The Ponderosa Escapade is our main event at the Pine Island Gravel Odyssey! It is a 100 mile long, single-loop route that will take you through the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota. The event is intended to be a fun, yet challenging endurance gravel road race/ride that will use open public-access gravel and dirt roads, through the Black Hills National forest and into Wyyyooommming! The course will consist of mostly gravel, some dirt, possible mud, and a bit of pavement (gasp)! while rolling over open prairie, meandering through beautiful canyons with flowing creeks, and navigating the beautiful Black Hills Ponderosa Pine Forest. This race is intended for people familiar to gravel riding that can average a minimum 10mph pace. This is a challenging race with approximately 6,500 ft. of climbing!
Race Start: 6:30am in the Spearfish City Park. The start is a 5 mile, neutral roll-out, with an escort out of town. Once onto the gravel, the racing will ‘officially’ begin. If you miss or get behind the police escort, you will need the GPX to navigate out of town.
Aid Station mile 30: A cut off time of 9:30am will be strictly enforced. This cut off would give 3 hours or an average speed of about 10mph (including stop time) to get there. If a rider fails to meet this cut-off time they will receive a DNF.
Aid Station mile 38: cut-off time of 12:00pm. If riders fail to meet the cut-off time they will receive a DNF. This aid station will provide riders with water, Heed Sports drink, and some food items, and perhaps a sip of moonshine!
Aid Station/checkpoint mile 62: Trailshead Lodge Checkpoint,cut-off time of 2:30pm. Riders are required to “check in” at this Lodge. If they fail to do so, they will receive a DNF. Also, if riders fail to meet the cut-off time they will receive a DNF. This checkpoint is at a bar/restaurant where participants may buy food/drink. This is the only spot on course where riders may meet with their support crew for supplies. We will not provide water or food at this checkpoint, but this will be a drop-bag point, where we will haul your drop-bag. If you want a drop bag you must use the bag we supply at packet pick up. We will not haul coolers, backpacks or other personal drop bags. You are responsible for picking the drop bag up at packet pick up.
Support Crew: It is highly suggested that all riders have a support crew for the event. Your support crew is there to come and get you off the course should you break down, get injured, or just need a ride back to the finish area. Support crew will not be allowed anywhere out on course unless they are picking you up, but they are allowed to meet you at the Trailshead Lodge checkpoint for resupply. If a riders support crew is spotted on course at any time, the rider will be disqualified.
If you do not have a support peron, we will have a SAG vehicle and some on course patrol who will be able to assist you in getting back to town for a small fee, if you should need it. If you are relying on our drivers you may be on course for a period of time before we can get you back to town. You must purchase our support during registration.
Navigation: The course will be marked, but these markers could get taken down by weathr, animals or people! Participants must also download and use the GPX to navigate the course.
This race is on open roads and it is the riders responsibility to ride according to the rules of the road. If you fail to do so you are putting yourself at a high risk of a collision with a vehicle. Many of the roads are narrow with no shoulders and blind corners! Logging trucks, farm trucks, and cars travel rapidly on these roads, and if they come around a corner and you are in their lane, you could get seriously injured. Stay on the right side of the road, and be very careful in blind corners!!
Awards and Prizes:
A finishers patch will be given to everyone who makes all the checkpoints and cut-off times, and crosses the finish line! You will need to pick up your patch at the finish line if you complete the entire course.
Award for top 3 in each class: Mens and Womens- Juniors 19 & Under, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60 & Over
Equal Cash Prize for top 3 Mens and Womens overall:
1st=$400+ Trophy and special prize from Sram/Quarq
2nd=$300 + Trophy
3rd=$200 + Trophy
Many prizes will be given out, by random drawing after the awards ceremony at 4:00pm!
These races will happen, regardless of rain, sleet, snow or whatever mother nature decides to throw at us. So be prepared! Check the local weather forecast for the day and dress accordingly. June in South Dakota is a very beautiful, but sometimes wet month, so be prepared to bring your rain gear if needed! Remember , there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear choice!