WELL, we don’t call the Tour of the California Alps the Deathride for nuffin’. Snow, hail, rain…We’ve seen all of that over the past forty-one editions. ‘Twas the heat though that we experienced for this one, the 42nd running, or riding, if you will. It was hot, hot, hot. Note to Steve at Half-Fast: I had planned to post this up last weekend my friend but WordPress crashed and the week was too busy. Apologies. 😬
THE thermometer was in the mid-90’s and hit 107 in the shade of the pop-ups, and 130-150 degrees on the pavement at the Expo. At least that’s what my trusty infrared thermometer indicated. Riders reported similar temperatures on the course later in the day, and as those of us who’ve been out on the road on a hot day know, add about 20 degrees (or more) to the ambient air temperature due to the heat reflected off the road.
THE above images were taken at our warehouse at the Alpine County Early Learning Center. Sorting food, cleaning coolers and checking equipment were just some of the tasks that team tackled.
YOU can perhaps get a sense of the heat, and the vibe, from the featured image of this post. That was taken late morning of the day of the ride. Our photog asked me to grab a few things from my booth and pose for a pic. Bullhorn – I used that to direct the riders coming into the Expo, and for a few other things, too. 😉 You may have noticed the radio around my neck. That I had so I could have direct communication with the radio van, whose crew had direct contact to the motos, ham operators and others out on the course. As the Ride Director, among other things I had the final call regarding medical transports. Thankfully I was third in line though, behind the first responders out on the course, and the medical staff at the Expo., including a doctor (see pic of Dr. G below), nurse practitioners and nurses. Thankfully my radio didn’t chirp at all other than to remind me to call in, and later cancel, the road closures to Caltrans.
MANY of these things were aspects of the ride that I hadn’t known existed. As a rider, or exhibitor, in years past, I never saw too much of what took place behind the scenes. Let’s just say this year was an eye-opener. The things that go into making this ride a success are many: Helicopters on stand-by, ambulances staged throughout the course, motos and permits…First responders on OHVs, food to be ordered and prepped, porta-potties to be delivered, merchandise to be sorted, registration to be set-up, and on and on it goes.
SPEAKING of radio comms and first responders…Even with the hellish heat there were no medical transports (at least to the hospital that is). We did have one rider suffering from heat exhaustion transported to TRP (Turtle Rock Park – where the Expo. and start/finish is located). I myself was on the verge of heat exhaustion at one point.
I had the distinct honor (and loads of fun) stamping the rider’s last stamp on their bib number as they came into the Expo after their ride. I was having so much fun that I didn’t realize I was beginning to feel the effects of the heat myself. As riders came in I would greet them, stamp their bib, and if they finished all six (6) climbs, pass on their number to a member of the team who would record it. Doing this in the hot sun for approximately four (4) hours took it’s toll and if it wasn’t for my neighbors telling me to grab some pine I myself might have been the target of a transport. Funny, I posted signage all around the Expo. about what to look for regarding heat exhaustion and heat stroke but I didn’t pay attention to my own warning. In the end it all worked out okay. No transport or medical attention needed, but it did take me a few days to recover.
THAT’S Dr. Katie G., “our doc.” (and a triathlete) getting a workout in while the riders were still out on the course. She and her team were incredible and we were so thankful to have them on hand.
ICE cream was/is a big perk that we offer at the Deathride. Yet another “engineering endeavor.”
That huge Ryder trailer was used for ice (both regular and dry). Dry ice, as you may not know, is colder than regular ice and it was that stuff that we put in the coolers to keep the ice cream from melting. Regular back & forths to the truck kept the ice cream hander-outters well stocked, and the cries of “Fxxk yeah!” after I pointed those very hot riders to that deliciousness were heard for hours.
OUR obsession this year was the continued RESURGENCE, and MODERNIZATION was our mantra.
SCANNING stations were a new addition, and we jettisoned paper waivers, too. Riders rec’d codes and thanks to Enmotive all the registration team had to do was scan the code, scan the bib number, print the emergency contact info and apply it to the bib number and bam. While I know this is par for the course for some rides, here in Alpine County we move a bit slowly. 🙂
KITS were drop shipped, too, and Finishers were sent an email with a link so they could order their jersey once the got home. That meant shorter lines and happier riders (and staff).
FOOD was another focus. In addition to BBQ and Indian tacos on Friday at the Expo., we brought back the Friday night spaghetti feed, and it was a lip-smacking, noodle-sucking success. On Saturday, for the rider’s dinner, we had some amazing smoked meat and chicken, and vegan/vegetarian options too. And cookies and brownies as big as your head!
SPEAKING of baked…The Deathriders, even though most were fully-baked, were so very appreciative of everything and everyone, especially the volunteers. The community comes out in full-force; of the approximately 200 or so folks involved in the ride, fewer than ten (10) were paid. There is a sense of pride that pervades the entire endeavor and it’s these incredible individuals that really make the Deathride what it is. Huge thanks to any of you who might have been part of that crew.
SOME stats and a couple of videos to wrap things up…
ABOUT 1300 registrants, 1034 check-ins and 595 FINISHERS. Incredible effort, riders!
IT’S ironic: Mrs. California Alps Cycling and I moved here in 2016 because of the Deathride but I never thought I’d have the privilege of heading up such an astounding and iconic ride.
IT was an honor and I’m oh so thankful.
BE sure to check out the Deathride Facebook page for lots more photos, many from the riders themselves.
NOW it’s on to 2024. Yup, we’re already in the planning stages.