Pre-Riding the Course
PRE-RIDING THE COURSE
Many sections of the course are NOT open to the public, which means it is not possible to pre-ride the course as a whole ride. But there are many ways to pre-ride long sections, and below is a list of our suggestions.
When you get to Big Sky, the first thing you need to do is visit our local shops (Gallatin Alpine Sports or Grizzley Outfitters) and get yourself a copy of our Summer Recreation Map & Guide. You’ll need this!
We’re going to do our best to give you good directions and instructions on how to find, park and ride these sections using a combination of Strava, Mountain Bike Project, and Trailforks. We apologize in advance if it seems vague or difficult to follow!
Again – please do NOT try to pre-ride anything in the Spanish Peaks Neighborhood.
We have a brand new section of trails in the Spanish Peaks Neighborhood for the 60 and 30 mile courses. Yeehaw! We are so lucky to be able to receive a special use permit just for the day of the race to include these private trails in our event. PLEASE DO NOT TRY TO PRE-RIDE THEM. You’ll most likely get lost and end up on their golf course, in someone’s backyard or at the Montage (not a bad place to wind up though, let’s be honest). Their trails are not on Trailforks. And they have a lot of trails that intersect and it can be confusing. Just avoid this. Rest assured we will mark the course really well. There are no crazy surprises in this area of the course – you will be just fine without pre-riding it. Live a little. It’s an adventure, after all.
Mountain to Meadow
The Mountain to Meadow trail, aka M2M, is extremely popular in Big Sky. And once you ride it, you’ll understand why.
A great pre-ride loop would be to start in Town Center at our official start (right outside of BASE – Community Center) and ride the roads through Town Center, up Andesite Road, to where the Poop Chute double-track is, and then climb the Poop Chute -> Huff’s Track -> left on the Dam Road, and follow our Trailforks race route through the Big Sky Resort Village area until you get to the bottom of the Swiftcurrent lift. Then you can climb the Mountain to Meadow climb trail until you get to the Mountain to Meadow descent. You’ll end up at the bottom of the Poop Chute & Andesite road (where you started) and can easily pedal back to town.
The M2M descent is also easy to shuttle, which makes this an ideal pre-ride section for anyone who’s saving their legs, or is pressed for time.
The Yellow Mules
For the 60 Miler Course only.
Pre-Ride Length: 18 miles (as a loop from Ousel Falls Trailhead)
Estimated Time: 3 – 4 hours
For the 60 Milers, you’ll be doing the Yellow Mules Loop in the race. In the 2023 race, you’ll ride up First Yellow Mule and down Second Yellow Mule. Your Aid Station #4 is located at the top of First Yellow Mule, aka the “Whiskey+Bacon Station”.
The trailhead for this loop is the Ousel Falls Trailhead. You’ll ride the Ousel Fall Trail to First Yellow Mule, then turn left onto First Yellow Mule, ride that to the top of Buck Ridge, and then take a right and ride the buck ridge double-track until you arrive at the junction of Second Yellow Mule (turn right) and ride down Second Yellow Mule to complete the loop, and then take the trail back into Ousel Falls Trailhead. Your pre-ride is essentially a lollypop. This is approximately 18 miles with 3,000 ft of vertical gain. We recommend riding this early in the day, as we tend to get storms with electricity later in the afternoons on a regular basis. Bear spray or loud talking is also recommended.
Remember: Ride UP First, DOWN Second
Helpful GPS Map Links:
Ralph’s Pass to the course finish
Ralph’s Pass > Uplands > Hummocks Connector (new!) > Hummocks
Pre-Ride Length: 8 miles (as a loop from Town Center)
Estimated Time: 1 – 1 1/2 hours
We highly suggest pre-riding this. It’s the final stretch of the race, and we think the difficulty of Ralph’s Pass may surprise some folks who didn’t save any gas for the end. There are some technical switchbacks that require some serious power, which after 60 or 30 miles, you will have to dig deep to find.
Racers will ride Ralph’s Pass (eastward) to Uplands. When you get to Uplands, you’ll go RIGHT (different from year’s past), and descend Uplands for about a mile, and then you’ll see a NEW connector off to your right (on a left hairpin turn) – look for the flagging and new tracks. This new connector will take you to Hummocks, turn right on that trail, and then ride Hummocks counter-clockwise all the way to the trailhead. From there, turn right and take the pavement (Aspen Leave Drive) into the finish at Town Center. A great way to pre-ride this would be to park at Town Center, and ride the Ousel Falls Trail to the Ousel Falls Trailhead, then get on Ralph’s Pass from there.
Part of our course is on private land, and we are given permission to use these trails out of the generosity of these private communities. The Fish Camp singletrack trail is one of these trails. Honestly, we’d prefer you didn’t pre-ride it out of respect for the valuable relationship that we’ve established with the Spanish Peaks Community. The Fish Camp trail starts at the top of their community, and is ridden in a downhill direction towards First Yellow Mule. You can see it highlighted on the image of the map here. This trail is part of every course distance – 15, 30 and 60. In each of these course distances, you’ll be climbing on a paved road in the Spanish Peaks private community to reach the Fish Camp trail.
Like we said – we’d prefer you didn’t pre-ride Fish Camp. This trail is flowy, fun and there are no surprises or technical sections. It will be well marked. Pre-riding is really not necessary. If you’re going to pre-ride it, please at least have the courtesy of pedaling to the top of the trail on the roads, and be mindful that you are on private property. DO NOT SHUTTLE THIS TRAIL. Shuttling or parking at the top of this trail puts the entire race in jeopardy. Please do not be that person that ruins the Biggie.