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 are links to my prior posts in this series. DED Dirt Ride 2014 - Prologue; Day 1 - Centennial Trail; Day 2 - Centennial Trail; Day 3 - Centennial Trail; Day 4 - Prairie Gravel.
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.
|On an all day celebratory parade, we spin north on the Mickelson Trail past Crazy Horse Memorial on Day 5.
Day 5 of the 2014 DED Dirt Ride. Our final day is simple. Ride the 109 miles of the Mickelson Trail north from Edgemont to Deadwood. With no navigation and no technical obstacles, we casually spin gradually uphill for the first 51 miles to the Crazy Horse Memorial. Skies are bright and a steady cross wind blows from the west, but we're just cruising along to a finish that is coming too fast. The miles fly by, although it surprisingly chills for the final descent into Deadwood. We're done, and we can't quite believe it.
Now we're cruising. After three days of remote, rugged single track and a day of crazy critter and wild weather gravel, we spin out of Edgemont for 109 miles of Mickelson Trail crushed limestone goodness. Departing from the railroad town of Edgemont, we face about 75 miles of gradual uphill and about 35 miles of gradual down, with a steady 15+ mph westerly wind. Our destination is the old mining town of Deadwood, the beginning, and now the end, of our journey. It's a day of mixed emotions.
|The southern trailhead of the Mickelson Trail at first light, before we grab a quick cup of coffee
and a donut or two. — with Shaun Arritola and Rob Sorge in Edgemont, South Dakota.
|We're barely outside the Edgemont city limits when we have our first, and thankfully last, flat of the day.
After riding more than 45 hours over 5 long days, the three of us only had 5 flats all told,
with Shaun grabbing 4 of them. — with Shaun Arritola in Edgemont, South Dakota.
|Rob and I enter Sheep Canyon, still steeped in early morning shadows. — with Rob Sorge at Sheep Canyon.
|Rob enjoys the early morning shadows at Sheep Canyon trestle, about 8 miles into the Mickelson Trail.
— with Rob Sorge at Sheep Canyon Trestle.
|With the rickety Sheep Canyon trestle backfilled with earth, we're able to relax and enjoy the view.
Hey, Shaun, you got some coffee in there? — with Shaun Arritola at Sheep Canyon Trestle.
|Rob and I pull into the Minnekahta Trailhead, milepost 16. — with Rob Sorge in Minnekahta Trailhead.
|Shedding his jacket with the rising sun, Rob flies his Saint Arnold micro brew colors at the Minnekahta Trailhead, at about milepost 16. Hey, now that's a pretty bike. — with Rob Sorge in Minnekahta Trailhead.
|Just starting to warm up at the Pringle Trailhead, at about milepost 32, Rob does some strange, swimmer,
stretchy thing. Shaun doesn't know him.— with Rob Sorge and Shaun Arritola in Pringle, South Dakota.
|After roughly 51 miles of gradual uphill, we take in the view of Crazy Horse Memorial from the Mickelson Trail. A 9 mile descent into Hill City awaits. — with Shaun Arritola and Rob Sorge at Crazy Horse Memorial.
|Rob takes a one last look at the sun before venturing into one of the dark, hard rock tunnels near Mystic.
— with Rob Sorge in Mystic, South Dakota.
|Even though you can see through to the other side of this tunnel, the trail surface inside
is absolute black nothingness. Riding on faith. — in Mystic, South Dakota.
|At milepost 94, Rob celebrates after hammering the last of the 75 miles of uphill.
Descending the final 15 miles into Deadwood would be more fun if not so cold.
— with Rob Sorge at Mickelson Trail Milepost 94.