38th Annual Mt. Diablo Challenge
In Memory of Joe Shami
We are pleased to announce that the Mt. Diablo Challenge will be held on Sunday, October 3, 2021 and is dedicated to 86-year-young cyclist, Joe Shami (photo right). His love of Mt. Diablo led him to climb it 600 consecutive weeks. It also led to his nickname "The Legend of Mt. Diablo." While we may have lost Joe this year when he was hit by a car while on his bike, he will continue to serve as an inspiration to cyclists for years to come.
October 3, 2021 will be the 38th year that Mt. Diablo State Park will close the road for this epic bicycle climbing event to benefit Save Mt. Diablo and the Mt. Diablo Interpretive Center. 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 it is limited to 1000 cyclists. The ride welcomes all ages, abilities, teams and bicycle types. The first waves ascend without any descending bicycle traffic. It's a once a year opportunity to enjoy riding the mountain without cars. Celebrate after the ride with free BBQ, awards ceremony and music. It’s an epic ride that provides breathtaking scenery while testing your climbing ability.
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.
At the top, there is food and drink that is much needed after that epic climb. Then cyclists descend and ride over to Monte Vista High School to pick up their goodies, and celebrate winners in 16 age categories, including King and Queen of the Mountain. There is great BBQ (included in your entry fee), 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. Check-in opens at 7:30 am. 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 continue every few minutes. The first waves get to ascend using the whole road. Later waves must stay to the right.