Diego, The Black Widow Trail Project Courtesy San Diego Mountain Bike Association

SDMBA continues its strong alliance with the proud team of City of San Diego rangers at Black Mountain.  Shovels finally hit the ground on the Black Widow Trail on December 1, 2018.  This first work day attracted almost 80 volunteers, many of them first timers! There will be many more work days before this project is complete so check SDMBA channels for updates.
Read More
lance armstrong joe rogan
Read More

Lance Armstrong on the Joe Rogan Podcast

The Joe Rogan Experience features guests such as scientists, writers, professors, world class athletes, comedians, and now Rogan has added Professional Cyclist, Lance Armstrong, to the roster. Released today, Rogan and Armstrong discuss his cycling history and the doping scandal that has defined his career.
Read More
Read More

The 2019 North American Handmade Bicycle Show Award Winners

This year marked the NAHBS’s 15 year anniversary and it was the third time in the show’s history that its was held in Sacramento. The three-day event featured close to 210 exhibitors – from framebuilders to wheels to components and accessories– including a large contingent of international exhibitors hailing from Australia, Canada, England, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Japan, Russia, and Taiwan.
Read More
Read More

Netflix Cycling Movies Worth Watching – Fall 2015 Edition

We find bicycling movies are a great way to slowly dose your friends and family with the spirit of bicyclism. They also serve as a way to keep the mental fire stoked while suffering on an indoor trainer, traveling or letting the guns recover on a Friday night. The line-up changes frequently on Netflix so be sure to check these out before they drop off into obscurity. Enjoy!
Read More
Read More

(Richard Cunningham) Review: Niner RIP 9 RDO | One Model, Two Dedicated Frame Designs Supporting 29 and 27.5 Wheel Sizes

Niner is releasing one RIP 9 RDO model dedicated to 29-inch wheels, and a separate design for 27.5-inch wheels, but also under the same model moniker. This is a divergence from previous strategies seen in the industry, but may set the standard going forward. [email protected]
Read More
Zoic Carbon Bibs
Read More

Zoic Introduces Men’s Carbon Bib Liner | ‘The Most Technical Liners I’ve Yet Come Across’

New for 2019, the ZOIC Men’s Carbon Bib Liner provides ultimate support for long days in the saddle, ideal for enduro racers and bikepackers, The Carbon Bib Liner is engineered to maximize comfort and minimize irritation, from seamless straps up top to the Italian-made 3D stretch foam chamois inside
Read More
(Christoph Bayer) SRAM AXS – 13 good reasons why electronic components on bikes are the future
Read More

(Christoph Bayer) SRAM AXS – 13 Good Reasons Why Electronic Components on Bikes Are the Future | The Slow Death of ‘Buy It For Life’

We see the bike media et. al. falling over themselves to encourage a public dependence on component electronics. And both ebikes and component electronics have an intrinsic designed obsolescence, by virtue of these systems having a limited number of battery cycles. There won’t be ‘vintage’ drivetrains in 20 years as none of the batteries will be usable. I have a birthday coming up, maybe I’m being overly nostalgic to consider this.
Read More