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The Dusty Bandita 2025

May 31, 2025

Pack of riders on Dusty Bandista Gravel course
Last Updated June 7, 2024 --

The 2025 event date is not confirmed -- Nestled in the rugged beauty of Ovando, Montana, the Dusty Bandita 2025 stands out as a premier women's gravel cycling race, drawing participants from across the country to experience the unique blend of challenging courses and breathtaking landscapes. The event has gained popularity for its thrilling competition, strong emphasis on community engagement, and the celebration of the adventurous spirit of women in cycling.  Strambecco rates the Dusty Bandita 2025 as one of the Best Montana Cycling Race Events and one of the Best Gravel Cycling Events in the Rockies.

Unique Features

Inclusive Adventure: The Dusty Bandita prides itself on fostering an inclusive environment for women in cycling. It's not just a race; it's a celebration of the adventurous spirit and camaraderie among female cyclists. The event's unique emphasis on competition and community creates a welcoming atmosphere for riders of all levels.

Varied Terrain and Scenic Beauty: The race routes wind through the diverse and picturesque landscapes surrounding Ovando. Participants navigate gravel roads, rolling hills, and challenging ascents, offering an actual test of skill while enjoying breathtaking views of Montana's untamed beauty. The Dusty Bandita 2025 combines the thrill of competition with the joy of exploring the great outdoors.  There are two route options to choose from.  The first is 80-ish miles and ~5,500 feet of elevation gain.  The second is 45-ish miles with ~3,000 feet of elevation gain.  You can see the route profile below.

Community Celebration: Ovando's tight-knit community actively engages with the event, turning it into a town-wide celebration. Local businesses contribute to the race atmosphere with impromptu cheering stations, support hubs, and festivities along the routes. The Dusty Bandista is not just a race; it's an immersive experience that brings together locals and participants in a shared celebration of cycling.

Travel and Accommodations

Ovando is a quaint town nestled in the heart of Montana, surrounded by the breathtaking landscapes of the Big Sky Country. It is conveniently located approximately 80 miles northwest of Helena, the state capital, and about 90 miles northeast of Missoula. The town's central location makes it accessible for participants and outdoor enthusiasts from these larger cities.

Accommodation Options: Ovando offers a range of accommodation options that cater to various preferences and budgets. Visitors can choose from cozy bed and breakfasts, rustic lodges, and camping options for those seeking a more immersive outdoor experience. Many of these accommodations reflect the town's authentic Western charm, providing participants and travelers a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere.

  1. Bed and Breakfasts: Experience Montana hospitality in one of Ovando's charming bed and breakfast establishments. These accommodations often offer personalized service and a cozy atmosphere.
  2. Lodges and Cabins: Rustic lodges and cabins provide a more secluded and immersive experience, allowing visitors to connect with the surrounding area's natural beauty.
  3. Camping and RV Parks: For those seeking a closer connection to nature, Ovando provides camping and RV park options. Whether it's a tent under the stars or a comfortable RV setup, outdoor enthusiasts can find suitable resting spots.

Local Eateries: Ovando's dining scene complements its small-town charm, offering local eateries serving hearty meals made from fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Visitors can enjoy various dishes that showcase Montana's flavors, providing the perfect fuel for cyclists and a delightful culinary experience for all.

Getting There: Transportation options include driving or flying for participants looking to spend a weekend in Ovando for a cycling event like the Dusty Bandita. The town is accessible by car from Helena and Missoula, and event organizers may arrange shuttle services to facilitate transportation for participants flying into nearby airports.

Ovando's proximity to larger cities and its welcoming accommodations make it an ideal destination for those seeking a weekend escape to participate in a cycling event. The town's rustic charm, outdoor activities, and sense of community during events like the Dusty Bandista contribute to a memorable experience in the heart of Montana's stunning landscapes.

Outdoor Activities in the Region

Beyond the race, Ovando and its surroundings offer a plethora of outdoor activities for an extended stay:

  1. Hiking Trails: Explore nearby trails like the Continental Divide Trail, providing opportunities to witness Montana's stunning wilderness.
  2. Fly Fishing: The Blackfoot River, famous for its scenic beauty, offers excellent fly fishing opportunities for enthusiasts.
  3. Wildlife Viewing: Ovando is a gateway to vast expanses of unspoiled nature, providing ample chances to spot diverse wildlife.

In conclusion, the Dusty Bandita in Ovando, Montana, is not just a race; it's a celebration of women in cycling amidst the rugged beauty of the state. With challenging routes, community engagement, and the allure of Montana's outdoor activities, the Dusty Bandista promises an unforgettable experience for participants and a thrilling long weekend for outdoor enthusiasts.



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Ovando, Montana


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