Anna G from Fort Collins, CO on 06/20/2022 02:25 PM
We rode the trail from north to south on Sunday, June 19, 2022. We were on road bikes with smooth tires (25 & 28 mm), which we ran at 10-15 lbs less than we’d use on the road.
We were on Roubaixs, which do a good job of damping vibration, and our hands and wrists were getting a bit tired by the end of the ride. It would be a rough ride on a stiff bike…
Most of the trail was fine for us, although the section between Pringle and Minnekahta was pretty loose and “skittery,” and as a result we couldn’t really take advantage of the negative grade — we were probably going 12-14 mph, much slower than the 18-20 mph we could do on other descents.
We averaged 14 mph overall, in part due to 15-20 mph headwinds in several places. For comparison, we estimate we would have averaged 16.5-17 mph had we been on the road.
While it was great to have the resources from this site for planning purposes, I’d like to note three inaccuracies:
1. Our mileage from Deadwood to Rochford was about 26.5, not 33 as indicated; subsequent mileages were off (under) by 5-7 miles until we got to Minnekahta (at which point it was on track at 93).
2. Our total elevation gain was just shy of 4,000’ (3,925), which suggests the indicated 7,000’+ gain for the northbound route is overstated. I believe there is a net loss of about 1,100’ on the southbound route, but still…
3. The info provided on this site says there’s no water at Rochford or Minnekahta, when in fact there is — both locations have pumps, which are clearly not new.
For riders heading north to south, I’d advise taking a good look at Google maps to make sure you know where to go when the trail ends. It isn’t obvious or well-signed, but you have to ride a mile on pavement (with a few turns) to get to the “trailhead,” which is just a sign at a park, with no obvious water (?).
The only options for food at 5:30 pm on a Sunday were a couple of gas stations about a mile from the end of the gravel, and maybe half a mile from the trailhead. The Sinclair Yes Mart is well-stocked and even has fresh produce and wine.