BikeValleytoSierra is featuring California Alps Cycling to update cyclists about news of the 2023 Deathride and other related happenings in Markleeville, California.
Mark Schwartz, Bike Advocate and Co- Founder of California Alps Cycling
ADVOCACY. It’s THE reason we (Mrs. California Alps and I) founded California Alps Cycling. Not just for cycling and cyclists, or mountain biking and gravelleurs, but for the all of those that are Alpine; or wish to be Alpine, if only for a little while.
SURE, our primary mission is to “spread the gospel of cycling, all types of cycling,” yet it’s also about stewardship of the Sierra; helping to ensure that we, and others, have skin in the game, if you will.
CHAMPIONING for the area has become a passion. One that I’m reminded of everytime I ride a bike, or go fishing, or hunting, or birding.
Caltrans District 10 Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC)
AFTER five (5) meetings we’re getting to know each other better and our relationships are getting stronger. The committee, comprised of members of the public from the eight (8) counties in District 10: Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, Mariposa, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tuolumne, and Caltrans staff, has had productive conversations about rumble strips, how they effect cyclists and potential alternatives.
WE’VE begun exploring bicycle event permits, how they’re handled and the financial impact they have on the mostly non-profit local groups that host these events, including
THERE have been frank conversations about unsafe intersections in Stockton (for pedestrians) and missed stretches of sweeping on some highways within the district. The Caltrans Team has been oh so gracious, and inviting of the criticism.
COMMITTEE Chair, Charles Carroll, has been instrumental, at one point reaching out to me to set up a meeting with leadership and legal, so we can continue exploring the idea of allowing bike and pedestrian (including wheelchair) access to Ebbett’s Pass or Monitor Pass, here in Alpine Co., after the roads are plowed but before they’re open to vehicles.
YOSEMITE does something similar on Tioga Pass most years and I’ve had exchanges with their team to learn more about how they do it.
WE still have a few things to work through/understand: liability, is one example, the possible use of permits, another.
THANK you Caltrans. We’re building bridges, and we’re all being heard.
The Deathride Is In Excellent Hands…Again
YOURS truly moved up here to Markleeville because of the Deathride. Since that fateful day in the fall of 2016 I’ve ridden in it three (3) times, doing all the climbs once. I joined the Alpine County Chamber of Commerce board back in 2019 because of the ride. For those who are not aware, the Chamber owns and operates (with a LOT OF HELP) this one of kind ride.
I’m currently the Board President, and along with my fellow “Boarders” – we all volunteer – and our amazing manager, Meghan, with institutional knowledge (and assurance) provided by our former Executive Director, Becky DeForest, we’ve begun working on this year’s ride. Professionals are the name of the game and so we’ve again inked a deal with Corey Bolton, last year’s Ride Director, to fufill the same role this year! We’re also very excited to have Di Bolton, the other half of the Bolton Team, taking on the role of Logistics and Volunteer Coordinator. We’re blessed to have these two fine individuals (key members of Curtis Fong’s Bike The West Team for many years) as leaders of ours.
MICHAEL Bayer, who’s headed up Alta Alpina Cycling Club’s (AACC) Alta Alpina Challenge for many years, and was part of some of the original AACC Deathride teams, has been instrumental too, and is guiding us on so many levels this year.
SPEAKING of Alta Alpina, the Club is hosting a training series this year. You can register for it when you register for the ride. For a nominal fee you can get some training in with these local experts so be sure to take advantage!
VOLUNTEERS, including our intrepid Kate Harvey, Boy Scouts, and more, help complete the team. Pacific Grade will again be the double-feature this year. We had such great feedback from riders regarding the course last year so it was a no-brainer for the 2023 ride.
Blue, green? Samples of some of the artwork we’re considering for the 2023 Deathride logo.
OVER 600 riders have already registered and we’re grateful. Check out the website for more information.
We Continue to Adopt
HARD to believe it’s been five (5) years of pickin’ but it has. Holy detritus, Batman!
WELL, the work will continue for another five; we’ve just renewed our commitment to toiling on the turnpike. Not much work to be done presently, though, due to so much snow on the highway. Dang.
Coming Soon To Alpine County
THE Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) has received proposals for six (6) projects and we’re looking forward to reviewing them. From wayfinding to “Camping Like a Pro,” we’ve got some good juju focused on our local forests. Check out this recent post for more on the RAC.
MARKLEEVILLE’S water company, known as the Markleeville Water Company (who’d a thunk it?), on which I volunteer on the board, and am our webmaster, is hoping to finally get things flowing on a major project this spring. We’ve been working with the state for some time now on a grant to replace the core of our infrastructure, with new water lines for the town and surrounding residences. Timing is key because after that project, comes another for the town.
HOT Springs Road repaving would be it. The partial redo of one of the two (2) main roads in town, this one on the way to Grover Hot Springs State Park, will give us some buttery pavement on which to walk (and ride) and some wider shoulders to do it on.
SPEAKING of Grover…While the hot springs themselves are doing what they have for thousands of years, the infrastructure that funnels that hot, mineral-rich water into a walled pool, is not. CAMPING is open on a first-come, first-served basis, and will continue to be, including for the Deathride, but the plumbing (among other things) is in need of repair and a start date is unknown at this point. WE continue to communicate with the state, and fingers crossed we’ll come up with a solution soon. BRIDGES? We’ve got bridges. And we’re working on them. Well technically it’s Caltrans and their contractors that are but we’ll reap the rewards. There are approximately five (5) in the county that are on the list, a couple of which have been started, including the bridge just south of town and the one on Highway 4 near Silver Creek. LAST, but definitely not least, is the Arts and Culture initiative. Our former District 1 Supervisor, and Club-Mom, January Riddle, is heading up the effort. Our mentor, and sponsor, Arts and Culture El Dorado, has been instrumental in guiding us and will continue to be our partner. Work has begun on a tentative program to kick things off, and the team is forming its board and getting ready to file that “(c)(3) paperwork” with the state and the Feds. THESE last few years have been a bit of a wild ride here in the heart of the California Alps. HEY, the rest of the world has been experiencing its challenges too. IT’S not just us. It’s all of us. NONETHELESS, while we may still be grieving a bit over what was lost in the Tamamarack Fire, and the ensuing natural disasters that followed, we are NOT WALLOWING. In fact, as you have read, we’re rising! MORE surprises are in store so stay involved and keep visiting, especially this spring and summer. We’ve got a good one (or ones) queued up for you!