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Thursday, August 15, 2019

DED Dirt Ride 2014 - Day 2 (Dalton Lake to Sheridan Lake)

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 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. 

After a gritty finish of a long Day 1, Rob recovered hard and found single track joy early on Day 2.

Day 2 of the 2014 DED Dirt Ride. Early morning after a long, hard first day in the saddle, I am amazed how we all recover. Over hot breakfast, we prepare for another 30+ miles of Black Hills single track, with some probable by-passes due to the mammoth Atlas snow storm the prior winter. Some early miles today are open to motorized ATVs, which really tear up the trail, and we are forced to hike-a-bike some of the steeps. But south of Pilot's Knob to Pactola is flowy, buttery sweetness. A short bypass on some surprisingly fun gravel and a series of creek crossings plop us at Sheridan Lake for the night. We drive Shaun's Jeep back to Dalton Lake to retrieve his toy hauler containing our camping gear and then stop by the Sugar Shack to inhale massive burgers and fries. Another long, hot day on the trails, with a couple of mechanicals and re-routes, leaves us tired but content. The evening at the campsite passes too quickly.

After a restful night at the idyllic Dalton Lake campsite, we're ready for a full day of classic Black Hills single track, starting with a steep hike-a-bike climb out of Dalton Lake, a swift descent into the village of Nemo, then relentless up-and-down to Pilot's Knob with the burger-tastic Sugar Shack, before flowing through miles of smiles on sweet single track down to Pactola Reservoir, and finishing with a final push through more creek crossings to Sheridan Lake. Now, that's some Black Hills single track!

As the sun peeks over the horizon, the truck's buttoned up and we're ready to roll.
— with Rob Sorge and Shaun Arritola.

Shaun preparing to power down the trail, after powering down his phone.
— with Shaun Arritolaat Dalton Lake, South Dakota.

Hey! The trail's down here! Uhmm, where's my bike? — at Dalton Lake, South Dakota.

Yeah. We got this. — with Rob Sorge and Shaun Arritola at Dalton Lake.

Riding at speed through all that rough stuff results in a little trail side maintenance at Nemo:
two whiny brakes, a loosened hub and a flat tire. Nothing these shade tree mechanics can't handle.

— with Rob Sorge and Shaun Arritola in Nemo, South Dakota.

Now we're talking! A welcomed respite from the rocky steeps behind us. — in Nemo, South Dakota.

Flow like water. — in Nemo, South Dakota.

Miles of smiles. Enjoying the view of Pactola. — with Shaun Arritola at Pactola Reservoir.

Bypassing some Atlas storm damage, we discovered a nifty dirt road between Pactola and Sheridan that revealed some rolling prairie in the heart of the Black Hills. — with Rob Sorge and Shaun Arritola at Sheridan Lake.

Shaun demonstrating proper flat repair technique. When I didn't get it the first time,
he had to show me again for the second flat.
 — with Shaun Arritola at Sheridan Lake.

Nice way to end the day. — at Sheridan Lake.

Not so fast. We still have a few creek crossings to go. We stay dry, at least for this one.
— with Rob Sorge at Sheridan Lake.

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