Course Record: Jason Siegle/Nate Keck 5:48:26, Karen Borgstedt 7:38:41
The Gold Rush Gravel Grinder is the Black Hills Premier Gravel Road Race. It is a 110 mile long, single-loop route that will take you through the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota. This area is rich in history and was once a big part of the great Dakota Boom and Gold Rush in the Black Hills. The event is intended to be a fun, yet challenging endurance gravel road race/ride that will use open public-access gravel and dirt roads, through the Black Hills National forest and into Wyyyooommming! The course will consist of mostly gravel, some dirt, possible mud, and a bit of pavement (gasp)! while rolling over open prairie, meandering through beautiful canyons with flowing creeks, exploring the deep forest, and climbing to several spectacular vistas. This race is intended for people familiar to gravel riding that can average a minimum 10mph pace. This is a semi-supported race due to limited access to water and cell reception, with over 7,000 ft. of climbing!
Race Start: 6:30am 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. Water, Heed sports drink and gels along with a few food items provided. A cut off time of 10:30am will be strictly enforced. If a rider fails to meet this cut-off time they will receive a DNF and will need to go to one of the the bail out points on the cue sheets and call their support person to come and get them.
Checkpoint 1: mile 68, Trailshead Lodge Checkpoint,cut-off time of 2pm. Riders are required to “check in” at this Lodge. If they fail to do so, they will receive a DNF. Also, if riders fail to meet the cut-off time they will receive a DNF and must call their support crew to come get them. This checkpoint is at a bar/restaurant where participants may buy food/drink. This is the only spot on course where riders may meet with their support crew for supplies. We will not provide water or food at this checkpoint, but this will be a drop-bag point, where we will haul your drop-bag (provided at packet pick up) to. A phone is available here for $5. Or you can climb the pavement to the top of the hill for cell reception.
Checkpoint 2: mile 85, Potato Station Checkpoint, cut-off time of 4pm. Riders are required to “check in” at this aid station. If they fail to do so, they will receive a DNF. Also if riders fail to meet the cut-off time they will receive a DNF. This aid station will provide riders with water, Heed Sports drink, gels, potatoes, and perhaps a sip of moonshine!
Support Crew: It is mandatory that all riders have a support crew, or hire one, 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. It is also your support crews responsibility to make sure you are accounted for at the end of the day! Your support crew can be another rider as long as you both understand that you may have to wait at a bail out spot or checkpoint, for the other rider to finish, before he can come to rescue you. We will have someone sagging each distance, who may give you a ride to the nearest bail out spot or checkpoint, but will not give you a ride all the way back to the start. 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, and to the Trailshead Lodge Checkpoint. Support crew will not be allowed out on course unless they are picking you up, but they can meet you at the Trailshead Lodge checkpoint for resupply. If a riders support crew is spotted on course at any time, the rider will be disqualified.
Tripple R : If you don't have a support crew and need to hire one, we offer "Tripple R" insurance, aka Ridge Rider Rescue. This service can be purchased for $40 during registration, and must be bought before June 1st. Triple R is there to make sure you get through each checkpoint before the cut-off time, and to give you a ride back to town if you don't make the cut-off or need to abandon the event for any reason.
Navigation and Support: This is not a marked course! Participants must use the map and printable cue sheets, along with their own personal cycling computer (must track miles), or download the GPX to their garmin device, to navigate the course. Cue Sheets with important course info are available to print. You need to print off your own Cue sheets and map, and bring them to the race with you. We suggest having a back up set of Cue Sheets, in the event you loose yours on course. A GPX file of the course is available and is highly recommended, especially if you are ‘racing’ as cue sheets can be hard to read when traveling at fast speeds over bumpy gravel roads!
This race 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, 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!!
All participants need to know that they are primarily on their own, and are totally responsible for themselves. However, due to the remoteness of the course, and lack of cell reception, we will be providing a sag wagon for emergency only. This sag wagon, will be sweeping the course and will 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. 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 to 'bail out' if needed. Participants 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.
Awards and Prizes:
A finishers Award will be awarded to everyone who makes all the checkpoints and cut-off times, and crosses the finish line!
Custom Medallion/Trophy for top 3 in each class.
Cash Prize for top 3 Mens and Womens overall:
1st=$200 + Trophy and special prize from Sram/Quarq
2nd=$150 + Trophy
3rd=$100 + Trophy
Overall fastest time mens and womens will receive a special prize from our sponsors at Quarq!
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!