The 3rd Annual Gold Rush Gravel Grinder will be held on June 6 2015. We will be riding on the same course as last year, so those of you who haven’t yet made it out, will get a chance to ride this beautiful but grueling course. Anyone who raced in previous years will have a chance to beat their time or just finish the ride (if you haven’t made the ‘cut-off’ time). We look forward to another great season of grinding gravel!
Gold Rushing in the Black Hills in 2014
The Second Annual Gold Rush Gravel Grinder brought old friends and new faces back to the Black Hills for some epic gravel grinding. With drizzling rains throughout the day Friday, we were relieved to have a calm, rain free day, for Saturdays race. It was a bit greasy for the first 10 miles or so, but soon the course dried out and the sun even blessed us with her presence for brief periods of time. This year we did a slight re-route off the top of the Cement Ridge Climb. Rather than dropping off the “backside Hellride” descent, we took the long course riders back down the same course as the Gold Dust riders. This left the mileage exactly the same, but I think gave the course a little better flow overall. James Meyer, of Spearfish, ended up with the winning time of 6:53:34 for the men’s overall, and Aubrey Hoard took the women’s overall spot with a winning time of 8:34:47. Congratulations to everyone who came out and gave it a shot, and a bigger congratulations to those that finished the ride!
If you haven’t done this race yet, I’d encourage you to give it a go. The course is a very scenic route through the hills, with flowing creeks and flowers galore! It’s a challenging ride with 7,000+ ft of climbing, in 110 miles. The course is 90% gravel, with only the 4 mile lead out and the last 13 miles down Spearfish Canyon, being pavement. It’s a small race, so you might be out there on your own for hours at a time, but that’s the way we like it. It’s semi-supported, so you’ll have a few places where you can get water, or maybe some raw potatoes, but you’ll also need to carry much of your own gear. It’s a race if you’re into racing, or just a ride if you want to get out and challenge yourself for the day. It ends with a party and plenty of food, as many Crow Peak brews as you can drink, great stories, new and old friends, and a few prizes if you’re lucky. It’s a gravel grinder, that we put on for you, to give you a glimpse of some of the beautiful and unique riding in the area! We hope you enjoyed it, and we hope to have you all back next year for another Gold Rush Gravel Grinder. In 2015 we look forward to presenting you with a new piece of the Gold Rush, “The Mother Lode”, a 200+(?) mile route, taking you deeper into the darkness of the Black Hills.
Find it and Grind it!
PJ & KJ
Gold Rushing in the Black Hills in 2013
The Inaugural Gold Rush Gravel Grinder went off with a ‘BANG’ literally, as General George A. Custer fired his pistol, and 130 riders headed out into the wild wild west, of the Black Hills SD. The morning of the race had many riders feeling uneasy about the day, as rain was consistent throughout the night. However, by 6am the skies began to clear, and the sun honored us with it’s presence. The neutral ‘rollout’ was very neutral, and riders enjoyed an easy pace for 4 miles out of town. But when their front wheels touched the gravel…the race was on! The first ten miles of the course consisted of rolling hills heading for WWyyoomming! At mile 14 riders veered left and entered the Grand Canyon of Wyoming. The next 20 miles of the course climbed steadily through canyons and hills, with flowing creeks and flowers in abundance. During this section the Gold Dust, or short coursers, turned up Williams Gulch, into what we later heard from riders, was an at times “unridable road of deep, rutted, mud.” At mile 36 riders took a right onto Moskee road and had their first steep climb of the day. This climb tops out with a nice view of Government Valley and the Bear Lodge Mountains, before turning onto Reynolds Road for a nice descent into Buckly Canyon where the road continued to roll, up and down, back into the Grand Canyon. Once again riders were onto a steady climb all the way to mile 69, where they stopped at Trailshead Lodge for the first checkpoint. We later heard from several riders that “a burger and coke were just what they needed to finish out their grind.” While some riders called it quits here, or didn’t quite make the 3pm cut off, many headed back onto the course from here with a surprise in store. After a short climb leaving Trailshead Lodge, riders were relieved to have about 9 miles of a steady descent on Riflepit Road. But the funishment wasn’t over and the relief was short lived as after 2 miles of more steady climbing riders took a sharp right and headed up to the Cement Ridge fire lookout. This road was steep, but had a beautiful, panoramic view of the Black Hills upon reaching the top, and surprise….Potato Creek Johnny and Calamity Jane handing out raw, organic potatoes, and a shot of whiskey, to famished riders if needed. The next mile dubbed “backside Hellride”, is a steep rocky descent of about a mile followed by a steep rocky climb that had even the strongest riders pushing their bikes up. The rains from the previous night, and week, had this section in dismal condition with large ruts, and lots of mud. But hey, it can’t all be hard packed smooth grinding….right?? Anyway, the nightmare was over and from here riders rode another 4 miles to Roughlock Road where they descended for 10 miles before reaching Spearfish Canyon. Cruising down Spearfish Canyon for the next 12 miles was a welcome relief for most riders, although there was a bit of a headwind. The ride ended on S Canyon Street and headed into the campground to the Snappers Club where everyone enjoyed the rest of their day with free food and drinks provided by Killian’s Tavern and Crow Peak Brewery. It was a long day out there, and the weather wasn’t perfect, but everyone who finished this ride should feel a great sense of accomplishment. I could tell by the looks on their faces, as they rolled into the campground, that the Gold Rush is not an easy feat. With 110 miles and a little over 8,000 feet of climbing the Gold Rush Gravel Grinder is an epic adventure that should not be taken lightly, and anyone who loves grinding gravel should take a shot at! Pedal Power!