This event features the "traditional course" for this event, a fabulous out-and-back course in the south end of Death Valley with limited traffic and only two stop signs to slow you down. Death Valley National Park is one of the most beautiful and by far the most unique of any park in the national park system. The actual interior of Death Valley, contrary to popular belief, is not flat but rather a combination of flat and noticeable rollies (nothing over 2% and 150' of gain). However, don't be fooled. Some stretches look downhill, yet your legs quickly tell you it's a mirage. And of course there are the big climbs on the south end of the park, but more on that later. There is a total elevation gain of 8800 feet for the double route.
Death Valley is about contrasts: Contrasts in elevation, temperature and colors. In the wintertime it is possible for temperatures to drop below freezing. The summer daytime temperature can rise above 130 degrees. (But never in March or October!) The color contrasts are what really make Death Valley unique. The colors are at their best early in the morning and again before sunset. Death Valley is one of the most mineral-rich places on earth. With every blink of the eye, the colors in the Valley change. This is because with every blink the sun's angle changes causing colors to change their shade, new colors to come alive, and others to fade away.
The Death Valley Century is a 105-mile ride from Furnace Creek to Jubilee Pass and back, with a total elevation gain for approximately 4300 feet. Century riders who don't feel like riding the entire distance can turn around at any point. On any other out and back ride, one can pretty much guess what the return trip will be like. Not Death Valley! Here the MAGIC of the Valley becomes apparent. While the physical aspect of the return route may be known (climbs, descents, and winds) the spiritual aspect isn't. The steep mountain walls, huge alluvial fans, and the lakebed all take on a different appearance on your way back to Furnace Creek.
Century Checkpoint Locations: 17.7mi (Badwater), 45.4mi (Ashford Mill), 59.6mi (Ashford Mill), and 87.7mi (Badwater).