We've had 7 days now at or above 90 degrees....the average is 3 days. This is a weather pattern more typical around the 4th of July, not late August. The low temp August 25 & 26 was 80 degrees marking the latest 80 degree low ever recorded in Minneapolis/St. Paul. The hot atmosphere is bound to give and it will this weekend.
Saturday: Last hot day. H: 89 Wind: SW 2
Saturday night: Thunderstorms signal the arrival of the cool front. Meager rainfall amounts but maybe some hail. L: 69 Wind: SW to NW 7
Sunday: Partly sunny. Breezy & 10 degrees cooler. H: 79 L: 58 Wind: NW 10-15
Monday: Sunny, staying cool. H: 75 L: 56 Wind: NW 2-4
Tuesday: Sunny. H: 78 L: 60 Wind: SW 7
Wednesday: Clear, rebounding temps. H: 80 L: 64 Wind: W 2-4
North Dakota Badlands - Maah Daah Hey Trail
I've been trying to come up with the best adjective to describe the Maah Daah Hey trail. Rugged? Wild? Exposed? Awesome? We tackled America's longest stretch of singletrack in late August of 2013 and lived to tell about it.
We were fortunate enough to have ridden this untamed territory the weekend after the Maah Daah Hey 100 Race. The trail was in the best shape it had likely been all year. Prior to the race the park service mowed the majority of the trail and after the race the trail had become somewhat worn from the increased tire traffic.
We toyed with the idea of self supporting our ride. While this idea would have been the cheapest it meant we would have to lug all our bike tools, camping gear, cloths and food with us. After talking with several people who had done MDH before we decided to get shuttle service through the great people at Dakota Cyclery. Shuttle service might sound cushy but we are extremely glad we used it!
We started our journey at the Bennett Campground since the northern most CCC Campground trail was closed due to the introduction of elk and big horn sheep back into the area. Before we even got on the trail I got a flat tire and a broken seat post clamp(!). Anyways, we were off on the (brutal) Bennett trail, a 3 mile rutted, overgrown trail that connected with the Maah Daah Hey.
We had a total of 25 miles to ride until the next campground which might not seem like a lot but in the Badlands it can be an eternity. The singletrack is slow, really slow. To make matters worse we had no food as we had left our energy bars in the shuttle trailer! We bonked hard towards the end of our nearly 6 hour ride to the Magpie Camp.
We recuperated at the Magpie Campground where the shade from the sun was heavenly. The next morning we set out for Elkhorn Camp, a good 20 mile trek through some of the most scenic grassland terrain. Devils Pass (my favorite) and the Little Missouri River crossing were the highlights of this section. For the first half of the ride, however, I felt nauseous. Maybe it was the 90+ degree heat...or that big bowl of ramen noodles I had for breakfast.
Along the way we met a group of nice Canadians (since when aren't Canadians nice?) who warned us about how difficult Elkhorn Camp to Wannagan Camp would be as this 3rd leg of the trail was comprised of never-ending climbs. With this information and two solid days of riding behind us, we decided to skip the 3rd leg and shuttle straight to Buffalo Gap Campground. Jennifer, owner of Dakota Cyclery and our shuttler, didn't blame us for skipping the most difficult section. Plus, the Wannagan campground had no shade.
They say people fall in love with mountain biking all over again on the trail from Buffalo Gap to downtown Medora...and we sure did. This final leg of our Badlands biking trip had faster singletrack with more downhills and dust flying off the tires. We rolled into town on two tires and headed to Boots Bar & Grill for the biggest burger and beer.
Big shout out to Dakota Cyclery for setting us up with great shuttle service and saving the day with a new seat post clamp!
A fellow rider, T.C. Worley, once said of the MDH:
I love the Maah Daah Hey - I've done it twice now! But I must admit that it's partly because it is one of the more epic rides I've ever done. It looks far easier on paper than it really is. I don't mean to discourage you, but it is really a serious trail. You'll need tools, many extra tubes, maybe even a spare tire. There are a lot of small cactus and we had probably 8 flats or more between us all on that trip. We also broke 2 chains and had to repair them. One guy broke his hub. So, it's one of the few rides that I would truly call "epic". That term is misused a lot, but I think the MDH deserves it.
I couldn't have said it better myself. The Maah Daah Hey trail is truly "epic".
NWS Twin Cities Weather Story