Death Ride returning to Sierra this summer

Record Courier Report

The 40th Anniversary Death Ride – Tour of the California Alps, originally scheduled for the summer of 2020, is returning to Markleeville on July 17. As many as 2,500 cyclists from across the country will attempt the endurance event covering over 103 miles, six highly categorized climbs, and over 14,000 feet of vertical climbing in just one day.

Originally coined the “Markleeville Alpine Challenge” in 1978, the ride has been recognized as one of the most challenging endurance events steeped in cycling history, according to the Alpine County Chamber of Commerce. Based in the Sierra, the annual ride has threaded its way through several different routes over the years. This year organizers are unveiling the newest route featuring 8,314-foot Monitor Pass, 8,730-foot Ebbetts Pass and the 8,050-foot Pacific Grade.

Bringing the Death Ride back to its roots, this year’s event is led by original director of the Death Ride, Bike the West Founder Curtis Fong. Fong has a 28-year reputation of producing bicycling events at Lake Tahoe. He served as a director of the race from 1984 to 1995.

“The Death Ride has always had a special place in my heart,” said Fong, “Having helped start and build it in its early years, and now with the opportunity to once again direct this awesome ride, I feel I have come full circle.”

Producing a fully supported ride that is well received by cyclists and good for the community takes a group effort.

“This year’s ride is the culmination of over 18 months of hard work on behalf of our partners,” said Alpine County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Becky DeForest. “We’d like to thank Alpine County, California Highway Patrol, California Department of Transportation, Bike the West, and the many service organizations and volunteers who help make this event happen.”

The Death Ride is a fundraiser for the Alpine County Chamber of Commerce and several community organizations. The official Platinum level sponsors of the 2021 event are ATAQ Fuel, Bear Valley Resort, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Alpine County, and Bike the West.

The will be road closures in Alpine and Mono counties from 5 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 17. Highway 89 over Monitor Pass from Markleeville to the junction of Highway 395 in Coleville will be closed from 5 a.m. to noon, and Highway 4 over Ebbetts Pass from Markleeville to the eastern end of Lake Alpine will be closed from 5 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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