Motherlode race info
The Motherlode version of the Gold Rush Gravel Grinder is 210 miles. The race starts at 5 am on Saturday morning and the cutoff for finishers is 2 am Sunday morning. (Note: SD is on Mountain Standard Time.) The Saturday forecast for Spearfish, where we'll start, is a high of 98, low of 60, and windy.
The course is basically two loops joined by an out-and-back section, and we'll have four checkpoints where we can meet our crew.
Leg 1: 69.3 miles. Cutoff: 12:30 pm
Cue sheets 1-5. This leg is basically one sustained climb. And we ride into Wyoming.
Leg 2: 53.7 mi. Cutoff: 6 pm. Cue sheets 5-7. This segment looks more like a sawtooth. We enter the Black Hills National Forest at mile 92.7.
Leg 3: 29 miles. Cutoff: 9 pm. Cue sheets 7-8. Mostly a downhill trend before beginning another sustained climb. We ride on part of the Mickelson Trail. Bridges!! Tunnels!!
Leg 4: 20 miles. Cutoff: 11 pm. Cue sheets 8-9. Sustained climb.
Leg 5: 37 miles. Cutoff: 2 am. Cue sheet 9. Downhill trend. We'll ride through beautiful Spearfish Canyon. At least the pictures look beautiful. It'll most definitely be dark when I get there.
I'd be lying if I said I wasn't concerned about the heat and wind. My hottest race last year was a 17-hour race in 97 degrees, and it was rough for a few hours there. We'll definitely have to take care of ourselves.
I quit Dirty Kanza three years ago in challenging conditions and still regret it. This race is getting my best effort. As long as I can keep pedaling, that's what I'm going to do. If I miss a cutoff I'm going to miss it riding, not quitting. I've never been more prepared for a race. I'm so excited to ride in South Dakota and looking forward to incredible views, good company, and riding across the finish line!