Extreme cycling contest, the Death Ride, set for today

On Saturday 2,700 extreme cyclists will test their endurance by riding 129 miles and climbing 16,000 vertical feet over five mountain passes, with an optional sixth.

The 19th annual Death Ride: Tour of the California Alps in Alpine County, Calif. begins at 5:30 a.m. and includes both the front and back sides of Monitor Pass (8,314 feet), Ebbett's Pass (8,730 feet) and the east side of Carson Pass (8,580 feet).

Their prize for conquering the beautiful and unforgiving course: rights to sign the Death Ride poster and possession of the coveted Death Ride pin.

This is not a race, but a test of endurance. Just completing the course is considered a phenomenal feat.

Those with a passion for personal pain can take on the optional Pacific Grade climb to Mosquito Lake, which boasts a 24-percent grade.

Riders each pay $55 to the Alpine County Chamber of Commerce and the Alta Alpina Cycle Club, which in turn use the entrance fees and merchandise sales to make charitable donations to groups such as Emergency Medical Services, Search and Rescue, Children's Center, and the Volunteer Fire Departments.

The event has attracted such famous riders as Tour de France Champion Greg LeMond, triathlon star Mike Pigg and the woman's winner of the Race Across America, Elaine Mariolle.

State Route 89 will be closed on Ebbett's Pass from 5:30 a.m. until noon, and State Route 4 will be closed over Ebbett's Pass from 5:30 a.m. until 3 p.m.

For more information call the Alpine Chamber of Commerce (530) 694-2475.


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