Rider Experiences

We would love to hear about your Tour of the California Alps – Death Ride® experience, please email it to: info@deathride.com.

It seems that family and noncycling friends are curious as to why someone, me in particular, would bother to even wonder about riding this crazy thing called the Death Ride.

– Blair Romer
Read why Blair conquered the Tour of the California Alps – Death Ride® here.

0092015 Highlight Video by Incredible Journey Video Productions

I want to thank you all for such a wonderful day. This was my first Death Ride and I completed all 5 passes! I have been participating in endurance events (mostly running) for over 35 years plus and everything was perfection.  Your volunteers, packet pick up,  aid stations, finish area hospitality, etc. were all first rate.  This is a first class event that provides enough challenges for every single rider. Thanks again for a great day!

-Suzie Lister

Thank you for this epic event. First time for me (my wife had done it three times). What an experience. The best-organized event I have participated in. Great volunteers and plenty aids stations. The course is tough but awesome and scenic. Extra bonus was seeing a golden eagle at the foot of Ebbetts Pass by the river. Riding it on the ElliptiGO instead of my road bike was an extra challenge but really enjoyed it. Completed the whole course back to Turtle Rock park in under 10 hrs. There were 14 ElliptiGOs in the event and most likely more next year. Thank you for this great experience. See you next year.

-Rick Bienias

The best part of the ride? Apart from discovering what I can do when I put my mind to it? Apart from the most spectacular scenery on the planet? The spectators! The people of Markleeville who all come out to cheer!!

– Nitin Karkhanis
Read more of Nitin’s experience here.

I wanted to take a moment to share my experience of the 2014 Death Ride®! First, definitely, a fantastic event that lived up to everything I was told by various riders I’ve met over the year! Everyone said the ride wasn’t just epic in terms of beauty, but that everyone involved was super nice, friendly and supportive! That is definitely true! I felt like a rockstar riding through Markleeville and during all climbs. So, thank you for not only meeting those expectations but exceeding them!

Second, your event helped me set a record ride! I competed in the ride on an ElliptiGO (only 4 this year) and am the first female finisher of all five passes! Not only that, I’m the only person to complete the Death Ride® in flip flops. I thought I would share this unique experience with you:

– Keri Cleeremans

I barely managed to finish the Death Ride® – one of the most popular mountain rides. I started the ride at 4:45am when it was still dark. The first pass was Monitor Pass. Not very steep but relentless climbing up to 8,096 feet. I made it down hitting speeds of 45MPH. A couple of cyclists fell down on the descent and were attended to by ambulances. Next pass – Ebbetts Pass. This one was completely different – much steeper and the sun was in full force. Made it to the top by 12:30 and was pretty much spent. Sped down the other side and started the climb almost immediately as I did not want to waste any time plus descending was quite relaxing. This is where I hit the wall. Stopping in the shade to cool down multiple times but somehow managed to struggle back to the top. Let me pause here to say that we probably passed though the most spectacular scenery on the planet, 1,000-year pines and redwoods with trunks as wide as a car, giving shade to the cyclists from the brutal sun. I made the second last time check 15 mins before closing and then the last one. I thought I was done when I was told that there were 11 more miles to the top of the last pass. My training had not prepared me for doing this sort of a ride in this kind of heat. Next, 11 miles was pure torture – cramping all the way, completely de-hydrated, feeling lightheaded whenever I stopped. Finally a mile left till the peak. A support personnel said, “It is right there” pointing to a switchback. He said “You have it in you!” I wondered, “Do I?” That last couple of hundred feet of climbing to the top could very well have been a climb to the top of Everest. I did go on and finish the last pass (Carson Pass). At the top, I said out aloud, “That nearly killed me.” To that a little volunteer’s girl said, “But it didn’t.”

– Sanjay Jaiman

Congratulations on another well run tour. Kudos to all the volunteers from registration to post tour meal. I really like the ” personal touch” of the sandwich making, (just like “back in the day”) and hundreds of chairs were a Godsend at the lunch stop. Ice at Woodfords is a blessing from the cycling Gods, keep that up. And please thank the Sierra Nevada truck driver and crew for staying late; the first tour in 9 years that I was able to taste their pouring. My first Death Ride® was 1987 and I have ridden it the last 10 years, every year. I don’t remember seeing the Ebbetts Girls every year, but I know it was really a highlight feature. They gave us a boost when we needed it most. I don’t have a clue who they are, how they are contracted, and if you have any options in getting them to return. But, trust me, they are a HUGE favorite.

– Anonymous 2014

One of the volunteers Jeanne Niemer, took some photos on Monitor Pass of our 2014 riders. Click here to see if she caught you in action.

“I finished my first Death Ride® last weekend and loved every minute of the experience. I just wanted to say thanks for such an outstanding event. I’ve loved riding for years, long days, long climbs, and above all riding in the Sierra are my absolute favorite things on the bike, and the Death Ride® was the perfect big goal for me to train for this year. I wrote up an account of my ride during the drive back to the Bay Area. Thanks again, and hope to see you out there again next year!”

– Kate
Read Kate’s 2014 Death Ride experience here.

Check out Greg LeMond’s website. It’s full of great photos of what our beautiful area has to offer.

“The Death Ride is challenging in every respect, most noted for the scenery which just kept me on a high even though my energy was gone near the end. While I only could manage 4 of the 5 hills, I still had a wonderful time meeting many who supported the ride. I will be back in 2014 better educated in how to win that elusive pin and jersey. Support from the CHP was greatly appreciated with the road closures. Your SAG guys are second to none. Rest areas along the climbs were a big plus for me. Lastly, the food was fantastic!!”

– Gregg

“Thanks for such a great, well run event. I rode the DR in 1999 and was wondering if I still had the legs to do 5 passes (I did!) But I can say the quality of the event, which was already outstanding in 1999, is even better today. Each rest stop had its own unique flavor and fun personality. The logistics were to my eye carried off with military precision, and the volunteers throughout the ride were fantastic. Thanks for your efforts and see you next year.”

– Herb

014“The Death Ride was the most physically challenging thing I have done in my life. Since I signed up in December 2012, I have been preparing for this ride. Most of my free time has been spent logging miles and climbing hills until my legs feel like Jello. But all that certainly paid off. The ride went wonderfully for me! I rode strong and steady at my own pace. I knew I would not be the best rider out there, but I passed quite a few riders, which made me feel confident that I was a strong enough athlete. “Just keep pedaling,” I told myself over and over. Twelve hours later, I had completed the Death Ride for the first time and was eating ice cream on the top of Carson Pass! The sense of accomplishment I felt was extremely satisfying!! The day was great! Plus, the scenery was beautiful, and the support the volunteers provided was exceptional! Kudos to everyone who made this ride possible for us cyclists!”

– Megan Brinkmeyer

“It’s July, and I’m finally riding in the Death Ride®, cycling over mountain summits higher than 8,000 feet,
through forests and fields, past waterfalls and creeks. Spinning in my bike’s lowest gear, I’m climbing the mountain better than I had expected. I’m preparing for this ride, I knew faster riders would pass me throughout the day, but I hadn’t considered that I would pass so many riders myself. Thousands of adventurous endurance riders stretch along the roads behind and in front of me on this 129 mile route.”

-Steve Patchin
Read the Rest of Steven’s Adventure here

“I got on my first road bike at age 47 one and a half years ago. I couldn’t pedal over a speed bump much less ride more than 10 miles. I made a decision to get better, then made a commitment to myself to do the Death Ride®. Needless to say family and friends thought me nuts. I trained as hard as I could for 6 months. I rode over 2,000 miles and climbed over 150,000 feet in preparation. I became a true cyclist! I came to the Death Ride® pretty scared! But the people were great! The volunteers awesome, the rest stops awesome! The support from the locals awesome! I completed all 5 passes and I have never been so happy to climb that last stretch over Carson and see those tents! See you next year!”

– Janell

“After completing my first Tour of the California Alps – Death Ride® I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. 10 years later, I’m back in 2012 to try it again. With 3 Team Chain Gang members by my side, I plan to complete all 5 passes again! Team Chain Gang is a cycling team I formed to help raise awareness for MS. I lost my eyesight and the ability to walk unassisted for a few years but for me it was all about the bike. My bike gave me the strength and confidence to learn to live my life with a new purpose. Look for me… my jersey says “Ask Me Why I Ride.” Go Team Chain Gang! It’s all about the journey… never give up!”

– Lisa

“Second year doing the Tour of the California Alps -Death Ride®. This year clipped 45 minutes off my total spinning time on the bike. I love the climbs, the support, the scenery, but oh, those sweeping high speed turns on the descents. What a GREAT event! Thanks Tour of the California Alps – Death Ride®!”

– Robert Cisneros

” Thank You for an EPIC ride! Loved seeing all the motorcycle SAG drivers everywhere! The best organized ride and plenty of rest stops. The weather was incredible and I am so glad there was no hail going up Carson this year!”

– Karen Johnson

“This rookie Tour of the California Alps – Death Ride® participant just wanted to say thanks to all the staff and volunteers who made this event what it was. One of the main reasons I was able to finish all 5 passes was because of how well taken care of I was along the way… especially by the rest stop volunteers! I never thought I’d be so excited about stickers, signing a finishers’ board and receiving a finishers’ pin… but I was. Thank you!”

– Kelli Badillo

“Tour of the California Alps – Death Ride 2011 is in the books and I emerged victorious in the rubber match. It was a spectacular day in the CA Alps, never saw a wisp of a cloud all day, and the only wind worth mentioning was the headwinds up the final 12 mile climb to Carson Pass. My total rolling time was 11:29, 7 minutes slower than last year. But hey, I am a year older.”
– Les McElhaney “2 miles from the top of Carson I had the tread blow out on my rear tire. I tried to wrap the inside with a $20, only made it another half mile. Really considered starting the long walk, when another rider stopped and offered up his spare folding tire. My hero! Tire worked and I made it up. I will definitely pay it forward.”

– Adam Black

“I would rename this ride the “Joy Ride.” Thank you to everybody (volunteers, photographers, boy scouts, blue man,… all of you) who helped put this together. Absolutely loved all 5 climbs. The views resemble what heaven must look like.”

– Victoria Montanez

“Slowly but surely, mind over fatigue and pain, the pedals kept turning. It was at this point when I began to remind myself of why I was riding. It was for my supporters who had donated to TWFK to cheer me on, for the many underprivileged kids would have the dream gift of a new bike under the tree at Christmas this year if I finished and for the individuals who had come to cheer us on. There was nowhere to go but up.”

– Leah
Read More of Leah’s Experience