Fire on the mountain in Death Ride 2002 |

Fire on the mountain in Death Ride 2002

Darin Olde, Tribune Sportswriter

A lighting storm, a forest fire, an air show, dehydration and, finally, triumph demarcated the Death Ride 2002.

So did a completion rate among the lowest in recent memory, and a major crash that resulted in a Care Flight to Washoe Medical Center in Reno.

A lightning storm Friday night that had forest personal cringing may have contributed to more than 100 people throwing in the towel before the ride even started Saturday.

Of the 2,700 who registered for the event, only 1,035, or 41 percent, completed all five high Sierra passes in the 129-mile ride, down from 52 percent the year before.

Of those who finished, only 136 , or 13 percent, were female.

Still, event organizers say there were a lot of happy people, especially given the air show and forest fire that began Friday night near Turtle Rock Park.

“No one can remember anything like that happening,” said Jackie Johnson, a Death Ride coordinator. “We were right there center stage.”

Four riders were transported to the hospital, and one individual injured descending the east side of Monitor Pass was was listed in critical condition Sunday night.

No additional information was made available.

“Unfortunately we didn’t have a flawless ride,” Johnson said. But the ride, which gains some 16,000 vertical feet, was equipped with numerous medical stations and a large medical staff that included five ambulances, nurses and emergency medical technicians.

Johnson said the care-flight victim was approached by two physicians who were along for the ride shortly after the incident.

Otherwise, the event provided riders with the a dry and hot course over Monitor, Ebbitts and Carson passes.

Registrants enjoyed a barbecue chicken dinner with salad, and Sierra Nevada beer Saturday night, along with hot showers and massage.

Support Local Journalism

Your support means a better informed community. Donate today.