Cows add treachery to Death Ride course |

Cows add treachery to Death Ride course

Rob Bhatt

Never mind 15,000 feet of vertical climb or the 146-mile length of the course.

It was the cows crossing the highway that created the most treacherous obstacles for at least three cyclists in the 17th annual Death Ride “Tour of the California Alps” on Saturday in Alpine County.

A woman riding near Monitor Pass about two hours into the event reportedly came across the cows crossing State Route 89, said Death Ride Coordinator Tim Rowe. She was unable to stop before skidding into the side of a cow and tumbling over the heifer, according to initial reports. Two other male cyclists stopped as they came upon the fallen cyclist when a bull reportedly rushed at them.

One of the men suffered cuts and scrapes when he was knocked to the ground. The bull then tripped over one of the fallen bicycles and fell on the other man, causing rib injuries that required treatment at the Carson Valley Medical Center emergency room in Gardnerville.

The female did not need immediate medical attention.

The names of the injured cyclists could not be verified on Sunday.

Early reports from race organizers indicated the cows escaped significant injury.

The bovine-caused mishaps notwithstanding, Rowe said this year’s event was one of the best Death Rides ever.

About 2,600 riders participated in this year’s event, with more than 1,000 completing the circuit over five mountain passes.

The ride began at Turtle Rock State Park, with participants riding over Monitor Pass toward Topaz Lake before turning around to make a second pass over Monitor. Riders then drove through the Carson Valley and up Kingsbury Grade before returning through Markleeville and climbing Luther Pass and, finally, Carson Pass.

Riders began at 5:30 a.m. The first one to complete the ride was an Oakland, Calif., man who crossed the finish line at 2 p.m.

The event was organized by the Alta Alpina Cycling Club of Carson City in conjunction with the Alpine County Chamber of Commerce and relied on the help of about 600 volunteers to staff rest and water stops. The Tahoe Amateur Radio Association, meanwhile, provided and staffed ham radios to coordinate event communication.


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