My ride is over, but the memories will last forever.

A life long dream fulfilled ... a great cause ... new friends ... amazing support

Thanks to everyone who helped make a difference!

I have maxed out the picture space on this blog. To see my postings for Day 42 (August 1st) onward click the link below:

GOTO Mark's Trek - NEW Daily BLOG (August 1st Onward)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Day 21 -- July 11th -- Lusk, WY to Hot Springs, SD

Miles Ridden: 92.7
Avg Speed: 16.4 mph
Avg Heart Rate: 121 bpm
Climbing: 2,480 ft
Calories Burned: 3,857

4th state - South Dakota ...two good climbs ... Black Hills ... a new Philly rides with the Geldings ... dinner in a bowling alley ... Mt Rushmore tomorrow

Another 5AM alarm clock (waking to the duck noise that Leah set on my iPhone), 5:45 luggage load, and a hotel breakfast had us on the road around 6:30.  We passed through what we had not seen of Lusk, WY the night before ... not much.  The Legend of Rawhide parade was fun, even if it was a definitive statement of how to stereotype.  I took a long early pull to wake up my muscles and work out my new cleats.  It was nice to not come out of my pedals.  Soon out of town we picked up a new rider in our group ... and it was a young Philly.  Alex Steussy-Williams from Indiana joined the pace line and did an awesome job all day including several pulls.  Alex is Helen's daughter and considering she trained pretty minimally (she was in Argentina the last four months studying Spanish), she kicked butt.

Our New Philly Alex

Shadows See Green

Our Pace Line ... Alex, Me, Dave, and Joe (Jeff and Mark Were in the Front)

The ride to the first SAG at 35 miles was noticeably different from the other parts of Wyoming ... there was green grass and such.  We also passed a few neat rock formations and small hills.  The terrain was rolling but we descended almost 1,000 feet in the process.

Bright Sunshine Over "Green" Wyoming

Scenery Was Varied and Pleasant

Climbing This Would Be Fun
Our group stayed together occasionally picking up a rider or two for a short while. We had a small headwind until we made a turn on Route 18 in Mule Creek Junction (big metropolis ... a rest area and a coffee shop).  We picked up a light tailwind, but it turned around some during the day.  Ten miles later (at mile 56) we crossed into our 4th state, South Dakota.  Mark Scheer, Daniel and Bruno caught us and we took a nice group shot.  Our mechanic Jim was chief photographer and had seven cameras on his arm for the event.  He even took some pictures for some families of tourists. 

The Long and Unwinding Road

Another Wall Drug Sign ... These Will Get Plentiful The Next Few Days

My 4th State ... South Dakota

Geldings, Our Philly (Alex), Plus Mark, Daniel, and Bruno
The shoulder got mighty different in South Dakota.  The rumble strips were big and deep and did not give us many opportunities to move in and out.  I fell back a short distance a few times but finished with the group at the 2nd SAG in Edgemont.  The store had it all ... a bar, a casinos, a convenience store, a gas station, and a restaurant.  I grabbed some jelly beans and a real Gatorade for the upcoming climbs.

Our First Views of The Black Hills

The Geldings Plus One at The 2nd SAG
The first climb was around 4 miles and over 1,000 feet.  The grade was not too bad (averaged around 5%, maybe kicked up to 6% at the end).  We each rode at our own pace and met up at the top.  Along the way Jeff and I came upon Mike and Matt from California.  They had cracked the rear wheel of their tandem and were waiting for the van.  It will take a few days to get a replacement.  They will get to ride solo the next couple of days on an extra ABB bike and Gary's (of Gary and Margot) bike (he left us again for a few days).  We regrouped for the descent and then rode against some light to moderate headwinds, but I was a little tired from the climb, so I sent the team on.

Descent After the Big Climb
I stopped to take a few shots of some of the hills and cattle (we are starting to see the black hills) and to take a quick rest.  It did the trick.  I got a major second win and powered to the base of the final climb.  I could see the Geldings on the climb and kept up my torrid pace.  The climb was only about a mile and maybe 400 feet ... more typical of my training grounds.  I crested the summit just after the group, and in my usual fashion flew down the descent at speeds exceeding 40 mph.  The final descent into Hot Springs was 9%.  There was a DQ right next to the hotel, so we just had to make a stop.  We treated Alex to a well deserved treat and I had yet another strawberry cheesecake blizzard.  R&R time included my first chance to watch the Tour de France ... a bad day for Lance for sure.  He crashed several times and looked like he had been through the war when he finished over 10 minutes behind.  Dinner was at ... yes, a bowling alley.  It wasn't not too bad ... chicken and veggie lasagna.

Great Spot For A Rest

The Cows Said " GOOOOO"
Heading to bed early tonight in preparation for a huge day of climbing and sight seeing tomorrow.  We climb over 5,000 feet in 75 miles and go past the Crazy Horse and Mt. Rushmore sculptures.  We end the day in Rapid City.  My new Garmin 500 bike computer should be waiting for me at Acme Bikes.

Good night moon ... good night pig (and Cathy and her winning team ... awesome and fun pictures) ... good night my new office (sounds like the girls are making some changes at home) ... good night Mike (wish Bill a happy 21st for me and thanks for helping Karen move the furniture) ... good night Leah (Jeff found you quarters from American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands ... do you have those?) ... good night wife (I miss you Babe)