I’m very excited about the new bike riding season just around the corner. Richard has put tons of work into planning the schedule for 2017. This year will feature lots of new rides close to Salt Lake City with an increased emphasis on the shorter distances. Hopefully this will encourage more participation from riders who aren’t quite ready to take on the longer distance rides. Highlights for me will be the Yellowstone Series July 13 and the Dirt Road Randonee Aug 5. I put together this handy chart and also a printable version to help with planning.
I (Ken) have been exploring Utah’s dirt roads since 2004, and I believe these two routes rank among the finest bicycle rides anywhere in the country and I hope they will be the highlight of your riding season. (This blog’s banner photo is from the Heber Mountain route.) In all my years of riding these roads, I have never seen another cyclist on them!
Are these rides supported?
No. Come prepared for long stretches without food and water. Both rides have one resupply point where food and water is available at a convenience store. There is no cell coverage on large portions of these rides. Be prepared to deal with your own mechanical issues. The home stretch on the MCDRR will require riding 70 miles without food or water resupply, while the HMDRR has a 55 mile section with no services.
Is the route marked?
No. A cue sheet will be provided. A GPS track of the route can be downloaded from ridewithgps.com. Because many the junctions do not have road signs, GPS navigation is recommended.
What if I don’t make the time limit?
The time limit of 13.5 hours for a 200k brevet applies to these rides. This will be a difficult goal for many cyclists to achieve. We hope that you will view finishing the ride as a major accomplishment and come back next year for another shot if you fail to make the time limit.
What are the road conditions like?
While I am not a big fan of riding gravel roads, I LOVE riding fast hardpack dirt roads in the mountains. Each route contains some sections of gravel, and conditions vary from year to year, but the majority of the dirt is smooth, fast hardpack. There will also be short sections where walking may be required, with a few stream crossings thrown in to keep you on your (wet) feet.
How much of the route is paved?
The MCDRR contains 80 miles of dirt roads and 45 miles of pavement.
The HMDRR contains 64 miles of dirt roads and 63 miles of pavement.
How much climbing is there?
A lot. Both routes contain over 11k’ of climbing.
Should I ride a mountain bike?
A rigid mountain bike would be a good choice for these rides. I would recommend a slick or semi-slick tire as these routes do contain considerable paved sections as well. One important consideration for bike selection is staying comfortable over the ~12 hours that this ride will take.
Should I ride a cross bike?
A cross bike would be a good choice for these rides. I would recommend riding the fattest tire your bike can handle, with a slick or semi-slick tread.
Should I ride a road bike?
A road bike would be a fun choice for these rides if you have experience riding skinny tires on dirt. Most of the roads are smooth and fast. I would recommend a minimum 28mm tire and expect to walk some short sections.
Would these routes make good bikepacking trips?
YES! Much of my initial exploration of these routes was done on overnight bikepacking trips. I hope that anybody who would rather ride these as an overnight trip will start on the Friday before the brevet, and that we will run into each other on the road on Saturday.
Where do I sign up?
Ride registration is handled by Salt Lake Randonneurs. There is a $5 fee for these rides, to cover the cost of printing route sheets. Please note that our club president Richard is recovering from open-heart surgery so the SLR website may not be updated until he is feeling better.