The 2016 Grand Depart is in the books. See ya in 2017.
Thinking of doing an ITT? Contact us to get gpx/cues.
Wanna stay in the loop for the Caldera or any other of our rides in the Eastern Sierra? Join the Fat Bike Mammoth Google Group.
What is the “Caldera 250/500”?
- It’s a 100% self-supported, multi-day, grassroots bikepacking adventure in the spirit of the Tour Divide. This is NOT a sanctioned or organized event. We simply offer the tools to help riders have a successful adventure and keep track of results for bragging rights.
- We decided it’s about time to show off the majesty of our region to the world. After lots of bike riding, day dreaming, beer drinking, and mapping, we feel the Caldera 250/500 encompasses the rich beauty and geological rarities that the Eastern Sierra offers. The Southern Loop is roughly 256 miles and 31k climbing. The Northern Loop is roughly 317 miles and 38k climbing. The 500 is roughly 480 miles and 65k climbing 🙂
- We have a suggested “Grand Depart” every year, or you can do it as an individual time trial (ITT). The 2017 Grand Depart is TBD
The start/finish is in Mammoth Lakes, CA . There are lots of lodging and camping options available in the area.
How much does it cost?
There is no entry fee. No prizes. No awards. Just bragging rights. This is grassroots.
What are the rules?
- The guiding principles are simple: self-support and equal opportunity.
- Complete the route under only your own power.
- Do it without pre-arranged support from others.
- No caching.
- Don’t break the law.
- Leave no trace.
- Detailed rules: Caldera 250/500 Rules Page
- This type of format is not for everyone. If you want to “tour” this route, ride parts of it, have support, etc – We still encourage you to get out there and ride your bike. You will not be part of this adventure, but please contact us for route info, etc.
How do I register or make sure I get event updates?
- We open registration a couple months before the Grand Depart. You have to register to get specific event updates. If you belong to the Google Group you’ll get general info on all our stuff. But only registered riders will get GPX tracks, cue sheets, and other pertinent route updates for this specific course.
Is the course marked?
- No. Since this is not a sanctioned event, we will never “mark” a course. You should carry a GPS, cue sheet, and maps. Again, gpx tracks and cue sheets are made available to registered riders only.
How are results tabulated?
- All riders with SPOT Trackers (mandatory for all Grand Depart participants) will have their results tabulated. SPOT rentals will be available for the GD if you don’t own one. If you do own one, you’ll have to pay a nominal fee to have your unit registered on the Trackleaders.com website. Live tracking will be up for the GD, so friends and family can follow along. We will also post results here on the website.
Can you describe the route, in a nutshell?
- Here’s a super general description: Start in Mammoth Lakes. Head south through Tom’s Place and down Lower Rock Creek through Round Valley. Climb Horton Creek, sneak around the backside of the Tungsten Hills and ascend into Coyote Flats. Descend to Big Pine, cross into the Northern Inyo Mountains. Traverse into the White Mountains and descend Redding Canyon to Bishop. Head north through the Volcanic Tablelands around Casa Diablo Mountain ,and climb through the Glass Mountains. At this point, the S250 heads back to west to Obsidian Dome and south back to Mammoth, while the 500 continues north- past Mono Lake, into the Bodie Hills, past Bridgeport and up into the Sweetwater Mountains. After reaching the summit of Mt. Patterson at 11,644′, head east towards Walker and south towards Buckeye Hot Springs and Twin Lakes towards Virginia Lakes. Descend to Lee Vining, continue to June Lake and finally back to Mammoth.
Any more resources or advice?
- Read the Caldera 250/500 Rules Page.
- Prepare your body, gear, and mind. This route is no joke.
- Ask questions in the comments of this page.
Check out the Bikepacking.net Caldera 500 Forum Thread
Consider riding these other self-supported events: