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 about 10,000 feet for the double route, and 9400 feet for the ultra (150-mile) 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.
Ultra Century and Double Century riders will leave Furnace Creek at sunrise and quickly make the first of the day's only four turns by heading towards Badwater, 17 miles down the road. At this point, both the mountains and the salt encrusted lakebed start getting closer to the road and makes for interesting viewing. Enjoy the view! Over your left shoulder are towering peaks with names like Coffin Peak (5503'), and Funeral Peak (6384'), while to your right you will pass the Devils Golf Course and Badwater (-278'). Badwater is the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere. Directly across the Valley from Badwater is Telescope Peak (11,049') and behind Telescope Peak is Mt. Whitney (14,494). Mt. Whitney is the highest point in the 48 contiguous states. Ultra and Double riders will climb Jubilee Pass (1293 feet), then Salsberry Pass (3315 feet), and then descend to the right turn to Shoshone. Here, ultra double riders turn around and retrace their path over the two passes to Furnace Creek, for a total of 150 miles. This will be the end of the line for the Ultra Century riders. Double Century riders will continue north up the Valley to the final turnaround in Stovepipe Wells. Finally, double riders ride back to the Start/Finish in Furnace Creek. Total distance: 196.4 miles.Total elevation gain: 9,000 feet.
Ultra Century and Double Century Checkpoint Locations: 17.7mi (Badwater), 45.4mi (Ashford Mill), 57.6mi (Water Only - on Salsberry Pass), 74.3 (Shoshone), 103.2 (Ashford Mill), 130.9 (Badwater), 148.6 (Furnace Creek), and 171.5 (Stovepipe Wells, for double riders only).
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