Heart of Gold Gravel

Heart of Gold Gravel explores remote roads north and east of Nevada City, California. The course features a mix of pavement, smooth and rough gravel roads, ripping descents and prolonged, steady climbs. You will cross the Yuba River twice, and make your way through historic parks and tiny hamlets like North Bloomfield and Washington. Topping it all off, the course features ribbons of singletrack before making your way back to Nevada City.

The route starts out with an early descent on gravel to the Yuba River.  Once you’ve reached the Yuba River at mile 6.5, you begin your first major ascent as you regain a thousand feet over the next two miles of gravel. Some relief comes in the form of a 5 mile paved section of roadway before giving way to more rugged gravel roads. At mile 15 you’ll begin a mixed terrain approach to historic Malakoff Diggins State Park. Over the next 10 miles you’ll crest the first major summit of the race around 4,000′ before making your way all the way back to the Yuba River at 2,600′, and the town of Washington.  What comes next is a 2,000′ climb on pavement to Highway 20 with some pretty epic views.  Next up is some singletrack as you make your way back to Nevada City with one more Highway 20 crossing.  There are three aid stations along the route.  The total route length 54 miles with an impressive 7,200 feet of elevation gain!

The Heart of Gold Gravel is brought to you by Bike Monkey which produces some of the best gravel and road events throughout California and Nevada.  Bike Monkey not only produces great experiences, but each event gives back to the community where the event takes place.  In the case of the The Heart of Gold,  event proceeds benefit several charitable organizations focused on youth mental wellness.

The event host, Nevada City is recognized as California’s best preserved Gold Rush town.  It’s an exuberant Victorian era city amid rivers & forest. Nestled in a basin on the Western Slope of the Sierra Nevada, it is framed and protected by ridgetops and promontories. At 2,500 feet above sea level, Nevada City is surrounded by forest. Deer Creek flows through and graces the center of town. It was voted by U.S. travel media as “Most Beautiful” and “Best River Town.”

Lake Sanoma MTB

The Lake Sanoma Mountian MTB is back in September 2021 for an extremely fun yet challenging single-track mountain bike contest. The Sanoma MTB is organized by the great Hopper Adventures who put on several epic mountain bike events in California such as The Lost Coast; so rest assured you will be taken care of thoroughly by the race organizers. The course is a wonderful 27-mile loop around the Lake comprised of flow trails, ruggedness, and steep punchy climbs over the entire course compared to one or two substantial climbs. According to Hopper Adventures, there will be full age groups and pro podiums. There are many event categories that are as listed: M/F Pro, U18, 19-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60+. There is a mid-way aid station that will be fully stocked with food and liquid nutrition. There are some great bonuses that Hopper adventures offer such as a great lunch lakeside, beer from Sierra Nevada, cash prizes for the top finishers, finish prizes, and more. The Lake Sanoma MTB race is a visually stunning and physically challenging course that is extremely well organized making it a premier mountain bike event in California and the west coast as a whole.

Big Bear MTB Gran Fondo & Grizzly 100

A truly famous or infamous (depending on the person) race, the Big Bear Mountain Bike Gran Fondo and the Grizzly 100 is a Saturday spectacular of multiple mountain bike race lengths held in the gorgeous area of Big Bear Lake, California. Once two separate mountain bike events, the Grizzly 100 and the MTB Grand Fondo, are now joined into one day of non-stop pedaling. Starting with the route MTB Gran Fondo, which can be categorized as spot climbs with multiple categories allowing for almost every level of rider to enjoy the event and race. There is a 20 kilometer, 30k, 40k, 50k, and 100-kilometer option for the Fondo. The 100k fondo is a ‘rider to recovery’ event aiding veterans recovery which is an extraordinary addition to the Saturday. Then there is the beast of the Grizzly 100 and 75. The Grizzly has gained international recognition as being a spectacular and physically demanding endurance mountain bike race that spans across some of California’s best single track and double track, climbing thousands of meters while all taking place at a hypoxic altitude of up to 8,500 feet! The Grizzly 100 and 75 is the finale race of the National Ultra Endurance Race Series (NUE) in 2021, making it a physically challenging venue to end on and sure to bring some heavy-hitting riders. There are 8 categories in the Grizzly 100/75 that all attribute points to the NUE series. For the 100k and 75k routes, there are single speed categories as well as a masters (50+) age grouping for men and women. Beyond that, for the 100k and 75k routes, respectively, both have a men’s and woman open category. The Grizzly course is absolutely no joke, and the dreaded Radford Climb has been voted as “one of the most dreaded 5 mile climbs in California.” (NUE) There are top of the line aid stations that are more than just fully stocked, great local fans, and amazing participants and volunteers. The Big Bear MTB Grand Fondo and The Grizzly 100/75 is not only one of California’s top mountain bike events, but also one of the top MTB occasions in the United States. Strambecco could not recommend this weekend more; a truly amazing event.

50 Kilometer Fondo

Apologies, the 75k route is not listed on the website.

Grizzly 100

Fish Rock

Fish Rock is a serious event that is billed as a “Road bike race for people who aren’t afraid of a little hardcore gravel”.  The ride is named after the fabled Fish Rock Road in an absolutely stunning region of Northern California.  There’s only one route for Fish Rock.  It’s 72.4 miles and +9,670 feet of elevation gain.  The route starts in Boonville, heading west over the beautiful low-traffic Mountain View Road all the way to the Pacific Ocean.  After turning inland, the route tackles Fish Rock turning to gravel and pitching upwards.  For the next 25 miles you’ll find yourself on very remote challenging up/down gravely terrain.  The event producer, Bike Monkey, recommends you ride a road bike with 28c tires or bigger.  Although the course is mostly road, 14 miles of Fish Rock is time-consuming gravel.  Some riders are more comfortable riding a fast gravel bike with treaded tires.  The course is well supported with 3 official aid stations.  Look for a great post ride celebration hosted by co-sponsor Anderson Valley Brewing.


Emerald Bay Trail Run

Cancelled in 2021 due to the Caldor fire, look for a strong return in 2022.  Listed as “one of the most scenic trail runs” by Competitor Magazine, next September you can run the famous Rubicon Trail at Lake Tahoe in the Emerald Bay Trail Run. Boasting stellar views of Lake Tahoe and the natural beauty of the Emerald Bay State Park, the approximately 7 mile mostly single track course includes moderate climbs and descents starting at Eagle point, around Emerald Bay, up to the Rubicon Trail and finishing at Lester Beach.

The Hammer Road Rally

The Hammer Road Rally is one of California premiere gravel events andis returning in October 2020. What makes the Hammer road rally worth a visit is the beautiful Sierra National Park scenery. Like so many bike events these days, the Hammer Road Rally is bringing 4 routes to accommodate many levels of rider. THe courses range from easy to The Hammer which is a big 10,000 feet of climbing. If you are a big gravel rider or just entering the world of dust, The Hammer Road Rally will have an epic ride for you. If you’re interested in this event, check out The Vegan Cyclist video on it below for some nice insight to what you might be expecting.

Tour of California Alps – Death Ride

What was scheduled to be the 40th Anniversary of The Death Ride was cancelled in 2021 due to the Tamarack Fire.  Look for the return of this iconic cycling event in 2022.  The Death Ride 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 a sought-after event for those looking for a serious challenge.

Today, the ride still caters to the 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: keeping Alpine County’s economic vitality alive while providing a world class destination for cyclists, fishermen, hikers, climbers, skiers, and many more. We thank those who have participated in past year’s Death Rides, and who have contributed to help us keep our mission alive.

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 sections of climbing, with a turnaround point at Lake Alpine where participants will head back to the finish at Turtle Rock Park.

Those who complete all of the climbs and return to the finish line within the 13-hour timeframe may purchase the sought-after Death Ride® – Tour of the California Alps 40th Anniversary Finisher’s Jersey.  All athletes, their families, and spectators are encouraged to join us at the finish line festival for food, photos, comaraderie and to visit our expo booths and sponsors.

View the new route tested by Pete Stetina

The course route, water and rest stop locations are subject to change without notice. Road closures will be in effect from 5am – 4pm. 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 that 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.