This route is out there. The first 200+ miles pass through but two towns, one of which offers little more than a bar/convenience store. There very well may be more miles without cell phone coverage than with. And in this back country, people are outnumbered by cows, and probably by deer and elk, too.
Conceived as an unsupported, solo ride, the Black Hills BackBone readily lends itself to a multi-day bikepacking ride or even a multi-day supported tour. In 2017, a small group of friends rode the entire route over three days in the heat and winds of a Fourth of July weekend. For a six part report on that ride, go to these posts. An Idea Takes Shape; Gathering; Crossing the Northern Prairie; Up and Into the Black Hills; Focus on the Finish; A Weekend to Remember.
|From the broad shoulders of Flag Mountain, the granite peaks of Mount Rushmore and Harney Peak loom on the horizon.|
So, the first to complete an unsupported, continuous Black Hills BackBone will hold the course record. Whether anyone else gives it a go, or not, I'll be back out there again.
Lots of details and pictures of the Black Hills BackBone route are posted throughout this blog, if you're looking for a nice, long, remote ride. To save a trip through the blog archives, here are links to prior blog posts for the route. Introduction; Overview; Final Cut; New Cue Sheets & Tweaks; BackBone Photo Essay.