Monday, June 11, 2012


If you've been mountain biking for any significant length of time, you'll know that finding the next great mountain bike destination is something that everyone wants to do.  It's natural.  We come from a long line of explorers.  If you didn't, you wouldn't be here, you'd still be in Europe or Asia or wherever your ancestry is from, unless you're Native American, and even then your ancestors from about 10,000 years ago were explorers coming across an ice bridge that Sarah Palin now uses to go to Russia.

The Not-So-Serious Sailor
We want to be the first to discover that next cool place to ride (except for the locals, who've known about it all along and didn't want you to tell anyone about it).  We want to be able to start stories about said riding destinations with "I remember when I could go to Moab and there was only 1 bike shop and one stop light" or "I was in Fruita before anyone knew about it."  Imagine back when Christopher Columbus was an old codger, sitting around at some Venice sidewalk cafe, "Hey yo Christobal!  I was readin' your "Not-so-serious Sailor" parchment last night.  Was you really the first one to find Cuba?"  "Hell's yeah.  I had the first Cuban cigar!  It was given to me by some young chap calling himself Fidel, said he had big aspirations to take over this island and have all those people in, ahem, America, fuck Vespucci it should be called Columbia, get their panties in a bunch in a few years.  Honestly, I hope he can do it.  Serve 'em right for naming their whole continent after that sumbitch Amerigo"

Or something like that.  You get the idea.  We want to be able to come back from an expeditionary trip and tell all of our friends about this awesome place to go ride your bike, so here it goes.  I'm gonna tell you all about the next kick-ass mountain biking paradise.

What would you say if I told you about a place that has more legal singletrack than you can ride in a year?  What if I told you that this singletrack ranges from loamy, pine needle covered, and smooth to the most technical trails you'll find anywhere?  How about if we add in not one, not two, not three, but four excellent endurance races rivaling the best the country has to offer?  And for good measure, let's add an exciting bike component manufacturer to the mix.  What would you say?  You'd say, "when can we go" wouldn't you?  Yeah, I'm sure you've figured it out, but if you live in any proximity to the NSS World Headquarters, you'll know it is RIGHT HERE!

A view from the trail.  Are we in the Black Hills or
are we at Tahoe?
It feels like there's something happening here in the Black Hills when it comes to mountain biking.  We've got big bike companies here (SRAM), we've got big companies naming bikes after places here, and as I've said, we have some big stuff going on with endurance racing, two new races in the Tatanka 100 and the Black Hills Back 40, a 4th year of the BAM and finishing the summer with the Dakota Five-O, which sold out its 600 slots in 4 hours!  In addition, we've got the Black Hills Fat Tire Festival, which is a top notch event, even if Mother Nature wants to throw the screws to it every year.

If racing a LONG ways isn't your thing, there are tons and tons of trails for everything from beginner to top level riders.  We truly live in a mountain bike mecca, it is just a matter of time before the devout start making their pilgrimage here.  I've ridden in California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and even Nebraska and I can honestly say the riding here rivals the best riding in any of those states AND the best part is a lot of the riding is right out your door, no need to drive for hours to get to sweet trails.

The secret is getting out that we are a jewel in the middle of the sea of Great Plains, something we've all known for a long time.  As a local, you probably want to keep this secret for yourself, but there isn't much we can do to stop it, so start getting your stories ready, you can start it out, "I remember when..."

1 comment:

  1. Well said, great write-up! I also believe the Black Hills is the next endurance mecca. In only it's second year, the has over 200 runners registered from 32 states, 3 provinces of Canada, Germany, Great Britain, Italy and Japan. The secret is getting out.