WHAT IS MONTANA BIKE ODYSSEY?
Montana Bike Odyssey is a self supported bicycle race spanning 1,746 miles and over 100,000’ of climbing around Montana ( Full Disclosure- 58 miles are in Idaho)
The route has 621 miles of paved roads. Some short sections will have moderate traffic, others are rarely traveled single lane mountain roads.
There are 1065 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 50 miles of paved dedicated bike path, mostly in the Bitterroot Valley between Hamilton and Lolo and 10 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 2024 Montana Bike Odyssey...BUT,
All riders must make a minimum donation of $50 to one or more of the selected three bike related non-profit organizations. Go to the Donations page to learn more
As a thank you for donating, all registered riders that email us a copy of their donation receipt will receive a limited addition signed and numbered lino cut print commemorating the 2022 MBO race created by race co-director Graham
All riders WILL have to pay for the race tracking service directly to Follow My Challenge USA and either provide their own private tracking device or rent one from Follow My Challenge USA
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.
HOW DO I SIGN UP FOR THE 2023 MONTANA BIKE ODYSSEY?
If you are interested in riding, please fill out the inquiry form on the HOME page. Registration begins Jan 3rd 2024. 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. After signing and returning the forms as well as emailing proof of your donation(s) you will be officially registered and shown on this year's roster.
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 bikepacking- SPREAD THE LOVE
WHO ENFORCES THE RULES?
The race directors have the final say if there are any rules infractions. In general, it is your responsibility to know and 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, having ridden the route 4 times now, I choose to ride on 2.1"- 2.25" tires. Last year's winner rode 45mm tires and previous winners have been on 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. You are welcome to self film as much as you want! And really, does every ultra race really need it's own film?
IS THERE A TIME LIMIT?
Yes, sort of....We have stated that riders need to finish before 11:59pm on Sept. 23th to have their time listed. You are welcome to continue after this "cut-off" and be listed as a finisher BUT, ...Winter is not far behind you, keep moving forward!
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 (required). Please read the information regarding biking in bear country on the Resources page. I have ridden the complete course three times and have seen both black bears and grizzly bears each time. All riders are required to carry bear spray.