WHAT IS MONTANA BIKE ODYSSEY?
Montana Bike Odyssey is a self supported bicycle race spanning 1,776 miles and over 100,000’ of climbing around Montana ( Full Disclosure- 82 miles are in Wyoming)
The route has 755 miles of paved roads. Some short sections will have moderate traffic, others are rarely traveled single lane mountain roads.
There are 970 miles of gravel and dirt roads. These roads range from well maintained "hero gravel" to unmaintained dirt roads that could become P.R.E.M (Potentially Race Ending Mud) during long periods of rain or melting snow.
Lastly, there is around 65 miles of paved dedicated bike path, mostly in the Bitterroot Valley between Hamilton and Lolo and 5 miles of single track high up in the Swan Range along the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route.
WHY IS IT CALLED AN ODYSSEY
A long series of wanderings or adventures, especially when filled with notable experiences, hardships, etc.
An intellectual or spiritual quest: an odyssey of discovery
By definition an odyssey is an extended adventurous voyage or trip. The MBO is certainly that but there is also a component of discovery, intellectual, physical and spiritual that only days in the saddle immersed in the grandeur of the Montana landscape can provide.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
There is no entry fee for the participating in the 2021 Montana Bike Odyssey...BUT,
We are asking all riders to make a minimum donation of $50 to the Adventure Cycling Association, a bike travel related non-profit based in Missoula Montana. You can learn more about Adventure Cycling by following this link-
As a thank you for donating, all riders that email us a copy of their donation receipt will receive a limited addition signed and numbered lino cut print commemorating the 2021 MBO race created by race co-director Graham
All riders WILL have to pay for the race tracking service directly to Trackleaders and either provide their own private tracking device or rent one from Trackleaders
SPOT tracker rental and tracking services- $100
Tracking service (If you already have a SPOT tracker)- $40
ALSO- All riders are required to carry Bear Spray. We might have rental units available. Details to come later.
WILL THERE BE ANY RACE "SWAG" AVAILABLE
No, being a free event there is no budget for swag. BUT, we will be setting up an e-commerce page where riders will be able to purchase race t-shirts, water bottles, cycling caps and for all finishers, the commemorative "Finishers" belt buckle.
HOW DO I SIGN UP FOR THE 2021 MONTANA BIKE ODYSSEY?
If you are interested in riding, please fill out the inquiry form on the HOME page between Feb. 1st 2021 and July 30th 2021. Once we receive your inquiry, we will email you the race manual, rider agreement, release waiver and a link to Register. Please read all of the information carefully and understand the race procedures before registering. Registration closes July 30th 2021. We are limiting the ride to 50 riders.
WHAT ARE THE RULES?
Borrowing for the majority of self supported bicycle races these 7 simple rules will govern the Montana Bike Odyssey.
Riders must ride from the start to finish following the Montana Bicycle Odyssey GPX route.
No drafting. (Not applicable for paired riders)
All forward travel must be self powered
All riders must maintain evidence of their ride
All riders must know, understand and obey local traffic laws
Ride in the spirit of self reliance and equal opportunity.
BE NICE, tip well when eating out, and wave to cars that give you lots of space. You are an ambassador for the sport/lifestyle of bicycling- SPREAD THE LOVE
WHO ENFORCES THE RULES?
The race directors have the final say if there are major rules infractions. In general, it is your responsibility to follow the rules, be respectful and have fun.
WHAT IS THE RIDER AGREEMENT?
The Rider agreement is a document that each racer must read, understand and sign to take part in this event. It sets out the terms and conditions of entry. A copy of this will be sent to all riders that submit an inquiry.
DO I NEED ANY QUALIFICATIONS TO ENTER?
NO. There are no formal qualifications required but experience with long distance cycling and travel in remote back country locations is beneficial. Do not underestimate the length, terrain and remoteness of the route or Montana’s varied weather conditions. Be prepared and always stay acutely aware of your own limitations
WHAT TYPE OF BIKE AND SIZE TIRES DO YOU RECOMMEND?
Any gravel/adventure bike or hard tail mountain bike running tires with a minimum width of 40 mm, preferably set up tubeless would be our recommendation. In the end, the best bike is the one you have!
For reference, I rode a Salsa Fargo with 2.2 Terraval Sparwoods while the other two finishers road gravel bikes with 40mm tires
CAN I HAVE A FILM CREW FOLLOW ME DURING THE RACE?
NO, this ride is meant to be experienced as a solo rider or a pair of riders without the interaction or distraction of a film/support crew.
IS THERE A TIME LIMIT?
YES. The race officially closes at midnight on September 26th. After that time, riders may continue on their own accord to the finish line. Riders crossing the finish line after the cut-off time will be shown as "Finisher" without a time on the Official results page. Please note that the Beartooth Pass typically closes due to snow by the middle of October and there is not an alternate route to the finish. During the 2020 MBO, the Beartooth pass closed for several days due to excessive snow on September 26th.
THERE IS A BEAR ON THE LOGO, WILL I ENCOUNTER BEARS DURING THE RIDE?
MAYBE. Both Grizzly and Black bears inhabit large portions of the landscape that the race crosses.
Be aware, familiarize yourself with protocols for travelling and camping in bear country and carry bear spray. Please read the information regarding biking in bear country on the Resources page. During the 2020 MBO I saw both a black bear and a grizzly bear. All riders are required to carry bear spray.