So put me on a highway
And show me a sign
And take it to the limit
One more time.
Take It To The Limit, Glen Frey/Don Henley/Randy Meisner (1975)
|Celebrating the finish with Recoverite in a 2013 Gravel Worlds bottle.|
|Rolling out of Buffalo Gap on fresh gravel to a wildfire sunrise.|
|Ash Road early on the Black Hills BackBone segment.|
|All smiles at mile 47 on the Nebraska border,|
which is the end of Black Hills BackBone and the start of the DoubleBackBone.
|The Black Hills DoubleBackBone segment offers 50 miles of open grassland to Edgemont.|
No shade and 108 degrees on my cyclocomputer, but thankfully little wind.
|Looking back at a climb out of Edgemont on the DED Dirt Ride segment back to Buffalo Gap.|
|Stark realities of a harsh environment where even a strength can become a liability.|
I am not eager to get back out there in the heat and hills. In fact, I linger at that Edgemont gas station for an hour and 20 minutes all told. But it is just what I need to face the final 53 miles back to Buffalo Gap. I eventually remount to start the climb out of Edgemont.
The DED Dirt Ride segment is much less familiar to me, not having ridden it since 2014. But with so few places to take a wrong turn, I keep turning pedals en route toward Buffalo Gap. The rolling hills do not let up. Neither does the heat. But the miles slowly pass.
These lands are full of surprise. Coasting down a hill, I spot a fox on the road. It sees me and starts running. For fully a quarter mile, it keeps ahead of me on the road as I coast at about 20 mph. Finally, it turns into a drainage and vanishes into the vegetation. That's one fast fox.
Temperatures recede as the sun fades. With about 30 miles to go, I realize that I'm going to finish this ride in the dark. But I am going to finish this ride. A smile slowly forms across my sweaty, dusty face. I decide to enjoy the last 2 hours as a victory lap and casually cruise into Buffalo Gap.
|I created this route on ridewithgps.com beforehand to verify the 150 mile distance.|
My DED BackBone Edition of 2020 Gravel Worlds is complete. 150.0 miles. 7,336 feet of elevation gain. 14 hours, 30 minutes overall. 12 hours 8 minutes rolling. Taking it to my limit. One more time.
Thanks Schmidty, Cornbread and the rest of the Pirate Cycling League for your service to the gravel community. Hopefully, we'll all be at the next gravel family reunion at the 2021 Gravel Worlds.
Take It To The Limit, Eagles (1976)