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! 


  1. Good luck and take care of yourself. Remember that you need to actually survive the race, a good DNF is a good blog post. You are braver than you think.


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