The Gold Dust Gravel Grinder is our introductory course into endurance gravel riding. This is the ride for you if it is your first endurance gravel event. This ride is all about the fun and challenge of just finishing, and everyone who makes the cut-offs, makes the check-point, and crosses the finish line will get a Gold Dust finishers award! In the Gold Dust we give you more time to reach each checkpoint, than the more difficult Gold Rush and Mother Lode routes. This route is a challenging 70 mile, single-loop course. The 5 mile lead out, and last 13 miles down Spearfish Canyon are the only pavement on the course. The Gold Dust is our shortest course but don’t let it fool you, as there is 4,500+ ft. of steady climbing on this course, and it is a challenge no matter your fitness level!.
Race start: Spearfish City Park at 7:00 am. The start is a 5 mile, neutral roll-out, with an escort out of town. Once onto the gravel, the racing will ‘officially’ begin.
The course is 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. Many of the roads are narrow with no shoulders and blind corners! 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!!
Aid Station mile 36: Cut-off time is 11:30am, which will require an average speed of about 8mph to reach. If riders fail to make this cut-off time they will not be allowed to continue on in the race and must go to one of the bail out points, where they may call their support person to come and get them. This cut-off time is for rider safety and will need to be respected and obeyed by every participant. There will be water, Heed sports drink, gels, and a few food items provided for riders.
Checkpoint-Potato Station mile 47. Cut-off time is 4pm. All riders must “check in” here. If they fail to do so, they will receive a DNF. Water, Heed Sports drink, gels, and potatoes will be available at this checkpoint.
Support Crew: It is mandatory that all riders have a support crew for the event. Your support crew is there to come and get you off the course should you break down, get injured, or just need a ride back to the finish area. Your support crew can be another rider as long as you both understand that you may have to wait at a bail out spot for the other rider to finish, before he can come to rescue you. We do not provide riders with transportation. It is your support crews responsibility to make sure you are accounted for at the end of the day! We will have someone sagging each distance, but if you make a wrong turn and the support misses you, we won't know that you are still out there! A data sheet is available to print off for all riders support crew giving directions to the bail out spots, should you need to abandon the race. Support crew will not be allowed out on course unless they are picking you up. If your support crew is spotted on course you will be disqualified from the event.
Tripple R: If you do not have a support person you may purchase Tripple R aka Ridge Rider Rescue when you register on bikereg.com for $40. This service will act as your support person and will give you a ride back to the start should you not make the cut-off times or need to abandon the race for any reason.
Navigation and support: This is not a marked course! Participants must use the supplied cue sheets, along with their own personal cycling computer, or a GPX, to navigate the course. We suggest using all 3 in the case you should lose one or have a garmin malfunction! You need to print off your own Cue sheets and map, and bring them to the race with you. Your cue sheets provide you the locations of several ‘Bail-out spots’ on the course where you will have cell reception and can call your support and Bail Out if needed (support crew may print off the maps to get them to these bail-out points). Participants may have to walk for miles to reach the nearest checkpoint or bail-out point, or wait for the sag person to give them a ride there. This sag wagon, will be sweeping the course and ‘may’ be able to provide a rider a lift to the nearest checkpoint. 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. 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 .
Finishers Award will be awarded to anyone who makes all the cut-offs, checkpoints, and crosses the finish line.
Many prizes will be given out, by random drawing after the awards ceremony at 4:30pm!
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!
WARNING! If you break down or become injured, it is YOUR responsibility to contact your support crew to come get you. DO NOT CALL US. WE WILL NOT COME RESCUE YOU. EVENT PROMOTERS AND SPONSORS ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR SAFETY AND WELL-BEING. So if you sign up for this event, YOU MUST HAVE A SUPPORT CREW with a well thought out emergency back-up plan. If you do not feel you are prepared to meet such a challenge, please stay home!!
Course Record: Zach Stone 4:07, Betsy Farris 5:27:55