The Cloud Peak 500. A unique ride through the Old West. And a great shake out ride for the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route.
In late 2019, compadre Lucas Haan alerted me to the Cloud Peak 500 bikepacking route in the Big Horn Mountains of Central Wyoming. I immediately recognized its potential as a primo shake out ride as part of my long running preparations to ride the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. The Cloud Peak 500 offered about 20 percent of the distance and elevation gain of the Great Divide on a seemingly similar variety of remote roads and terrain, with occasional small towns for re-supply. As a bonus, the Big Horns are but a few hours from Rapid City. I marked it as a priority ride for 2020.
Meanwhile, cycling friend Paul Brasby of North Platte, Nebraska caught wind of my Cloud Peak 500 plans. As a lifetime, successful road racer, Paul is an enthusiastic gravel racer and bikepacker with both eyes fixed on riding the Great Divide. He also concluded that the Cloud Peak 500 looks to be an ideal ride to prepare for that, as well as a great ride on its own. We decided to start together and see how it goes.
|Dropping off Dude's Downhill on the Cloud Peak 500.
(image by Paul Brasby)
Over seven long, hot days in August, we rode the Cloud Peak 500 route, which was my longest, hardest, and overall biggest ride of 2020. Although I stopped short of 500 miles, Paul rode on, through a gauntlet of challenges, to become the first, and still only, official finisher of the Cloud Peak 500 bikepacking race.
I then wrote a series of blog posts about our experience, primarily as a scrapbook for me and any friends that might enjoy it, but also as a resource for others who may be intrigued. Those Daily Ride reports describe our experience and the Logistics reports reveal much to help plan such a ride.
Eventually, I compiled all those blog posts onto a single Page called Cloud Peak 500 Page (2020) that appears within a column of Pages on the right side of the Black Hills BackBone blog. If you're looking for a shake out ride to prepare for the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, or just looking for a unique 500 mile bikepacking adventure in Central Wyoming, take a look at the Cloud Peak 500.