In late 2019, compadre Lucas Haan alerted me to the Cloud Peak 500 bike packing route in the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming. I immediately recognized its potential as a primo shake out 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 a priority ride for 2020.
Meanwhile, cycling friend Paul Brasby of North Platte, Nebraska catches wind of my Cloud Peak 500 plans. As a lifelong, successful road racer, Paul is an enthusiastic gravel racer and bikepacker with both eyes fixed on a Great Divide ride in the near future. He also concludes 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 decide to start together and see how it goes.
|Dropping off Dude's Downhill on the Cloud Peak 500.|
(photo by Paul Brasby)
This page links a series of posts about our Cloud Peak 500, which was my longest, hardest, and overall biggest ride of 2020. Like most of this blog, I wrote this series primarily as a digital scrapbook for myself and any friend that might enjoy it.
But this particular ride also belongs to Paul, who persevered through a gauntlet of challenges to become the first, and still only, official finisher of the Cloud Peak 500 bikepacking race. I wrote this for his scrapbook, too, and to document and recognize his achievement. Well done, Paul.
Additionally, I wrote this series for all the bikepackers out there dreaming of their next adventure. If that could be in Wyoming, the Cloud Peak 500 certainly is a route to consider. These ride reports, and especially the Logistics reports, reveal much to help plan such a ride.
Finally, I wrote this series to honor the work of Sarah Wallick and Aaron Denberg in creating the Cloud Peak 500. Only passionate, local enthusiasts know their backcountry well enough, and care enough, to piece together a route such as the Cloud Peak 500 and then share it with everyone. Cloud Peak 500 Official Site. Thank you, Sarah and Aaron. I hope to ride some remote roads with you in the future.