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Sunday, June 25, 2023

BackBone Grande - The First Through-Ride

Celebrating at the North Dakota border on 6/22/2023.

Over 9 days, Paul Brasby and I rode the BackBone Grande across the State of South Dakota from the Nebraska border near Ardmore to the North Dakota border near Picnic Springs Campground, self-navigated and self-supported, with resupply as available along the way. 

425 miles with 24,880 feet of elevation gain on primarily dirt and gravel roads. In this Spring, mostly wet.

But this ride, and this route, mean far more than numbers. 

Hidden gems await.

I designed the BackBone Grande specifically for bikepacking, drawn from years of exploring these back roads by bicycle and from bikepacking across the country on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. It showcases our best roads and most memorable sights put together to create a Great Divide type of experience. But creating a route on the computer is one thing. How would it actually ride?

I love it.

Our through-ride of the BackBone Grande resulted in one Great Divide experience after another. We faced a wide variety of challenging variables and met an array of interesting people. Every day. Day after day. For over 400 miles. No day was easy. Some spots were very hard. Every day was amazing. 

I will be writing more about our trip and will be making a few minor changes to the route. Mostly, I will be looking for the next chance to get out there to ride again.

For links to all my posts about the BackBone Grande and to a RideWithGPS map, go to BackBone Grande Page (2023).

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