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Friday, January 22, 2016

Invitation to Folks Who Put Together Gravel Events

Here's an invitation to folks that put together gravel events.  If you're looking for a road trip this year, I'll design for you a memorable gravel experience in the Black Hills or the surrounding prairie, based on your time, abilities and ambition.  You may use our Rapid City house as a base camp, if you'd like, and I'll help with logistics, as my work schedule allows.  My simple way of saying thank you for your service to the community.

Ridge line primary USFS road reveals a valley leading to the prairie, with Crazy Horse on the horizon.
Gravel events exist only by the selfless commitment of individual cycling enthusiasts who spend many, many hours creating and running an event for others to enjoy.  They draw from their deep pool  of back roads knowledge to craft a unique experience showcasing local landscapes, lifestyles, culture and history.  Often, the road itself is memorable.  Absent such local knowledge and such passion, one would not be able to piece together these routes.

All this reflects an enormous investment of time and self.  But most gravel events don't even charge an entry fee.  Rather, they only ask that participants respect the land, the people who live and work there, and each other.  After racing in a few events, I realized that these are folks I want to support.

At first, I considered putting together my own event, but it never felt right.  Then, riding buddy Shaun Arritola mentioned that I was supporting the people behind gravel events and the overall gravel scene, just by attending races and writing about them.  OK, maybe, but that's not much and there's only so many races I can do.  Besides, I wanted to do something more direct for those putting the events together.

While all this has been swirling around inside the past couple of years, I have been riding all kinds of gravel and dirt roads throughout the height and breadth of the Black Hills and out into the surrounding prairie.  Gorgeous country sporting all kinds of roads and trails.  Possible rides are limited only by imagination and time.

So, if you're one of those folks that put together gravel events for others, and you would enjoy a unique gravel experience in or around the Black Hills of South Dakota, let me know.  I'd be happy to help put one together for you.  Add a comment here, message me on FaceBook, or email me at onthecrosstrail@yahoo.com.  Hope to hear from some of you.

As an introduction to some of our local remote roads, here's a few pictures from some rides in and around the Black Hills of South Dakota.  Lots more pictures and stories throughout this blog.

Barely a road in the Northern Hills.

A secondary USFS road in the Central Black Hills follows a creek dammed by beavers.
 A USFS dirt road somewhere in elk country southwest of Deerfield.

New growth forest emerges years after a big fire in the Southern Hills.  
The forest thins and skies open in the Southern Hills.

Nothing quite like riding through herds of grazing bison in Wind Cave National Park.
Serpentine prairie gravel up a ridge line toward Badlands National Park.

Out onto the prairie north of the Black Hills toward North Dakota.




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