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Thursday, August 29, 2019

DED Dirt Ride 2014 - Epilogue

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 are links to my prior posts in this series. DED Dirt Ride 2014 - PrologueDay 1 - Centennial TrailDay 2 - Centennial TrailDay 3 - Centennial TrailDay 4 - Prairie GravelDay 5 - Mickelson Trail.

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. 

Yeah. We rode the DED Dirt Ride. Yeah.

This final photo album wrapped up the 2014 DED Dirt Ride. Each day of this five day ride challenged us, individually and collectively. Stringing together these five days in a row was an achievement for us, but not Herculean. It's difficult to convey how utterly exhausted one can be at the end of a long, hard day in the saddle, but then how energetically fresh one can be in the morning after a recovery night around a campsite. It still amazes me every time. Keep going and, before you know it, you're created and shared a special experience. Thanks, Shaun and Rob, for sharing this one with me.

Now, that was a ride. We pedaled, pushed and carried our bikes, on about every type of surface, through the entire length and much of the breadth of the Black Hills, and then back again. We totaled about 310 miles, split pretty evenly between single track, gravel and rails-to-trails, with stretches of pavement for by-passes and re-routes. We were out there about 8-10 hours each of the 5 days, with no damage to bikes or bodies that couldn't be handled with some trailside maintenance or ibuprofen. We saw just about every kind of wild critter that roams the Black Hills, without getting charged, gored, stampeded, clawed, buzzed, or exposed to the Bubonic plague. Now, all too soon, we're back where we started five days ago.

Thanks, Shaun and Rob, for sharing this time. I hope these pictures and words capture a piece of the experience. Special thanks to Dachia and Colleen for making it possible with your support and shuttles. Thanks also to Corinne for sending Rob up here.

If this type of thing fires your imagination, make it happen. If you're headed this way, let me know. I'd be glad to help. I may even join you.

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