Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Mother Lode Recon

With the 3rd Annual Gold Rush Gravel Grinder being just a little over a month away, it was time to do a recon of the all new 210 mile Mother Lode course.

I had planned on riding the Mother Lode course this spring, but instead was forced to have my wife and very good nurse, Kristi, chauffeur me around the hills for the day.

For those of you who don't know, I had a snowboard accident Feb. 28th and was life flighted to Denver for surgery.  I continue to recover from a shattered pelvis, DVT, and Pulmonary Embolism.  It's been a long 3 months!  I will hopefully be on my feet and walking by June 6th!

It was a very sunny and pleasurable drive, with lots of scenery and wildlife.  We saw Elk, dozens of deer,  marmots, a coyote, and numerous hawks, eagles and other beautiful birds....while driving through many canyons that followed streams and creeks. It took us 10 hours to drive it, making us curious about how hard it is going to be?!   We mapped out 207.6 miles with 13,000+ ft. of climbing.  It's going to be a challenging ride, but is an extremely beautiful one.  Here are some teaser pics we took of the course.
Good Luck with your preparations for Gold Rush Gravel Grinder!  If you haven't registered yet there is still time to get in and get your Pedal Power ON!  

An Osprey nest just 10 miles into the Gold Rush Course, right before crossing into Wyoming!

 Yield to these guys in Sand Creek Wyoming!

  Lots of Logging happening, watch out for the trucks when riding!

 One of many bridges you will encounter on the Mickelson Trail.

Ditch Creek is a nice smooth descent.

 Still a little snow in the high country at about 6,800ft.

There are many flowing streams and creeks along the Mother Lode course.

 It's not all smooth, fast gravel....

Miles and miles of smiles!

Can you find all the Gold in the Black Hills?

 Sun is settling in, heading down Roughlock Falls Rd.

Mountain Meadows, near Deerfield Lake, Checkpoint #2 at 123miles in..they have beer!

Kristi heading out on the Mickelson portion of the Mother Lode.

 Tunnel Vision...   One of Three Tunnels you will pass through on the 15 miles of Mickelson Trail. 

Checkpoint #3 mile 152, at the Moonshine Gulch Saloon, they have more beer!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

2015 JayP's Backyard Fat Pursuit 200k

Kristi and I went back for another brutiful weekend at JayP's Backyard Fat Pursuit.  This years event was held on Jan. 10th, much earlier than the March 1st date of last year.  We committed and signed up back in November and started preparing for this big ride.  Preparations went awry, as I sustained a serious back injury snowboarding with our daughter Sierra, at Brighton over Thanksgiving.  I had to work hard to just get back on the bike.  Kristi then slipped on some ice mid Dec. and suffered a bad concussion.  Beat up a bit before the New Year!  
Fortunately my back came around enough to get some decent winter rides in, but Kristi was still suffering from bad headaches and the Doctor's orders were to stay off the bike for the next few months.  

On Thursday, we loaded up the bikes and winter gear for the trek over to Island Park, Idaho.  Driving over Togwotee Pass was the highlight of the 8 hour drive to Teton National Park where we stayed the night with our good friend Chance just outside the Park boundary.  I devoured some Crow Peak Brews that I had brought along and washed it down with some excellent elk steaks and pasta that Chance graciously served up.  Thanks to Chance for a great first night of our vacation!
Friday Morning it was up and over Teton Pass and into Victor ID for our first stop at Fitzgerald's Bicycles.  This is a great shop sporting all things bikes and serving up good coffee.  From Victor it was about 1.5hrs of back road driving to Island Park.  We arrived early afternoon and I geared up for a short ride and gear check.  The gear check is required for both the 60k and 200k race.  Jay P did the checks at the time I lined up.  It was interesting to see all the assortments of loaded bikes and packing methods.  

 After the gear check in, and shake down ride, we checked into our condo we shared with some friends from Billings MT.  The lodging and venue of the Ponds Lodge is excellent.  
That night we were treated to a meal and a riders meeting with Jay P. going over some details of the race and what to expect.  Some motivational words were shared by Mike Riemer from headline sponsor Salsa Cycles, and some Thank You's to all the volunteers before riders mingled off nervously for the night.   

It was tough to sleep that night in anticipation of the big ride.  What would the weather do?  Am I bringing the right gear?  How should I layer? The questions were like a washing machine, churning round and round' my mind.  Finally I dozed off and got in a few hours of solid sleep before waking to mild temps in the mid 20's.  I lined up at the start shortly before 7 and was surprised to find myself on the front line as Jay P. had a rider call up from the previous years event.  The race started as Jay P. said it would 7am.
Riders shot off the line like it was an XC race 
and I found myself on the outside line going onto the trail.  My tire found a soft spot on the edge of the groomed and I did a full OTB on a loaded fattie!  Yes I was that guy...  I managed to get out of the way and gather myself as riders slipped by.  Back on the bike it was a line of riders for the first 5 miles with little passing.  The snow was softer than most expected and you had to watch your line or sink in and or fall off.  Riders were letting air out here and there along the trail.  It was dark for the first hour of the race and all the blinking lights were mesmerizing.  The first 30 miles of trail went pretty fast to the first Check Point.  Here we had to light our stoves and boil 8ounces of water.  This is a little test to make sure riders are prepared for what could be a life preserving skill.  It went pretty fast this year due to the warm weather and lack of wind.  After a cup of soup, I filled up on water and hit the trail.  Todd Johnson from Jackson Hole and I pulled into the check point together and left at about the same time. He and I ended up riding pretty close the whole race which was kind of cool since he was stoked, liked to talk and super energentic.
This pic below is Todd on the long South Plateau Trail above West Yellowstone.  This section of trail between Checkpoint One and Two (West Yellowstone) maybe the crux of the ride.
I made it into West Yellowstone about 4pm with plenty of light.  It was interesting to ride the streets of West looking for our checkpoint.  More snowmobile traffic than cars by far.  I spent about an hour in the very nice condo they had provided by a local sponsor.  Grilled cheese and soup warmed me up, and a fire place dried the gear.  After a big Thanks to the volunteers, I was back onto the streets of West just as the sun had set.  

Time to climb up and over the continental divide and crisscross the Idaho/Montana border.  Taking the Two Top Loop trail and Top Loop Trail to the continental divide at night is a challenge, steep climbing, wind and cold are almost guaranteed.  We crossed the divide several times before dropping the Rail Road Trail and meeting up with the oncoming groomer. Todd and I pulled off the trail together with plenty of time to let him pass.  The trail remained soft even in it's pristine condition and would need some time to set up and freeze.  No time to wait ...dropping in!  Man Cave checkpoint #3 (mile 102) awaited our arrival.  

I rolled into Man Cave about 1:30 am and was served up BACON, eggs and sour dough pancakes, my new favorite.  Unfortunately I chilled out way toooo long and took myself out of the race unknowingly.  The longer I sat the better it felt and the guilt washed away with time.  3 hours later it was time to GO!  I left in a stupor and cranked the remaining 23 miles nonchalauntly and dazed.  

I arrived at the the finish line to be greeted by JayP, Mike Riemer and Kristi.  It was great to see them and to finish another Fat Pursuit, 23 hrs. and 45 minutes, almost 10 hours faster than the previous year.  The time improvement was due to much better conditions this year, not so much my conditioning.  
The Salsa Beargrease and my choice of gear once again proved to be an exceptional ride for this event.
The overall energy and participation was much higher this year.  JayP and his staff of volunteers know how throw down, make you feel welcome and part of something bigger than your average Fat Bike Race.  The riders and volunteers are passionate and you feel at home with the Fat Pursuit family. I'm sure this event will fill fast next year.  

Kristi shot a video of the start.  There was almost 50 starters this year, lots more than the 18 starters the previous year.  
Be sure to keep pedaling, keep advocating for Fat Bike access, and sign up for the next Fat Pursuit!  Thanks to the Sponsors, volunteers and JayP for making this memorable event possible.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Pedaling POWder!

Winter is upon us and we are getting snow in the Black Hills! The Fatbike riding is phat, and we are gearing up for a few events that will be taking place both in and out of our homeland.

We are heading out to our second year at JayP's Fat Pursuit, on January 10th!  Kristi was stoked and ready to redeem herself on the short 60k course, but unfortunately she'll have to wait another year.  Two weeks ago she slipped on the ice hitting her head and suffering a concussion. The doctor's orders were No Rides for two to three months.  She may not last that long, but at this point is still having headaches and decided that it would be in her best interest to bow out in this years event.  I, on the other hand am ready to suffer!  I'm hoping to improve on my 34 hour time from last year, and will enjoy the company of a larger field.  This year's (long course, 200k) event was capped at 50 riders and all of the spots have been filled.   Spectators will be able to follow the race on, (link with Fat Pursuit), where they can view each rider in the race and how they are progressing.  I've been busy prepping, getting all the required gear, and am hoping for good race day conditions.  We'll see what Old Man Winter blows in this weekend?
On another note, we are looking forward to hosting the second annual Savoy Winter Challenge, which
includes the 28 Below, a 28 mile fatbike race, and Buzzards Roost, a 6 mile snowshoe race.  This race is the only USFS permitted Fatbike event in the Black Hills, and will be using pristine, groomed snowmobile trail for all 28 miles of riding!  All proceeds (if any), from this year's event, will go toward the South Dakota Snowmobiling Association, to use in the grooming of the trail systems.  We as a fatbike user group, are working towards fostering a relationship with the US Forest Service to allow us access, in riding the groomed trails throughout the season.  At this time fatbike riding on snowmobile trail is in a gray area, but we hope to have the issues resolved in the next year.  You can sign sign up for the races at, and help support permitted riding on the Black Hills snowmobile trails!
Pedal Powder,

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Savoy Winter Challenge

 28 Below Fat Bike Race/Ride/Tour
Spearfish Canyon, Black Hills

With a spring and fall race on the charts, we couldn't help ourselves in putting on our first winter cycling event, a fatbike race we are calling 28 Below for this inaugural year.  The bottom line is, we love to ride.  Spring, Summer, Fall and now Winter, Cycling is a big part of our lives and to put on events is just the tip of the iceberg.  The sport of cycling has moved into winter wonderland and we are excited to be a part of it!  So put down the cross country skiis and snowshoes and invest in a new fatbike!  We promise, You won't regret it!!  Fatbiking is fun, refreshing and will keep you riding all year long!  I bought my first fatbike last year at RMS.  It was a demo Surly Pugsly and I enjoyed putting on mile after mile of smiles.  If you don't think you are ready to "drink that cool-aid" you are truly missing out.  I'm upgrading into the Salsa Beargrease and look forward to putting my skills to the test.  The Pugsly will go to my wife, if she can handle the bitter cold of winter that South Dakota has to offer.
So 28 Below will actually be one of two events going on at our first ever winter event dubbed, The Savoy Winter Challenge.  This Race/Ride/Tour will be a 28 mile loop starting at the Spearfish Canyon Lodge, following snowmobile trail up Roughlock Falls, to Geranium Park, and eventually making its way to the Cement Ridge Fire Lookout.   At the lookout, about 16 miles into the race, we plan on serving up hot chocolate, with a splash of whiskey, and smores for riders who want to stop in for a short 'break'.  The race will end back at the Lodge with food, beer, music and an awards ceremony.  28 below is currently part of the Mountain Fatbike Series, and may be the grand finale of the series (this is still in the works). We are still working on getting the permits in place, so are waiting to announce exact dates, times, and places...but if all goes as planned the race will be taking place on March 22nd, 2014 at Spearfish Canyon Lodge with an approx. 8am start!
 The second event happening will be a snowshoe/ski/run race starting at the Lodge as well.  We realize that not everyone in the area has a fatbike 'yet' and wanted to give people an alternative to riding, in order to participate and enjoy the winter festivities.  The race, Buzzard's Roost, will be an approximate 6 mile loop following trail 76 out of the Lodge, to the rim of the Canyon, across Recovery Ridge above Little Spearfish Canyon, and back down Rimrock trail, to the Lodge.  Depending on the conditions of the day, participants will either snowshoe/ski or run/hike the course. The race will start at approx. 8:30am, a half hour after the fatbike start.  With so many places to host our event we finally decided on the Spearfish Canyon Lodge due to the fact that if conditions are bitter cold, we will have a place to gather before and after the start that is warm,comfortable and serves drinks!  The Lodge is also graciously offering $59 a night rooms (with 2 queen beds/normally $150) for participants that want to stay at the venue!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Laborious Weekend ahead!

12th Annual Dakota Five-0 Race/Ride/Tour is going down this weekend under a full moon and what looks to be excellent weather.  The trail has been groomed by Swiss watch makers and marked by the local Hwy department.  Expect the course to be Fast and Dry.  There are some areas w/ moon dust (silt) and trail snakes (ruts) so heads up riding as usual for MTBing.
Below is some information to help w/ your weekend at this years event.  Ridge Riders are pretty stoked to see all the riders beating down the local Five-0 trail.  Thanks!

Packet Pick-up will be on Saturday Sept. 1st at City Park Pavilion from noon to 6pm.  At this time you will be able to change anything that needs changing .  Make sure you are signed up in the right class and wave!
Race Start- Make sure you start in the Wave you signed up for!!  The start is a neutral rollout until you hit the gravel  road.  Try not to do much passing at this point as everyone is trying to maintain their position here.  The racing should start once you hit the gravel road.  Wave 1 starts at 7:10am. If you are a pro rider or someone who hopes to place in the top 10 please line up on the front of the line at the start.  Other riders PLEASE line up behind them and stay behind them during the rollout!  If you are going to finish between 4 to 5 hours line up in the Middle to back accordingly.  Wave 2 starts at 7:20am.  Wave 3 starts at 7:30am.    ALL RIDERS: THERE IS A DOWNHILL ON A ROAD, DURING THE ROLLOUT, THAT YOU TAKE A SHARP LEFT HAND TURN ON.  PLEASE BE CAREFUL ON THIS DOWNHILL AND TRY TO MAINTAIN YOUR POSITION AS THE RACING SHOULDN'T BE STARTING YET!!
Race-There are 4 aid stations and the unofficial 'Bacon Station' on the course.  These stations will all have water, Heed Hammer drink, and various food items such as cookies, fruit, bars, etc. (except the Bacon Station: Just Beer and Bacon). There will be a limited amount of Hammer Gels so please only take what you need, and try to pick up any trash you have, PLEASE DON'T LITTER on the trail!!
 The course is marked with pink Ribbon and arrows, and ground paint in a few areas.  We try to mark the course so that you shouldn't go far without seeing a ribbon or arrow.  If you go more than a 1/2mile without seeing some type of marking you probably took a wrong turn!  Keep your eyes open and you shouldn't get lost!!
There are several gravel road crossings that we should have volunteers at to help with traffic, but you are ultimately responsible for your own safety!  The last two miles of the course is also a downhill gravel road, so be careful as the gravel can be loose,  and watch for cars on this section!!
We are changing the finish line to a straight shot this year, rather than turning into the parking lot.  This way if you are battling for position you will have a straight shot for a sprint finish!
ANY RIDER THAT DOES NOT FINISH  NEEDS TO LET THE TIMING PEOPLE KNOW,  SO THAT YOU ARE ACCOUNTED FOR.  Failure to do this will result  in not being allowed to race in any future event!
The Kids race will begin at 3pm.  Strider will have a course set up for kids to ride from noon to 3pm.  Races will be by age 5,4,3,and 2.  Sign up at the strider booth for race.  It will be staged behind the bandshell this year, rather than around it!
Awards Ceremony will start at  4:00 with awards handed out to the top finishers in each category.  SRAM has once again supported our race with a big sponsorship, and will be giving away some great prizes to the top finishers!!  Also stick around for the raffle after the awards ceremony.  Everyone who entered the race has a chance to win some great prizes, donated by more great sponsors including Pearl Izumi, Specialized/Two Wheeler Dealer, Twin Six, Rushmore Mountain Sports,  Ergon,  Black Hills Vision Care, and Dykstra Pottery, among others...
Food and Music will start around 12noon with Barbacoas and Bay Leaf providing the food.  Please keep in mind that all riders should be able to eat and only take one trip through the food line. We'd like to have food left for the riders that come in over 6 hours so please be courteous by only taking one trip through the food line!  Crow Peak brewery will also be at the park providing beverages to the racers!  This year the city is cracking down on us though, and we were required to put up fencing for a 'beer garden'.  Just be sure if you are drinking you stay in the 'beer garden'.....we'd like to continue offering beer in the park, so we have to follow the rules if we want this to continue!
Spectators:  If you have family or friends as spectators please ask them to read this or discuss this with them!  There is a LOT OF TRAFFIC on the gravel road going to aid stations.  Please drive slowly to keep the dust down!!  Also there is an alternative route to and from the second aid station.  You can get there by driving up Spearfish Canyon(US 14) to Savoy(about 13 miles).  Once there stay to the right onto the gravel road  Roughlock Falls Rd.  Take next right onto Tinton Rd/Tollgate Rd and follow this all the way to the Second Aid Station.  Please use this route if you can, to cut down on the amount of traffic and dust on Tinto Rd.  Also once at the aid stations please park back away from the course and  stay off the course!!  Finally..... the food and beer is for the racers, not the spectators!!
After Party!   After the race The Dry Creek Grill (formerly known as Spearfish Chophouse) will be hosting live music and a beer garden.  Killian's Tavern will also be having a Labor Day Jam with live music and outdoor seating area.  By having two restaurants involved in an after party, we are hoping to cut down the wait time for food!  
Bike Shops:   Visit Two Wheeler Dealer or Rushmore Mtn. Sports for all of your biking/repair needs!
Places to eat:  Please try to support our local sponsors by eating at Barbacoa's (great burrito's), The Dry Creek Grill (located at the mouth of the Canyon), Bay Leaf Cafe (nice downtown location with outdoor seating) and Killian's Tavern (located on Jackson Blvd, across from Common Cents).
See you all soon and Pedal Power!

I would like to congratulate Christian Baird for winning the Five-0 Art Contest!
 Big Thanks to some of our prominent Sponsors!