I was born and raised in So. Lake Tahoe and have completed 5 Death Rides. It is an awesome experience!. Although it has turned into a lottery, it is still one of the best supported rides out there. The rest stop / feed zones are great!. The ice cream on Carson pass (all you can eat) is the icing on the cake. If you camp or stay at a motel (book early) you are very close to the start. You can stay up at the Lake or in Gardnerville, Carson area and still get there on time if you are already packed and ready to go the night before. You will want to get there early, parking is limited and to get in line to register. Don't forget the camera and sunblock!.
I've started about 13 times and finished 10 times. For the past 8 years I've always camped at markleeville and started from there in the morning. I'm not very fast so I start at 4:30am with the required lights. I usually spend a week camping there to get used to the altitude and enjoy easy rides to the Grover Hot Springs State Park with nice pool.