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This place needs an enema
17,430 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Had a chance to ride a sizeable chunk of the MDH a few weeks back. I'd packed the bike and pack for a long day-into-night and possibly overnight, hoping to ride the whole trail end-to-end yet not being sure what I was getting into. When I arrived at the TH I learned that, swollen from the wet spring/summer they've been experiencing up thataway, the Little Missouri River was running ~15 feet higher than the locals recommend for 'safe' crossing.

15 feet?

Errrr, um, ok...


So my thru-ride attempt became an out-to-the-river-and-back. Fortunately the river is pretty much the halfway point, so I still got a good ride in.

Fun, fast and flowy.

If you're SS'ing or a notorious masher, bring a spare pair of legs or a backpack-mounted glycogen canister. I felt like He-Man for the first ~30 miles, muscling up everything and refusing to drop to my granny. Then I spent the next 10 hours wondering when I'd been lobotomized...

"Hey you guys! Look!! Poop! Glorious wonderful delicious poop! Numnumnumnumnumnum..."

Apparently I wasn't the only one who'd been lobotomized... ?!

Doesn't get much narrower than this.

OK so maybe it does.

Nice visual stimulation after half a day of rolling hills and grasslands.

Not that there's anything wrong with rolling hills and grasslands...

Crossing any low/wetlands became the mental challenge of the day (well aside from the burst climbs. And the heat. And the aridity. And...) because as the grass got taller and closer to the trail, the number of ticks that found their way onto me increased too. I'd accelerate to get through the thick stuff AFAP, then drop the bike and mash the little bloodsucking bastiges as they sprinted for my socks or armpits. Probably nuked ~25+ that way on the trail (and you can't simply flick them off...), then found four more embedded in various, er... places when I showered that night.

Like between my toes...

Where were you thinking?

Did I say something about need for a backpack mounted glycogen canister? Lotsa short steep stingers in there.

For those planning to go, know that water is available, although only where you find it. Get a map in Medora (S terminus of the trail) at Dakota Cyclery. The route is marked well enough to navigate by, but poorly enough to keep you entertained and focused. The GPS was superfluous until dark, and then it became worth it's weight in unobtanium. Completely and totally non-technical track, with the exception of hidden ruts beneath the taller grasses. Most technical part IMO was the constant tick removal routine. Never seen anything like it. Although you see scads of oil drill rigs out there (they're small, discreet ones :rolleyes:) and cross a few service roads, I only saw one other human all day. He was heading in the other direction, and we merely exchanged nods as we continued about our solitary enjoyment.

Great day on the bike.


amar la vida de dos niner
2,682 Posts
Spent part of my childhood in southern Illinois. I do NOT miss ticks now that I'm in Texas. Blech.

Enjoyed your post, though. Thanks for sharing.

9,122 Posts
Arhhh! Ticks!

I spent a summer in the Ozarks, courtesy of the US Government. I kid you not, those buggers collect at the ends of leaves and tall blades of grass, just waiting for the next deer or mountain biker or newly inducted Private to come swaggering by... and they they jump!

I haven't spent much of any time in the Dakotas, and, thanks to your post, Mike, I don't plan to unless there's a blanket of white on the ground.

Great post. Looks like a bitchin' ride!

6,762 Posts
I've ridden the MDH....

almost every year for the past 6 or so, and can bear witness to the ticks!!! But they only seem to be a problem in years like this one, VERY wet spring and early summer. Seems to bring em on BIG TIME. Usually though the area is almost like high desert, VERY dry in the summer and fall, and very few ticks. Unless of course you are prone to roll in the grass by the river. I know the first year we went up there they were pretty thick, that was back in 96. Best time to hit the MDH is usually around Labor day in September or shortly there after. Pleasant (usually dry) weather, highs in the high 70's to mid 80's and a low tick count! :D And after the Labor Day holiday an even lower tourist count!!!!! :thumbsup: Great post mikesee, brings back some fond memories. Gonna have to make the trip again myself. Thanks

Good Dirt
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