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1  Forums / Ultra Racing / Re: Big Horn Trail Race 2019 on: September 13, 2019, 08:28:56 AM
Such a shame about the death mud, but stoked you guys came out!
2  Forums / Ultra Racing / Re: Big Horn Trail Race 2019 on: September 07, 2019, 11:48:16 AM
Bummer Jill, so sorry to hear that. 
 At least the bar in hyattville was open! 
3  Forums / Ultra Racing / Re: Big Horn Trail Race 2019 on: August 30, 2019, 01:46:01 PM

Is there any recommendation regarding carrying bear spray on this route?  Good idea or overkill?   Also I assume hanging your food from a tree is a good idea? 

I am expecting a challenging and beautiful course.  Getting stoked to explore some new terrain!

Bear spray is probably definitely overkill.  Once upon a time there were big grizzlies here, but now only small black bears. I normally haven't hung my food in the bighorns, but at this time of year it might not be a bad idea.
4  Forums / Ultra Racing / Re: Cloud Peak 500 Gravel Grinder September 20, 2019 on: August 28, 2019, 12:29:18 PM

SPOT tracking signup is here:

If you are renting a SPOT, please register a couple of weeks early to allow time for the unit to ship to Wyoming.
5  Forums / Ultra Racing / Re: Cloud Peak 500 Gravel Grinder September 20, 2019 on: August 27, 2019, 08:00:12 AM

Here is a writeup, all mileages are approximate:

The Cloud Peak 500 is a gravel loop starting and ending in front of the Health Nut health food store in Sheridan, Wyoming.  There is a group start on this route on September 20, and it also works well as a tour, with well spaced resupply options.  Except for one rocky 4wd downhill to keep the gravel bikes honest, the big climbs and fast, rolling terrain can be negotiated with a 2wd vehicle.  Looping the Big Horn Mountains and Cloud Peak Wilderness, the route passes through a number of areas of historic and literary interest.  Many famous authors have written here, and the Bighorn mountains were the site of many battles between Native Americans and white interlopers.  

“History is written by the victors,” said Winston Churchill, and so all historical narratives should be taken with a grain of salt.  This can be seen even in the names of the tribes which called this area home.  For example, the name of the Cheyenne people comes from the Dakota word, “shaiyena,” which means to speak unintelligibly.  The origin of the name “Arapaho” is uncertain, but it may have come from the Pawnee word for trader, or the Crow word for tattoo.  The Arapaho call themselves Hinono'eiteen, while other tribes called them People of the Sky, Cloud People, Blue Cloud Men or Blue Sky People.  The Dakota, the Lakota and the Nakota were commonly referred to as Sioux, short for Nadowessioux, little snakes, a name given by their enemies, the Ojibwe.

The route departs Sheridan on 5th street and Keystone road, which are right on the Bozeman Trail, an important route for settlers and gold seekers in the late 19th century.  There were numerous skirmishes and battles along this trail.   Generally, the Lakota, Arapahoe and Cheyenne hated the Bozeman trail while their enemy, the Crows, were willing to put up with it.

After about 15 miles, the route turns off the Bozeman Trail and reaches Big Horn at mile 30, then past the Bradford Brinton museum of western art a few miles later.  A bit further along, the route passes Road 77 along which runs Little Goose Creek.  The great chiefs Red Cloud and Crazy Horse frequently encamped along this river as did General Crook later on.  The horse movie Flicka was also set at this location. In addition, it is rumored that several members of the Jesse James gang hid out along this creek and Robert LeRoy Parker, better known as  Butch Cassidy spent the summer of 1897 working for the Hillman ranch down this road, writing either it was the “best home I ever had” or  "This is the only home I have ever known.“

As a result of the European laws of primogeniture, where the first born son gets the titles and inheritance, this area was settled in large part by wealthy “second sons” of European nobility who were unlikely to succeed to a title and wanted to be horse and cattle barons. Oliver Henry Wallop, the Earl of Portsmouth, settled in Big Horn in the early 1800’s and became the only person to serve both in Britain’s House of Lords and Wyoming’s House of Representatives.  His descendant, Senator Malcolm Wallop, hosted a visit to Big Horn by Queen Elizabeth II in 1984, and Malcolm’s sister Jean is the Countess of Carnarvon, recently well known from the television show Downton Abbey.  Consistent with this history, Big Horn also hosts the oldest, continuously operating polo field in the US.
From here the route starts getting steep as it ascends Red Grade Road where the gradient occasionally reaches 19%.  Atop this grueling climb, the route provides expansive views into Cloud Peak Valley and the rocky 13,000 foot mountains, Cloud Peak and Blacktooth. As the closest big mountain range to Chicago and the east coast, in the late 19th and early 20th century, this was a  fashionable vacation spot. In 1884 Theodore Roosevelt killed a grizzly here, writing, “This bear was nearly nine feet long and weighed over a thousand pounds.” And Ernest Hemingway stayed here when he was 29 years old, working on A Farewell to Arms, and writing to a friend that he was “lonely as a bastard, was drinking and eating too much, and that his whole life seemed pointless.”

Passing this vista, riders continue rolling through the pines with sightings of moose, elk and deer likely, and at about 85 miles reach the first resupply, Elk View or Bear Lodge.  Both feature restaurants and a small selection of trail food.  If touring, after about 105 miles you can turn off the route for roughly 5 miles and visit Medicine Wheel.  There are about 150 known medicine wheels in Montana, Wyoming, Alberta and Saskatchewan.  The Medicine Mountain area has been used by Native Americans for about 7,000 years.  Arapaho, Bannock, Blackfeet, Cheyenne, Crow, Kootenai-Salish, Plains Cree, Shoshone and Sioux tribes have all used this area for traditional and ceremonial purposes because they believe it harbors unique and powerful spiritual energy.
After a rocky 4x4 descent, the town of Shell comes into view at around 135 miles.  Shell has a motel, campground, limited hot food and some trail food.  There is also a bar with indeterminate hours.  Shell is named for the abundance of fossils and shells found there, and is home to the University of Nebraska and Iowa State University geology field station.
Leaving the high desert of Shell, the route climbs back into the alpine zone and then drops down to Medicine Lodge Archaeological Site at about 175 miles.  This area has been continuously occupied for about 10,000 years, and excavations down ten feet reveal numerous different cultures have resided here.  There is a 750 foot long sandstone bluff covered with over a hundred petroglyphs.  There is also water, green grass and a campground here.

Next is another climb into the alpine zone and then a descent down through the scenic sport climbing mecca of Ten Sleep Canyon and to the town of Ten Sleep at about 225 miles.  There are a couple of restaurants, bars, motels and stores in Ten Sleep.  Ten Sleep’s name comes from Native Americans who stopped here, ten sleeps from either Yellowstone or Casper.  This was also the site of the Spring Creek Raid or Ten Sleep murders where masked cattleman attacked and killed several sheepherders.  These cattlemen were eventually sent to prison, marking the end of the sheep and cattle wars and the end of vigilantism in the region.
Departing Ten Sleep, the route contours through the high desert, eventually reaching a remote BLM campground at about 275 miles.  The Middle Fork of the Powder River campground features water and a blue ribbon trout stream. A little after this, riders pass the turnoff for the famous outlaw hideout, “Hole in The Wall.”  Remote and secluded, with narrow passes, it was easy to defend the Hole in the Wall, and impossible for lawmen to approach with stealth.  The Hole in the Wall has featured in numerous westerns and from around 1870 to 1910 many outlaws such as Kid Curry, Black Jack Ketchum, Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch, the Sundance Kid and others used a small cabin here as a hideout.  The cabin is now preserved in the Old Trail Town Museum in Cody.

A bit more high desert and then a descent to the town of Kaycee at about 330 miles for a good resupply.  Kaycee is in Johnson County, site of the Johnson County Wars.  In 1889, conflict erupted between large landholders and small homesteaders when a harsh winter and a dry summer strained the range to the breaking point.  The conflict lasted almost 4 years and eventually the large landowners brought in 50 hired guns from Texas who shot and hung several innocent people after accusing them of rustling.  President Benjamin Harrison interceded to make sure these hired guns escaped justice.  The Virginian and Shane were written about this war along with the film Heaven’s Gate.  Rooster Cogburn, John Wayne’s character in True Grit, fought in this war on the side of the large landholders.
Next, riders ascend back toward the alpine zone, passing the site of the Dull Knife Fight.  This fight ended the Northern Cheyenne's resistance to the United States for all practical purposes. General Crook telegrammed the War Dept., "This will be a terrible blow to the hostiles, as those Cheyennes were not only their bravest warriors but have been the head and front of most all the raids and deviltry committed in this country."  Dull Knife's followers were left in the freezing November weather without sufficient clothing, and many suffered from frostbite.

Eventually the route descends down Crazy Woman Canyon.  The best known legend of Crazy Woman holds that while traveling, her family was wiped out by Sioux warriors and she was the only survivor.  She supposedly grabbed an axe and killed four Sioux as they fled, and then went crazy before dying of starvation
Buffalo, Wyoming, with full services, is the next resupply at about 405 miles.  Buffalo has enjoyed fame recently as the site of the Longmire series, by local author Craig Johnson, about a fictional, no-nonsense Wyoming sheriff, Walt Longmire.  After Buffalo, riders pass through the “town” of Ucross, at about 430 miles, site of the Ucross Foundation which provides many artists a place to work.  This foundation has hosted such artists as Pulitzer Prize winners Annie Proulx and Doug Wright,  MacArthur Fellows Charles Wuorinen, Sarah Ruhl, and Colson Whitehead, Tony Award-winning composer Adam Guettel, and National Book Award winners Ann Patchett, Jean Valentine and Ha Jin, as well as Elizabeth Gilbert.
 It is about 60 miles back to finish the loop in Sheridan.  If touring, one can head about ten miles off route to the town of Story.  This town is named after Nelson Story who was one of the original people to drive a herd of longhorn cattle from Texas up to the Bozeman Trail.  Numerous books have been based on this type of cattle drive, the most famous of which is probably Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1986.  Story is also the site of the Fetterman Massacre during Red Cloud’s War.  A group of ten warriors from the Lakota, Cheyenne and Arapaho, including Crazy Horse, used taunts and insults to lure the troops out of Fort Phil Kearny.  Once the troops were away from the protection of the fort, a larger band of Native Americans materialized and wiped out all 81 soldiers.  Story is also the site of the Wagon Box Fight where 26 soldiers and 6 civilians were attacked by hundreds of Lakota warriors.  This was allegedly the first time that the defensive tactic of “circling the wagons,” was used.  The soldiers were also armed with new breech-loading Springfield rifles and lever action Henry rifles and were able to hold out, suffering few casualties.

Finally, the route ends in Sheridan, Wyoming’s cowboy town, where Buffalo Bill Cody auditioned live acts from the porch of the Sheridan Inn.  The movies Wild Horses and Endangered Species were filmed here, and it was in Sheridan, in 1986, that MTV hosted the world premiere of Prince’s movie, Under the Cherry Moon. This is also where the tv series “13 Reasons Why” was written by Jay Asher, while he worked as a cashier at the Holiday Gas Station.  Sheridan has full services.
The .gpx and other details can be found at:

6  Forums / Ultra Racing / Re: Cloud Peak 500 Gravel Grinder September 20, 2019 on: August 18, 2019, 08:36:45 AM
The .gpx is here:
Resupply at approximately 60 miles (bear lodge) 130 miles (shell, wy), 235 miles (ten sleep, wy), 335 miles (kaycee, wy), 410 miles (buffalo, wy) 490 miles (sheridan, wy).

 good way to study the route is to convert the .gpx to a .kmz, and then you can view it in google earth:
7  Forums / Ultra Racing / Re: Big Horn Trail Race 2019 on: August 14, 2019, 10:22:46 PM
Spot signup is up at:

If you are renting a SPOT, please make sure to register a couple of weeks in advance to make sure the SPOT devices have time to be shipped to Wyoming.

smorris@topofusion is going to help me snip out the duplicated section.

Okay, Scott Morris fixed the track so it now starts and ends in Buffalo (at city park):  .gpx:
8  Forums / Ultra Racing / Re: Big Horn Trail Race 2019 on: August 11, 2019, 03:15:42 PM
Spot signup is up at:

If you are renting a SPOT, please make sure to register a couple of weeks in advance to make sure the SPOT devices have time to be shipped to Wyoming.

smorris@topofusion is going to help me snip out the duplicated section.
9  Forums / Ultra Racing / Cloud Peak 500 Gravel Grinder September 20, 2019 on: August 11, 2019, 02:42:15 PM

This is a new 500 mile gravel grinder on the lightly traveled backroads of northern Wyoming.

Website is here:

The route encompasses a surprising amount of western and literary history.

The .gpx is here:

SPOT signup is here:

10  Forums / Ultra Racing / Re: Big Horn Trail Race 2019 on: August 11, 2019, 02:28:44 PM
Hey Aaron.  The track on Ride with GPS appears to have an error. It looks like you doubleback around miles 68-90.  What would you estimate your completion time to be for this route?  Assuming a race effort with 4-5 hrs sleep daily?
Yes the route mistakenly doubles back but it stays on the exact same track so it won't be an issue when navigating with gps, it just makes it look like the route is 15 miles longer than it actually is.  I think a Jefe Branham, Kurt Refsnider, Chris Plesko, Jesse Jakomait, Neil Beltchenko type mutant rider can probably finish in about 2.5 days.  A bit longer for the rest of us!
11  Forums / Ultra Racing / Re: Big Horn Trail Race 2019 on: August 01, 2019, 01:03:00 PM
I'm super stoked headbang. We have the air tickets booked. I’m planning to/from route travel logistics and had a few questions:

1. Will the start and end point be in Story? We’re having some challenges with transport from Casper and back.
- Bus: There is a bus from Casper to Buffalo (and back). But it’s one run per day.
- Car rental: I was thinking of a one-way car rental but it looks like the only way would be Casper to Sheridan (and back)

2. Do you have any suggested ways to get to and from the route from Casper?
The route starts and ends in buffalo, so it sounds like the casper buffalo bus should work.  I know the track starts and ends in story, but since its a loop it doesnt really matter.
12  Forums / Ultra Racing / Re: Big Horn Trail Race 2019 on: July 30, 2019, 04:56:33 PM
Aaron, aren't you supposed to be doing the Colorado Trail Race now?
Oh crap, i forgot!...

Just kidding, i fried myself on a very hot training ride and just wasnt ready to take on the ctr (especially since i have accumulated a few too many dnf's lately (even 1 dnf is probably too many)) I also wanted to make sure this route was dialed in.  An itt on the ctr may be in my near future, however.
13  Forums / Ultra Racing / Re: Big Horn Trail Race 2019 on: July 30, 2019, 01:56:47 PM
14  Forums / Ultra Racing / Re: Big Horn Trail Race 2019 on: July 30, 2019, 01:56:21 PM
15  Forums / Ultra Racing / Re: Big Horn Trail Race 2019 on: July 30, 2019, 01:33:11 PM
Okay, the final .gpx is now up!

16  Forums / Ultra Racing / Re: Big Horn Trail Race 2019 on: July 27, 2019, 06:58:19 AM
Gregg and I booked our flights. Game on!

17  Forums / Ultra Racing / Re: Big Horn Trail Race 2019 on: July 25, 2019, 02:38:48 PM
Hi Erin, the route starts and ends in buffalo.  No bike shop there, but i think the sports lure has a bike mechanic, and sheridan has bike shop, also lots of motels in buffalo.  I dont really have plans for shorter route, but you could start one, like buffalo to dayton, and then ride back to buffalo on road.  It is a difficult course, so a shorter option is not a bad idea. I will be there for the start, but if all goes as planned i will be heading out to burning man to collect a bunch of bikes for charity, and so wont be able to do any shuttling this year. 
18  Forums / Ultra Racing / Re: Big Horn Trail Race 2019 on: July 21, 2019, 09:17:19 AM
Thanks to ec_duz_it, the track is up:

Still hoping to make a couple of changes after the CTR, so likely this won't be the final .gpx, but I'll make sure new .gpx is up at least two weeks in advance.
19  Forums / Ultra Racing / Re: Big Horn Trail Race 2019 on: July 19, 2019, 12:25:52 PM
I was trying to put it into ridewithgps, but it kept splitting the track up.  I only have my phone now, but once i signed up, i clicked out of the page, logged in again and then clicked on the route name (which was now highlighted) and a dropdown menu opened with "download" option.  If this doesnt work, pm me and ill email the gpx and kerp trying to fix it for ridewithgps (will probably need smorris
Help hek
20  Forums / Ultra Racing / Re: Big Horn Trail Race 2019 on: July 19, 2019, 09:45:51 AM
Okay, the .gpx is: This is a 350 mile loop course starting and ending in Buffalo, WY on September 6, 2019 at 7:00 a.m.   If I have time, there will be a couple of changes to the .gpx, which will be up at least 2 weeks before start, otherwise the route will stay as it is.
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