Black Hills GOLD! Part 1
I spent the past week riding and camping in the Black Hills of South Dakota while on BIKE Week 2007. What’s BIKE Week? Well, imagine a 5 man crew from BIKE magazine, 3 guides from Western Spirits, one local guide from Spearfish, SD, and about 23 other bicycle industry folks all coming together to ride a bunch of bitching singletrack, camp out, drink a bunch of beer and tequilla, eat some awesome grub, get a short night of sleep…and then wake up and do it all again for a few more days!
Last years trip was to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. It was my first time there as well as my first time on BIKE Week.
This year we hit the Black Hills and let me be the first to say it. THERE IS GOLD IN THEM THAR HILLS! Serious mountain biking gold. Sweet singletrack. Narrow trails. Lots of ups and downs. Tons of water crossings. Lots of rocks. Just epic trails. If you like to ride you need to give it a shot. Get yourself to Rapid City or Spearfish and make contact with some mtb locals so that they can get you pointed in the right direction. You won’t regret it.
The bike industry is made up of some really nice people (don’t worry there are some not so nice ones too) and it is a real treat to hang out, ride, and get to know them. BIKE Week is one of my favorite events all year.
So without further adu, here are some pics from this years trip. I hope they spur you on to forming up a posse and putting an epic adventure together.
Getting Out Of Dodge
Well, Rapid City to be more precise. Western Spirits hauled everything around with two 15 passenger vans, each pulling a seperate trailer filled with bags and supplies. The bikes go up on the roof except for a lucky few that ride on the front grill.
The Climbing Begins
The Black Hills have plenty of climbing. The first day started with a gravel slog before entering the singletrack. This jackass came over to check out Western Spirits guide Megan’s singlespeed.
There is more singletrack than you can shake a stick at in South Dakota. What I can’t tell you is how well it is marked. Do some research before you go or line up some local talent to help show you around. Fruita Troy heads upstream.
The Hills Are Alive
They had something like 3 inches of rain the week before our trip so we were at times riding or walking up small waterfalls. Lots of wildflowers were bustin out as well.
Minneapolis Mafia Represent
Four members of the Mpls Mafia were present: myself, Hurl, Luby, and Western Spirits guide Simon. While Simon and Luby don’t live in the 612 any longer, they’ve earned lifetime memberships with the Mafia.
A hearty breakfast always starts the day. Lunch on the trail is sandwiches, chips, and cookies. But dinner is always out of hand. While the guests sit on their butts, drinking beer and talking, the guides once again go into action cooking up some tasty concoctions.
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I love being outside. I prefer to ride on dirt. Or snow. If I was born a hundred years earlier I might have been a polar explorer. There's a great natural world out there to see, smell, taste, listen to, and experience. Life slows down out there and the distractions we've created will disappear if you let them. Give me a backpack and let me go.