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Tour of the California Alps-Death Ride

Competition or Sporting Event

Recognized as one of the key cycling events in the American West, the Death Ride® brings bicyclists, volunteers, and spectators to a secluded region of the renowned Sierra Nevada mountains where community and friendly competition marvel together at a true test of human passion and endurance. Every year cyclists gather at Turtle Rock Park in Alpine County to depart on a two day long Tour of the California Alps. Turtle Rock Park is an area two miles north of Makleeville, a quiet town of 210 residents. Though the Death Ride® is a decades long tradition, first beginning in 1981, Markleeville and the surrounding area have a history all their own.

Markleeville traces its beginnings to the land claim of Jacob Marklee who established a toll bridge across a tributary of the Carson River in 1861 during the height of the silver mining boom at nearby Silver Mountain City. Marklee hoped to prosper from the freight and supplies headed to the mining camps, but was instead killed in a gunfight in 1863, with his killer going free on a plea of self-defense.Cyclists will be traversing the stunning Ebbetts, Monitor, and Carson Passes. Both the Ebbetts and Carson Pass are California Historical Landmarks which intersect with the 2,650 mile long Pacific Crest Trail National Scenic Trail. Monitor Pass connects the basins of West Walker River and Carson River.The highway through the pass was completed in the early 1950s, making it one of the most recent Sierra Nevada passes to be opened by a paved road.

This incredibly challenging course presents itself as both a physical and mental challenge not intended for the inexperienced cycling enthusiast, nor for the feign of heart. The Death Ride® ascends and descends 5 mountain passes covering a total of 129 miles and 16,000 feet of incline. The route takes cyclists through both sides of Monitor Pass (8,314'), both sides of Ebbetts Pass(8,730'), and a final climb up the east side of Carson Pass (8,573'). Approximately 3,500 cyclists participate in the event every year. Cyclists will register, start and finish at Turtle Rock Park. Five pass finishers will receive a five-pass pin and be eligible to purchase an exclusive five-pass finisher jersey.

Though the route itself is intended for experience cyclists, Death Ride® encourages anyone interested in showing support for the event to join their team.

Volunteers provide support along the Death Ride® course, as well as days prior to and after the event. Many riders and non-riders show their support for the event by volunteering for a position. This army, The Skeleton Squad, is a large part of what makes the Death Ride® so successful.

Course Map:


Admission Fee (if any)

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