Welcome to Mountain High Cycling’s Joshua Tree Double
Starting in Twentynine Palms, CA, this Double Century offers you a wonderful ride. This JT route is 193.5 miles with 9,100 feet of elevation gain and the most outrageously fun and beautiful descents in the California desert. (If you’re not talking about this one for months after your ride, then you just weren’t paying attention)!. The JT route will lead you to the National Park Entrance, with rest stops before entering and after exiting the Park (about 60 unsupported miles). Please understand that there are not only no rest stops in the Park, but there is no
water nor any opportunity to resupply (i.e., no stores/services of any kind) for almost all of the 60 miles in the Park. Again, the route through the National Park is 60 miles. Okay they do have small buildings with porta-potty toilets, located in some of the parking lots for rock climbers and hikers. However, there is NO WATER in the National Park, except at the exit, 60 miles away! This is why this section is termed “brevet style”. You are literally doing this part of the ride on your own as if you were just riding through the Park as an individual, like your Ride Director and thousands of others have done many times. (Of course you do get mileage credit for the brevet section of this ride.)
The Park entry fee for bicycles, is $10.00 which you will pay as you EXIT the Park at the Cottonwood Visitors Center. Again, this route leads you to the Park to ride through on
your own, unsupported while on Park property which is about 60 miles. After exiting the Park, there is full support all the way to the finish line.
You will need to have both a full 70 oz. Camelbak and at least one water bottle to get you through the Joshua Tree desert. You will also need to carry enough snacks to get you through so we expect you to stock up at the rest stop just before you enter the Park. Since you'll be traveling brevet style in the morning hours, it should be cooler. However it is the desert, which means the air is very dry
. and drinking plenty of water in the morning to avoid dehydration later in the afternoon is extremely important.
The Joshua Tree D.C. Route starts out climbing a 3-4% grade for 5 miles from Hwy 62 (Twentynine Palms Hwy.) to the Park entrance, (left), then continues at 2-3% for 2 more miles where it levels out for a few miles. The suggested route takes you to the magnificent lookout of Keys View (some say that this view is worth the ride all by itself). The Keys View Lookout involves a right turn 10.5 miles from the Park entrance with a 5.5 mile climb averaging 4%, (a little steeper for the last mile or so). Take lots of pictures up there, use the restroom, then fasten your seat belt for some amazing desert descents!. Back down the hill, try to wipe that Wow-that-was-an-AWESOME-descent! grin off your face and turn right onto the main road again. Here the terrain is flat, curvy and fun. 10 miles down the road is your only other turn while in the Park, right (south) towards the Cottonwood exit
35 miles away. From this turn it's approximately 19 miles of mild descent with a spectacular views. Next you will cross the flat desert floor for a few miles, then climb a curvy, stair step back out for about 8 miles (averaging 4%). Your Camelbak is a must along here and please put electrolytes in your water and take e-caps as you ride. I went through a 70 oz Camelbak and a water bottle on my test ride. If you do not have a full Camelbak, and one or two waterbottles, don't even consider riding through the Park. Not only will you be setting yourself up for dehydration in the afternoon, along with cramping, nausea, hot foot, and all the other symptoms of dehydration.
There is very light auto traffic and a bike lane most of the way through the entire Park. Please ride single file in the bike lane. Please stop at the Cottonwood Visitors Center near the Park exit and pay your $10.00 Park fee and get your receipt. There are bathrooms and a water faucet here. About a half mile past the Cottonwood Visitors Center is the official Park exit. Remember this is not a part of the official Joshua Tree Double Century course, however, if you show your receipt,
you will receive credit for your brevet miles, which will add up to enough miles for your double century credit. A scenic downhill awaits you about a half mile past the Cottonwood Visitors Center which will take you eight miles straight down hill, where a Rest Stop will be waiting for you.
Lunch is just 5 miles from this #2 Rest Stop. Please fill up with water, and you will probably want to put some clothes and lights in your drop bag to have them sagged to Rest Stop 6, 7, 8, or the Finish.
Chiraco Summit, spells LUNCH. Please look at the pictures so you will know ahead of time where to look for Lunch. There are bathrooms at the near-by convenience store. I recommend you use them First, before you stop to eat lunch, as tour buses come in and then you could have wait in a long line for the five stalls. I've noticed they like to "shut it down for cleaning" when these tour busses come through (to save water or what??!!), so do this before you stop and eat.
Chiriaco Summit, is an exit off the I-10 freeway, the only civilization out here. Volunteers will be making delicious custom sandwiches. Please look at the pictures on the website, so you'll know what it looks like. By the way, all the rest stops will serve excellent water designed for endurance athletes, Hammer products liquid ionic minerals (very important). (Volunteers take note this is the last gas station until the end of the ride, 100 miles away, plan ahead now!)
Hopping back on the bike, and back on the wide shoulder freeway, you'll next be looking for Eagle Mountain Road exit, in ten miles, leading you to the historic ghost town of Desert Center which is your Strawberry-banana smoothie stop! Custom-made porta-potties (for this event) will be available.
Here you turn north onto Rice Road with no turns for the next 25 miles. Rice Road is a road that stair-steps up with hidden pockets of short dips, making the ride along here more interesting. There is usually no traffic, great smooth pavement, and vast open desert with mountain ranges on both sides. Leave this R.S. with a group of riders, as you'll want to stay together and take trades up front, fending off the usual headwind that may or not be strong. This is when you'll be glad you brought music. The next Rest Stop is only 15 miles, which almost every rider appreciates.
After the water, ice, & mental pick-up stop, mid-way on Rice Rd., the road will begin to curve slightly to the right where you'll alas see the summit from a distance noted by a high radio tower. (It will help you to look at the pictures of your route on web or Joshua Tree Facebook page. The summit on Rice Road is your last turn of J.T. Double, at the only and last stop sign. Your Oasis-in-the-Desert Rest Stop. Volunteer Lynne Billie will be here to serve you banana-strawberry fruit smoothies. This is where I personally would recommend you send your drop bags, Rest Stop 6, and put your lights on here, as the sun will go down fast for a lot of you, before the next rest stop, in 15 miles. Take your warm gear with you from your drop bag, here too. If your're fast, send your drop bag to RS 7, 8 or the Finish.
Heading west with no turns, signals, stops signs or traffic, here,Twentynine Palms Hwy introduces you to another type of open, vast, desert scenery. The long-slopping hills zigzag westward (and homeward) with mountain ranges in the distance on both sides. These hills are not steep, but the 4% grade has false summits, dipping, then stair-stepping up again, for what seems like a long 15 miles. At the summit is your RS 7. Chicken noodle soup is here, and cokes. Please try to start out with a group of riders. Get ready for an awsome long, pay-back down hill!
Settling into night riding, 100 billion stars in our milky way galaxy will be out to add sparkle to your Joshua Tree desert experience. They own this night, but you own this road, and somehow, I think you will get a sense of everything out here kind of resonating with you along the way. It is 23 miles to you last Rest Stop.
Your last stop Rest Stop, #8, is just 11.6 miles from the Finish. You can make it in from here!
You will know you are almost home, when off in the distance, your first welcome sign will be a blinking orange light about a mile out of town. Now you can smile, and start to hum that Chariots of Fire tune as you close in! From that orange light, you have another mile to your Finish. About 1/4 mile from the finish is a signal light, which I hope is green for all of you!
Joshua Tree Double Century is in your history book!! 200 miles! Congratulations! YOU DID IT!!