Avg Speed: 13.5 mph
Avg Heart Rate: 122 bpm
Climbing: 5,340 ft
Calories Burned: 4,113
Climbing ... buffalo ... climbing ... Crazy Horse ... climbing ... Mt Rushmore ... climbing ... hail ... 1st flat
Everyone was eagerly anticipating today's climb to Mt Rushmore. Over 5,000 feet and great sights awaited us. Another 6 AM hotel breakfast (thank god for waffle makers) had us on the road by 6:30. My plan (and most of the Geldings) was to focus more on the scenery and less on the speed. The climbs helped us keep the speed down and the sights helped us keep the camera active. After a nice 1.5 mile warm up through Hot Springs and past several of the spas, we started the first climb out of town. I reached for my bottle ... and ... ahh ... they weren't there. I had forgotten to take them out of the fridge at the hotel. That meant a extra three miles round trip to retrieve them. The gang waited while I back tracked much to the amusement of many of the riders passing me as they headed out of town.
|Hot Springs Arch Leads to Museum .. We Turned Left (well most of us ... umm Toronto Mark excluded)|
|Lush Greenery As We Entered ...|
|Wind Cave National Park|
|Within 10 Feet of the Road ... Hello Big Fella|
|Missed the Herd, But Saw This Guy|
|These Suckers Were All Over|
|A Second Buffalo a Little Ways Off|
|Snapped Right Off the Bike|
|A Preview of the Huge Rocks to Come|
|Yabba Dabba Doo ...|
|Crazy Horse Needs A Lot of Work|
|I Was There|
The route to Rushmore was not as tough as I expected ... it helped that ABB brought us in the back way and avoided the heavily traveled tourist route and 10% plus grades. There was a lot of descending and several quick to mid-size climbs that ranged from 6-9%. The rocks began to appear and got larger and larger. I met up with Katie and Helen on the back side of the mountain and snapped a few shots of George from the side.
|The Climb to Rushmore|
|George From The Side|
|Helen and Katie|
|Me and George|
One final push around the side of the mountain brought us to New York City? Well, there were so many people, it could have been. An impressive sight, although it was not quite as big as I expected. A few group shots and the proverbial picking George's nose picture. Toronto Mark and I headed down for the quick descent to the tourist trap of Keystone. We had to keep our speeds down to less than 35 mph, or risk a speeding ticket (bikes and cars alike). Keystone was like Dolly Wood! We waited for ages in a Subway while a family of six painfully pondered each meat, bread, and veggie choice.
|First View of Rushmore From Entrance|
|Flags From Each State|
|My Head is Bigger!|
|Jeff, Mark W, Me, Katie, Joe (Where's Dave?)|
|George Had a Itch|
One more tough, but consistent climb awaited us out of Keystone before we turned on Route 16 toward Rapid City. The road included a natural bridge as the climb started. Route 16 was mostly rolling with a few quick "burst" hills. The clouds began to look nasty and we were in a race against a bad storm. We lost that race as the rain came down just as we hit a stretch of road with marginal shoulders. The storm then added hail. That was the sign to take cover. Mark and I pulled into a motel just opposite the Reptile Gardens. The rain and hail were heavy fro quite a while. The nice folks at the motel gave us towels to dry off a little. After a 20-30 minute wait, Howard, Bob, Steve, and Helen joined our waiting party. Mark and I decided to make a go of it as the hail had stopped (temporarily). Well, that was short-lived. A few pedal strokes and I discovered I had a rear flat. We pulled into a trailer park right next tot the motel to find my roomie Dave who was also waiting out the storm. A pretty easy tube change (the cut was oozing and bubbling water) had us back on the road as the sun finally came back out.
|Up and Out of Keystone|
|Hail Falling ... We Stopped Across From The Reptiles|
The last six miles into town was a up and down and then way down. The road was not good and had almost no shoulder and construction to boot. The final two miles was a steep 6% descent on wet roads ... carefully we pulled off of bust Route 16 toward the back side of the hotel. I kept going toward downtown Rapid City as I had my new Garmin 500 waiting for me at Acme Bicycles. A nice downtown route led to Acme's new store on the west end of town. Burt and his team quickly installed the unit and had me back on the road to the hotel.
|Burt Was Very Helpful ... Forgot to Snap His Picture|
|My New Toy|
|Downtown Rapid City|
Good nigh moon ... good night water bottles ... good night buffalo ... good night George ... good night Abe ... good night Teddy ... good night Tom ... good night hail ... good night new toy