Death Ride returns this weekend for 43rd event

Riders are shown during previous editions of the annual Death Ride cycling event in and around the Markleeville area. The 2024 event begins early Saturday, with highway closures scheduled throughout the region.

Riders are shown during previous editions of the annual Death Ride cycling event in and around the Markleeville area. The 2024 event begins early Saturday, with highway closures scheduled throughout the region.

The 43rd annual Death Ride is back in 2024, once again beginning ­and ending in Markleeville, Calif., as riders tackle a 103-mile endurance ride on Saturday.

Just like in years past, the course will begin and end at Turtle Rock Park in Markleeville. However, parking around the park will be limited.

Competitors should expect to have a “warm-up ride” to the park from Markleeville or Woodfords. Parking can be found alongside Highway 89.

The official ride, first attempted in 1978, starts at 5 a.m. and ends at 6:30 p.m; all participants must be off the course by 6:30 p.m.

It’s not just 103 miles that riders have to conquer, but also 14,000 feet of elevation gain over the one-day event.

Based in the Sierra, participants will weave their way through six categorized climbs, which include both sides of Monitor Pass, both sides of Ebbetts Pass and both sides of the Pacific Grade.

The final climb will be the second ascent and descent of Ebbetts.

Highway 89 and Highway 4 close at 5 a.m. on the day of the race. Monitor Pass (Highway 89) will re-open for vehicles around noon while the Ebbetts Pass section (Highway 4) re-opens at 4 p.m.

Almost the entirety of the course is closed to vehicle traffic.

“I enjoy the challenge of completing all of the passes. Second, and perhaps most importantly, I enjoy the spectacular scenery,” said Terry Nathan, a 68-year-old competitor, who has finished the event 11 times.

All told, there will be nine rest stops at various points over the 103-mile course, which include both quick stops as well as full stops that have restrooms, food, tech support and medical support along with food and water.

Participants who complete all of the climbs and return to the finish line within the event time frame can purchase a Death Ride Tour of the California Alps finisher’s jersey.

The event serves as a fundraiser for the Alpine County Chamber of Commerce.


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