“And what glorious landscapes are about me, new plants, new animals, new crystals, and multitudes of new mountains, towering in glorious array along the axis of the range, serene, majestic, snow-laden, sun-drenched, vast domes and ridges shining below them, forests, lakes and meadows in the hollows, the pure blue bell-flower sky brooding them all…”
…..John Muir, “My First Summer in the Sierra,” 1869
2016 Entry Fees:
Until April 23: $134. April 24-May 21: $144. Thereafter, until midnight Wednesday before the event, you may make an online reservation using the Register Now button below and pay $160 at the door. Please read our registration and cancellation policies. Paid entry fee includes post-ride BBQ dinner from Holy Smoke Texas Style BBQ across the street from the host hotel.
** If you’re planning to ride this event and know you can bring along someone to help out, you may email us in advance of signing up and we’ll give you a coupon code to use during registration for an instant 20% off. By helping at the event, the volunteer you bring earns an entry to a future single day event for only $25. If the volunteer is a non-rider then YOU can have the entry. So you get two nice deals: An instant discount for promising to bring a volunteer, and a $25 entry fee for your next event.
2016 event jerseys may be ordered at the event, or by mail no later than June 11th. Click here for the mail-in order form. Delivery in August.
For 2016: La Quinta Inn, 651 N Main Street in Bishop. Call 760-873-6380. Please make sure you tell them you’re with Planet Ultra to receive our discounted group rate of $119 per night (plus taxes), which includes a continental breakfast.
Friday evening from 7pm to 8:30pm and Saturday morning from 4:30am to 5:00am at La Quinta Inn.
How To Get There:
Bishop is on Hwy 395 on the eastern side of the Sierras, 260 miles north of Los Angeles! Click here for a map.
“Mass” start at 5am for riders needing 12-17 hours to finish. All riders expecting to finish in under 12 hours must start at 6am.
Checkpoint Closing Times Strictly Enforced:
Checkpoint opening and closing times, listed on the route sheet, are strictly enforced. Typically, only checkpoints #2 and #3 present a problem for slower riders, as the route is front-loaded with climbing. If you miss either CP #2 or CP #3, you’ll be asked to turn around and ride back to Bishop on Highway 395. No exceptions.
17 hours. The course closes at 10:00pm. Riders who don’t make the time cut-off will be listed as Unofficial Finishers.
Twilight, Sunrise, and Sunset:
Twilight begins 5:03; Twilight ends 20:41. Sunrise is 5:33; Sunset is 20:11.
Lights and Gear Drop:
If you leave your lights at the start, your bag will be waiting for you at the Benton checkpoint. We do, however, encourage you to carry your lights yourself. That way if you need them, you’re guaranteed to have them. If there’s any chance that you’ll be out past sunset, you MUST have both a headlight and a taillight attached to your bicycle, and you MUST wear a reflective ankle band on both legs.
Lunch Bag Drop:
Because we know some folks have special dietary needs (or are very particular about what they want), you may bring THREE lunch-sized brown paper bags (like the ones you took to school in 2nd grade; and absolutely no larger) filled with your special foods. Drop the bags off at the start, and we’ll deliver them to these checkpoints: Crowley Lake, Lee Vining and Sagehen Summit. Please mark your bag(s) with the location where you want it. Bags will be discarded when the checkpoints close. So please make sure you pick up your bag, or don’t care that you won’t get it back.
Routing and Navigation:
Planet Ultra route sheets include lots of information to help riders navigate the course. For example, we tell you if a turn is at a stop sign (SS), traffic light (TL) or T-intersection (T-int). We know that riders prefer course markings; however, many of the towns/cities/counties specifically forbid it. Further, your Planet Ultra staff travels to the event location the day before to make everything happen; so we can’t mark the course in advance. If we have the manpower, we’ll do our best to mark the course (unless it’s forbidden by our permits, otherwise illegal, somewhere that locals would be really upset about it, or the turn is at a place that’s very obvious, like a big green highway sign). Our experience is that riders get lost whether the course is marked or not; and fewer riders get lost when they’re mindful of where they are on the route sheet. Please understand and take responsibility for navigation.
Route Sheets and GPS Files:
Route sheets are available in excel format to registered riders if requested via email between 2 weeks and 5 days before the event. We can’t guarantee that advance route sheets will be 100% accurate. Though not anticipated, last-minute routing changes may be required.
You may also download a map and GPS file from RideWithGPS.com. Please note that advance route sheets and gps files are provided as a courtesy and you use them at your own risk. Planet Ultra doesn’t guarantee accuracy. Please further note the following very important caveats:
Personal SAG Vehicles: Not allowed! If you bring one, you’ll be disqualified from the event without a warning. The definition of a personal SAG is any vehicle (motor or otherwise), anywhere on the route, operated by someone other than Planet Ultra staff, that is providing any type of aid, assistance, or motivation, or taking photographs, or simply out cheering. Please understand that our permits simply don’t allow dozens of extra vehicles on the roads or at the checkpoint locations. Imagine the traffic from all those cars! If you’re bringing someone with you who wants to be out on the course, please have them contact us and join our volunteer staff.
Route Description: A mass start through the city streets of Bishop will quickly head out of town. After a fast, flat warm up through the Owens River region, you’ll head north through the cattle ranches of Round Valley. Climbing up from Round Valley to Crowley Lake, the Old Sherwin Grade ascends through pinion pine and juniper woodlands while following Lower Rock Creek to enter Mono County and the heartland of the Eastern Sierra. After cresting Sherwin Grade, a rider friendly 1800′ climb, you are greeted by the startling views of Mt. Ritter and Mt. Banner, and the serrated ridge of the Minarets in the northern distance. North a few miles further awaits Lake Crowley and the grassy bed of Long Valley. Further north en route to Mammoth Lakes, you pass Hilton and McGee Creeks; the mouths of their canyons filled with huge glacial moraines empty into the valley from the Sierra high country.
Leaving Long Valley, you’ll quickly enter the town of Mammoth Lakes, famous for its world class ski resort. You’ll climb gently, but quickly, around the outskirts of town and head out of town and north via the Mammoth Scenic Drive. After a short climb cresting the 8,041′ summit of Deadman Pass, there’s a short downhill followed by a short easy climb to June Lake. Enjoy magnificent views of June Lake, Carson Peak, and the westward panorama reveals different dimensions with every blink of the eye.
Once you’re back on 395, hang on for a fast 15 miles, passing by June, Gull, Silver, and Grant Lakes as you enter “The Land of Mono”. Ringed by eerie tufa towers, volcanic craters, mountain peaks, and high desert silences, the saline waters of Mono Lake represent a million year old body of water. Mono Lake has no outlet; over the thousands of years of its existence, salts and minerals washed into the lake have become concentrated as waters have evaporated. Though Mono Lake has been called a “dead sea”, it actually abounds with life. No fish live in the lake, but populations of brine shrimp and brine flies adapted to the exceptionally high concentration of salts provide a plentiful food supply for more than seventy species of migratory and nesting birds. The “lunch” checkpoint with Subway sandwiches and all our usual wide variety of drinks and muchies await you at the Mono Lake County Park. At this point, you will have ridden 104 miles and ascended 7,200′.
Leaving Mono Lake, you’ll head south on Hwy 395 to Hwy 120 through the Mono Crater area. Take time to look around as you climb between these craters en route to the high plains at Sage Hen Summit, through red lava canyons into Benton, the Chalfant Valley and back to Bishop. This second half of the ride has only 3,000′ of ascent!
This course has 10,200 feet of elevation gain, more than half of which is between mile 30 and mile 70. As doubles go, it’s not that tough and the views and roads are so incredible, you won’t even notice the climbing that it does have!
Volunteers: We always need volunteers! Click here for info about available positions.