These are high altitude races, with lots of climbing, in the scenic foothills of the Eastern Sierra Nevada. The course is mainly run on 4 wheel drive dirt roads, with a couple of sections of single-track trail, and very short sections of pavement. There are very few trees, thus the race is exposed, often hot, usually dry, sometimes rocky, and mostly high! Much of the 100k and 50 mile courses are above 7000’ in altitude. These races are the perfect training opportunity for upcoming mountain trail ultra distance events.
The weather can range from cold to hot, dry to snowing, breezy to very windy. We have experienced all weather types, but usually we can expect fine, sunny weather, with afternoon breezes and high temps for the second half of the day. Temperatures usually range from high 40’s at the start to 90’s in the late afternoon, and then cooling in the evening.
Our aid stations are at 3 – 7 mile intervals, and are famous for variety of food and drinks available, not just “standard race fare”, particularly as the race progresses. We aim to continue the fine tradition established by former race director Marie Boyd in this realm. Additionally, we will have medical kits at each station, with foot care and the usual supplies including anti chafe and sunscreen. Consistent with recent trends, pain relief meds will not be offered or dispensed. There are usually nurses and EMTs at aid stations, especially the stations later in the course, with a Search and Rescue unit available as well – but let’s hope we don’t need that. Runners are tracked by our local Ham Radio club, with radio contact at the finish line.
At the finish line, we have a wonderful post-race meal with an assortment of hot snacks, cold drinks and and lots of “munchies” and real food as well.
Overall winners each receive a prize, and finishers receive a custom medallion made by Francis Cholewa and Tom Meyers, and we have 30 custom coffee mugs, also by Francis and Tom, for sale for $30.00 each, first come, first served, reservations accepted.
This incarnation of the Bishop Ultras is offered as a benefit to the Eastern Sierra Youth Outdoor Program, a free five day outdoor climbing and backpacking camp for Eastern Sierra youth, as well as Inyo County Search and Rescue. All net proceeds will be donated to these two organizations. The race is operated by the Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association, ESIA.org
Regarding the 100k distance and Western States: This race IS NOT currently a Western States qualifier as it has been in past years. However, we have been told by WSER that if we get 100 finishers in the 100k distance that it would again be a qualifier.
Note: the 50k didn’t get longer, we are just coming clean that it’s a tad long for 50k. Thus we now call it a ‘55k’.
Location: Millpond Recreation Area, Bishop, CA
Date: Saturday, May 22, 2021
Events: 6k, 20 Mile, 55K, 50 Mile & 100K
Start Times: 20 Mile 5:30 AM
50K 5:30 AM
50 Mile 5:30 AM
100K 5:30 AM
The 6k starts at 7am
RACE CHECK-IN & BIB PICKUP:
Friday, May 21, 2021, 2 pm – 4:45 PM
224 North Main Street, Bishop, CA 93514
Phone: (760) 873-7520 and at Millpond County Park from 5pm – 8pm that same Friday.
Pre race briefing for all distances will be at Millpond County Park at 5:30pm. It is highly recommended to attend the briefing
Emergency check-in is also available at race start Saturday, May 21, 2021, 4:30 AM – 5:00 AM, but don’t expect us to be happy about it!
Millpond Recreation Area
Saw Mill Road, Bishop, CA 93514
Time Limit: There is a 19 hour time limit for all distances
100K at Caltopo | 100K pdf | 100k GPX file | 100k Profile pdf
50 Mile at Caltopo | 50 Mile pdf | 50 Miler GPX file | 50 Mile Profile pdf
50K map at Caltopo | 50k map pdf | 50k gpx | 50k Profile pdf
20 mile map at Caltopo | 20 Mile pdf | 20 mile GPX file | 20 Mile Profile pdf
Drop bags, labelled with runner name, race number and location may be left at designated areas near the Start line on race morning. They will be returned to the Millpond after Aid Stations close. Please plan to return and collect them if you have left the Millpond earlier in the day.
Drop Bag Locations:
1. Buttermilk Road (all races)
2. Edison Loop (100K, 50 Mile, 50K runners)
3. Intake 2 (100K, 50 Mile runners)
4. Tungsten City (100K runners only) – 100K runners who might need lighting before Tungsten City aid station should have a flashlight or headlamp in the Buttermilk Road drop bag.
Crew and Pacer Information
The routes are difficult for crew to access due to the nature of the roads. Crew access is only allowed at Intake 2 (limited parking), Bishop Creek Lodge (very limited parking) and Highway 168. Each of these is adjacent to a busy road. Please observe applicable traffic laws as well as common decency when parking. 100K runners may have a pacer from the Highway 168 Aid Station. This is located at the intersection of Highway 168 and Buttermilk Road, about 10 minutes drive from the Millpond. Pacers may also join their runner at Tungsten City aid station, which has the advantage that the pacer could walk/run out from the start/finish area, thus negating the need for a vehicle.
Aid Station Distances and Cutoff Times
Detailed Aid Station Info – Distance/Cutoffs/Elevation
100K Race – 19 hours (12:00 A.M.)
50 Mile, 50K and 20 Mile Races – will have the same 19 hour time allowance.
The course is five races in one: a 6km really fun run, a 20 mile “fun run”, a 55k, a 50 miler and a 100k. All are described below:
All distances start and finish at Millpond County Park, five miles north of Bishop, California. All distances head through Millpond Campground before heading north then west around the Tungsten Hills, where the first aid station is encountered at mile 4.5. At mile 1.5 we have a quasi aid station but it is really there to make sure everyone makes the turn so we don’t really count it as an aid station. Continuing the description from the first ‘real’ aid station, at mile 4.5, the CDF aid station, the course begins climbing steadily on four wheel drive roads and continues up and around the main north west side of the Tungstens before briefly leveling out as the second aid station is neared at mile 9.8. After passing through the aid station, all distances turn right and again head uphill, towards Basin Mountain, Mount Tom, and the Buttermilk aid station at mile 11. The Buttermilk aid station is the turn around for the twenty mile fun run. (See below for the continuation of the description for the twenty mile course).
All other distances continue uphill on the Buttermilk Road, heading higher into the Eastern Sierra. The route stays on a rough, four wheel drive road and finally heads into a bit of forest as it nears McGee Creek aid station at mile 15. The course continues climbing to the busy Edison aid station at mile 17.4. This is the turn around for 55k racers. (See below for the continuation of the description for the 55k course). 50 milers and 100k runners must now do the famous Edison Loop, named after the various SCE power company’s subtle hydro installations in the area. The course climbs steadily, with the occasional tree for cover, up to the top of the loop and a rustic aid station at mile 20.3 at 9,385’ elevation. Reversing course, the first mile or so down from the course high point is the same as the uphill course, but shortly runners take a right turn and loop back down to the Edison aid station for a second visit. The course now climbs south, over a moraine and heads to well-stocked Intake 2 aid station at mile 26. Caution: the course crosses highway 168 here, where we will have crossing guards. Runners must not stop traffic.
Intake 2 marks the 26 mile point as runners now continue down through Forks Campground then up stream up the south fork of Bishop Creek on an old road, eventually crossing the road to South Lake. A fisherman’s trail is followed to the turn around at Bishop Creek Lodge aid station and mile 29. Reversing course all the way back to Intake 2 runners finally get to enjoy a lengthy downhill. But after Intake 2 it’s back up hill as the route heads back to the Edison Aid Station. Note that this is not quite an out and back as returning runners diverge from the earlier route for a couple of miles as they near the Edison Aid Station. The route now follows the outbound course, steadily downhill, past Mcgee Creek aid and then Buttermilk aid at mile 41. After Junction Aid station is reached for the second time (remember way back at mile 9.8?) the rest of the course is new ground, dropping pleasantly down to Highway 168 AS (mile 46.4) and eventually the Tungsten City AS (mile 48.5).
Here at mile 48.5 50 milers get to head right and finish it off with a pleasant run down sandy roads, through the Millpond Campground and the well appointed finish area.
100k runners, however, must make the famous left at Tungsten City, following a 6 mile (each way) out and back, through the Sage Summit Aid Station (miles 52.1 and 56.7), retrieve a poker chip, or punch your bib depending on what we’re doing this year, so we know you’ve completed the course, and return back through Tungsten City and on to the finish.
Cancellation Policy and Dropping Down
Prior to April 1, 2021 we will offer a refund less 10% of your entry fee. After April 1 but before May 1, 2019: If we have wait listers ready to take your spot you will receive a refund of 75% (less UltraSignup fees), but if there is not a waitlist person you will receive a 50% refund.
After May 1, 2021: No refund will be given.
Registration is non-transferable. Each runner must run with a bib assigned to their name. If we must cancel the event due to natural disaster (forest fire, blizzard, PANDEMIC, etc), we will roll your registration to the following year or offer 75% of your entry fee back.
We will allow you to drop down from your event to a shorter distance. Please note that this does complicate things for the timers and your actual result (place in your category) may not be available immediately after the run if you do change events. No refund is given if you do drop down. Runners may not move up to a longer distance. Awards and place in finisher standings are not given to runners who change distances.