Course Record: Greg Gleason 12:59:33, Katie Knoll 17:33:38
The Mother Lode: If you are into more of a self supported, ultra endurance, adventure type of race than this is the race for you! The Morther Lode race is not for beginners as it is a very challenging ride. You must have completed the Gold Rush Race or a similar race of at least 100 miles before registering for this event! It is an ultra, 210 mile ride that will take you on a tour through both the Northern and Southern Black Hills of South Dakota. There is a total of approx. 185-190 miles of gravel, with the rest being pavement. It is a challenging course with about 13,000 ft. of climbing!! The gravel in the hills is unique in that there aren’t a lot of rolling hills. You will usually be doing long steady climbs and descents on roads that don’t make many 90 degree turns, but rather wind their way through the beautiful Black Hills landscape. During the ride you will get to enjoy a section of the famed Mickelson Trail where you will take a “car free”, winding path through the woods, crossing a multitude of bridges and going through 3 tunnels! This race is a self supported race and you will need to carry all of your own gear, food and water.
All riders will have from 5am to 2:30am to complete the ride! After this you will not be given a finishing time, and there won’t be anyone or anything at the finish line!
Race Start: 5am in the Spearfish City Park. The start is a 5 mile, neutral roll-out, with an escort out of town. Once onto the gravel, the racing will ‘officially’ begin.
Aid Station: Mile 36 *you are not required to stop/check in here.
Checkpoint 1: mile 69 at Trailshead Lodge, with a 12:45pm cut off time
Checkpoint 2: mile 123 at Mountain Meadows, with a 6:00pm cut off time
Checkpoint 3: mile 152 at Moonshine Gulch Saloon, with a 9pm cut off time
Checkpoint 4: mile 172 back at Trailshead Lodge with an 11:30pm cut off time
At each of the 4 checkpoints will be a list of riders names-All riders must initial by their name at each checkpoint to notify race directors that you have come and gone from the checkpoint: If you are abandoning the event for any reason, please write DNF next to your name. Failure to “check in” will result in a DNF! These four checkpoints all have cut-off times based on an average traveling speed of about 9-10mph, and dependent upon which checkpoints you are riding between (we’ve given a little more leniency to the checkpoints with a lot of climbing involved, and only 3 hours for the last 40 miles due to the fact that it is predominantly downhill). This speed includes all of your stop time, so if you like to stop a lot you will have to ride faster in order to make the cut-off times. If you fail to reach a checkpoint before the cut-off time, we ask that you discontinue the race. Each checkpoint will have water and food items to purchase, and a phone available to use for $5.
Support Crew: EVERY RIDER MUST HAVE A SUPPORT PERSON. It is the support persons job to meet their rider at each check point and make sure they are accounted for at the end of the day! Every checkpoint will have a landline that you can use to call your support person for $5. Support crew will not be allowed out on course unless they are picking you up, but they can meet you at any one, or all, of the 4 checkpoints for resupply. If a riders support crew is spotted on course at any time, the rider will be disqualified. A data sheet and directions to each checkpoint are available to print for all support crew. You can not use another rider for your support crew. Tripple R :If you don't have a support person, "Tripple R" aka Ridge Rider Rescue, can be purchased on bikereg.com during registration for an additional $50. This service will provide you with drop-bags for Checkpoints 1, 2 and 4. It will make sure you get through all checkpoints before the cut-off times, and if you fail to meet the cut-off times, or choose to abandon the event for any reason, it will ensure that you have a ride back to the start.
Navigation and support : This is not a marked course! Participants must use cue sheets and a map, along with their own personal cycling computer, or download the GPX, to navigate the course. You will need to print off your own Cue Sheets/Map and bring them to the race with you. A GPX file is provided for download, and is highly recommended, especially if you are ‘racing’ as cue sheets can be hard to read when traveling at fast speeds and over bumpy gravel roads. The Cue Sheets contain notes on various places with cell reception, water, and other important information. If you are only using Cue Sheets we suggest printing several sets in the event you loose one.
The race takes place on open roads and it is the riders responsibility to ride according to the rules of the road. If you fail to do so you are putting yourself at a high risk of a collision with a vehicle. Most of the gravel is fast and hard packed, but at times graders will come through and make the gravel thick and sometimes dirty/muddy, and difficult to ride. Please be aware that many of the roads are also narrow with little to no shoulder and blind corners, so you must use caution and ride only on the right side of the road. Logging trucks, farm trucks, ATV's and cars travel rapidly on these roads, and if they come around a corner and you are in their lane, you could get seriously injured. Stay on the right side of the road, and be very careful in blind corners and when cresting hills!! Per our permit you are required to ride on the shoulder of the road when riding the last 13 miles down Spearfish Canyon to the finish. June is a beautiful month, with flowers in full force, but it can also be a very wet month …..so be prepared for anything! We are often frequented with late afternoon thunderstorms, even when there are none in the forecast!
There is very limited cell reception on course. Due to this we will have a sag vehicle on course to check on riders throughout the race. But DO NOT count on this sag person, as they may miss you on course and they WILL NOT give you a ride all the way back to the finish area, only to the nearest checkpoint where you can call your support crew to come and get you. Also your cue sheets provide you the locations of several ‘Bail-out spots’ early on in the race (mile 15 and mile 38) where you will have cell reception/phone and can call your support and Bail Out early on if needed. Be aware that you may have to walk for miles to reach the nearest checkpoint or bail-out point. In all, participants are solely responsible for their personal well-being, will have to make their own informed decisions, and suffer the consequences of those decisions.
Cash and prize guidelines:
A finishers Pint Glass or Coffee mug, Salsa top-cap, and custom Mother Lode ball cap, is awarded to everyone who makes all the cut-off times, checks in at every checkpoint, and crosses the finish line before the 2:30am deadline.
Custom Medallion/Trophy to top 3 in each class
Overall top 3 finishers, mens and womens (equal cash)
1st Place= $200
3rd Place= $100
A special prize, for fastest male and female rider of the day, courtesy of our sponsors at Quarq!
Many prizes will be given out, by random drawing after the awards ceremony Sunday morning!
These races will happen, regardless of rain, sleet, snow or whatever mother nature decides to throw at us. So be prepared! Check the local weather forecast for the day and dress accordingly. June in South Dakota is a very beautiful, but sometimes wet month, so be prepared to bring your rain gear if needed! Remember , there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear choice!