40th Annual Mount Diablo Challenge
October 1, 2023
The 11.2-mile, individually timed ride climbs 3,249 feet to the summit of Mt. Diablo starting up South Gate Road. Mt. Diablo is one of the highest peaks in the San Francisco Bay Area, with views of the Farallon Islands and the Sierras. The road is closed for safety and more than 800 cyclists will ride to the summit. The ride welcomes all ages, abilities, teams, and bicycle types. It will be a once-a-year opportunity to enjoy riding the mountain without cars. Everyone celebrates after the ride with free BBQ, prizes, awards, and live music. Come participate in this epic ride that provides breathtaking scenery and test your climbing ability.
At the top, there will be food and drink before you descend and ride over to Monte Vista High School and Oak Hill Park to join the post-ride festivities. There you can cheer and perhaps join winners in 16 age categories, including King and Queen of the Mountain, and enjoy a great BBQ, beverages, vendors, and music for a grand celebration!
Preparing for The Challenge
The VSBC has recently restarted scheduled rides. Watch the VSBC ride calendar for rides up Mt. Diablo on weekdays and on weekends. We recommend riding up the mountain on weekdays if at all possible to avoid traffic. If you cannot ride on weekdays, an early morning ride on a weekend day can be nice, especially on an overcast day because many drivers visit the mountain for the view so there will be less traffic. Just remember to stay as far right as safely possible and use the pullouts and special bike turnouts when cars are behind you. When you descend, keep your speed down and stay close to the right because many cars coming uphill pass cyclists on blind curves and may stray across the double yellow line.
Here are some climbing tips to help you improve your technique:
Everyone arrives early to check in for the event at Monte Vista High School located at 3131 Stone Valley Road, Danville, CA. Then cyclists ride over to Athenian School on Mt. Diablo Scenic Blvd. to get ready for their wave. Cyclists are grouped in waves based on the time they think it will take to finish the climb.
The first wave starts at 8:30 am and subsequent waves continue every few minutes. The first waves get to ascend using the whole road. Later waves must stay to the right.
At the top, there is a mini-celebration with food and beverages to replenish after the climb. Then cyclists descend in waves and ride over to Monte Vista High School for a grand celebration with lots of delicious BBQ, drink, music, goodies and awards! Invite the family to join you there for the festivities!
What type of bikes are allowed on the course?
Bike Types: Road bikes (single or tandem), mountain bikes, fixed-gear, unicycles and outdoor Elliptical bikes are allowed. Class 1 e-bikes are also permissible but are not eligible to compete for prizes or awards. E-bikes will start in non-elite waves. Adults with children in a “tow-behind" are also allowed.
How do I create or join a team?
After you register as an individual Road Bike participant, you have the option to create a team of at least 4 riders. Each team can compete against other teams for the best combined time up the mountain. To make a team during your registration, create a team name under the “Event Questions.” Next, indicate whether it is an all-male, an all-female or coed team. A coed team must have a minimum of two males and two females. Then, choose whether your team is in the “Teams/Club” or the “Friends/Family” category. Finally, tell your friends to look for and join your team when they register. You are not required to join a team and welcome to ride as an individual.