The Death Ride - Tour of the California Alps started in 1978 when five guys decided to cycle the California Alps in one day, with just the support of friends and family following along in a vehicle. The event quickly grew to worldwide recognition in the cycling community and is sought-after for those looking for a serious challenge. At Strambecco, we consider the event to be a bucket lister and one of the Best Road Cycling Events in California as well as one of the Best Road Cycling Events in the Southwest.
Today, the ride still caters to elite mountain cyclists but also offers a range of challenge levels, from one pass to up to six highly categorized climbs over Monitor Pass, Ebbetts Pass, and the Pacific Grade. The event is not only a sought-after cycling venue; it is the primary fundraiser of the Alpine County Chamber of Commerce and Visitor's Center, whose mission is to promote business prosperity, tourism marketing, and a healthy community for Alpine County and its neighbors. The goal: keep Alpine County's economic vitality alive while providing a world-class destination for cyclists, fishermen, hikers, climbers, skiers, and many more.
Starting and finishing at Turtle Rock Park in Markleeville, Calif., the 103-mile course begins at 5:30 am and covers both sides of three mountain passes: Monitor Pass (Hwy 89), Ebbetts Pass (Hwy 4), and the Pacific Grade (Hwy 4). The full course is not for the faint at heart! The course will be closed to traffic from Markleeville through all climbing sections, with a turnaround point at Lake Alpine, where participants will head back to the finish at Turtle Rock Park. In 2021 the course was updated and can be viewed below - check out the new route tested by Pete Stetina.
Those who complete all climbs and return to the finish line within the 13-hour timeframe may purchase the sought-after Death Ride - Tour of the California Alps Finisher's Jersey. All athletes, their families, and spectators are encouraged to join at the finish line festival for food, photos, and camaraderie, and to visit expo booths and sponsors.
The course route, water, and rest stop locations are subject to change without notice. Road closures will be in effect from 5 am - 4 pm. The 13-hour time limit ends at 6:30 pm, and all riders must be off the course by 7:00 pm. All cut-off times are strictly enforced. Segment cut-off times indicate the latest time a rider will be allowed to begin each segment. Riders attempting to begin a segment after the cut-off time will not be allowed to proceed.