As head of quantitative research at Causeway Capital Management, Gary Baierl is familiar with the highs and lows of the stock market. But even the market's wild swings don't compare to the peaks and valleys of the Furnace Creek 508, a 508-mile, non-stop bicycle race through California.
Mr. Baierl and his team of riders, sponsored by Causeway Capital, Santa Monica, Calif., placed second in the team competition, finishing with a time of 26 hours, 46 minutes. The winning team posted a time of 23 hours, 9 minutes. Participants in the race, held Oct. 13-15, had a time limit of 48 hours.
Called the world's toughest 500-mile bike race, the Furnace Creek 508 starts in Valencia and ends in Twenty-nine Palms. The course climbs the 5,000-foot Townes Pass, descends into Death Valley and rolls through the Mojave Desert. In all, the race features 35,000 feet of cumulative climbing and temperatures that range from near 100 degrees in the desert to 40 degrees in the mountains.
For Mr. Baierl, an avid bicyclist who has been racing for five years, this was his second time in the Furnace Creek 508. Last year, he competed solo and finished the race in 41 hours. "This is a different event for me because it's so long and so unique," said Mr. Baierl.
This year, it wasn't quite as grueling because there were four cyclists on the team: Mr. Baierl and three friends who also are avid cyclists. By riding at 25-minute intervals, the four men averaged 19 miles per hour for the duration of the race.
"It's intense," said Mr. Baierl, "because the whole thing is always moving." After finishing their turn, each rider would jump into a van and be taken to the next checkpoint, where he would get ready to ride again.
Mr. Baierl said there isn't much time in between to rest because staying focused on a clean transition is so important. Once he's back on the bike, there are no distractions. "You have to concentrate on the pain just to keep your speed up," he said. "If you lose focus, your speed naturally comes down."
Mr. Baierl draws some parallels between bicycling and managing money. "I take a scientific and methodical approach to investment, and it would mirror the type of approach that I take to competing in a race like this."