Maah Dah Hey in a Day . . . what bike to ride?
I'd like some input from locals on bike choices for the MDH.
I've ridden the full trail many years ago, but the memory of that ride is dominated by clay mud hell we endured one afternoon (yes, the classic carrying of 80 pound mud-laden bikes). My memory of the actual trail surface on the other 80 miles of trail is lacking.
Typically I'd take a nice, light 4" travel 29er. But I won't have that option on this trip. I'll be travelling with a Yeti SB95 built fairly burly (32 pounds) and a very light Scott carbon 29er hardtail.
Which am I likely to regret more: the beating I take after 12+ hours on a hardtail, or the cumulative burden of a 32 pound beast?
I'm sort of leaning toward the hardtail because my memory, albeit vague, is off some fairly smooth trail. But only 5 miles of cow-perforated dried mud would quickly shift that preference to the SB95.
Rode Maah Daah Hey 2/Plumley Draw a couple weeks ago. Rode south to north (into town). Ended up being lots of climbing that way (would ride north to south next time). That said, most of the trail is fairly smooth but there were parts where the horses or cows had pitted out the trail and I was glad I was riding my SB95a. Had a couple buddies on hard tails and they did just fine but had to hike a bike in a couple of really pitted out areas (they were 26er HTs). SB95a, though heavy, climbed like a champ even when the HT guys had to hike up a couple of steep inclines (maybe that was the engine, not the bike). I'm sure it'll be a good time no matter what bike you ride!
I was just on the Maah Daah Hey a couple weeks ago. Our group had planned to do a supported tour of the whole trail, but we weren't able to for a couple of reasons.
One of the reasons was that the trail is in especially rough shape right now, which would make it harder to do the trail in a day. I'd encourage you to give Dakota Cyclery in Medora a call for more info on trail conditions. Welcome to Dakota Cyclery!
The short version of the story is that the area has had a whole lot of rain this summer, and there is also no trail crew due to sequestration. Consequently, there are several sections of the trail that are washed / rutted out. Dakota Cyclery advised us not to ride the first 20 miles because it's very rutted out. We rode north from Elkhorn Camp to the Little Missouri and found several areas where it looked like mudslides had taken out long sections of the trail, which caused quite a bit of hike-a-bike.
The lower portion of the trail south of Medora is in much better shape. We got in a ~20 mile ride going south from Sully Campground, and the trail was awesome, buff, flowy singletrack.
Apologies if you were aware of all this already, but I thought I should mention it just in case.
"Never trust a man in a blue trench coat. Never drive a car when you're dead." -- Tom Waits
Sorry to hijack...
Anyone know approx distance between Magpie Camp and Ice Caves? I want to run trail in AM. I came up with 5.5 miles in searches....anyone confirm this?
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