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Sunday, August 11, 2019

DED Dirt Ride 2014 - Day 1 (Deadwood to Dalton Lake)

Over five hot days in August of 2014, Shaun Arritola, Rob Sorge and I rode the DED Dirt Ride, a 310 mile bicycle route from Deadwood to Edgemont to Deadwood via the 111 mile single track Centennial Trail, the 109 mile rails-to-trails Mickelson Trail, and primarily gravel road connectors. For 8-10 hours each day, we pedaled, pushed and carried our bikes, on about every type of surface, along the length and breadth of the Black Hills. Spent at the end of each day, we recovered hard by campsite and arose to ride another day. We rode with more gumption than preparation. But we rode. 

I documented this ride through a series of seven FaceBook photo albums, which is not a great platform for narrative or for preservation. So, I plan to reproduce those seven photo albums here in a series of posts, each with an added, rediscovered picture and an introductory note. Here's a link to the first post in this series. DED Dirt Ride 2014 - Prologue.

As I'm beginning to build the gear, experience and mindset to consider longer bikepacking rides, I'm astonished to realize that five years have passed since this DED Dirt Ride. I am determined to bikepack more the next five years than the last. 

Loving life and working hard at recovery at the Dalton Lake Campground.

Day 1 of the 2014 DED Dirt Ride. At first light, we gather our gear in Deadwood at the trailhead of the Mickelson Trail, where we hope to return in five days. We plan to ride most all day, every day, to complete this 310 mile loop, but we focus on one day at at time. Today, a fast descent on developed roads from Deadwood down to Sturgis drop us at Bear Butte State Park at the northern end of the Centennial Trail. Shaun's toy hauler containing our camping gear sits at Dalton Lake, about 30 miles of Black Hills single track to the south. With the heat, distance and trail, that's an ambitious start for us and the day gets long. But we eventually pedal into the Dalton Lake campground with enough energy and sunlight to enjoy a relaxing evening. We're off to a promising start.

Like school boys busting out of class for the summer, we spin down paved and gravel roads past Bear Butte State Park to eagerly hop onto the Centennial Trail for mile and miles of single track sweetness, with multiple crossing of Elk Creek, heading toward the Dalton Lake campsite. What a Start!

Shaun streaking off the front enough for this selfie. — with Shaun Arritola in Deadwood, SD.

Bear Butte under a swift sunrise, and some recently mowed double track! — with Rob Sorge in Deadwood, SD.

Thanks to Robbie's long arms, steady hand and practiced eye, we enjoyed taking a lot of selfies. 
This one is near Bear Butte. — with Shaun Arritola and Rob Sorge in Bear Butte, SD.

We soon encountered our first bridge on the Centennial Trail. I had to try. 
Obviously there's not much risk of falling far. — in Bear Butte, SD.

Robbie rips some sweet single track on "Bulldog," an early section of the Centennial Trail.
— with Rob Sorge at Centennial Trail, SD.

Shaun successfully navigates the narrows. We didn't see any mountain lions,
but it sure looked like a good home for one.
 — with Shaun Arritola at Centennial Trail, SD.

Shaun keeping it real with his famous "behind the scenes" photographs. Nonplussed by the cameras and crowds, Robbie smoothly sails through. — with Rob Sorge at Centennial Trail, SD.

Pulling into Dalton Lake campground, we get right to dinner! Robbie husks corn on the cob, while I fire up the stove. That's Shaun's new toy hauler, which we used to great advantage to shuttle our camp gear. 
— with Craig Groseth and Rob Sorge at Dalton Lake, SD.

After a long day in the saddle, mostly bouncing around on rocky single track,
we enjoy our favorite recovery drinks.
 — with Rob Sorge and Shaun Arritola at Dalton Lake, SD.

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