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)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Day 24 -- July 14th -- Wall, SD to Pierre, SD

Miles Ridden: 117.3
Avg Speed: 15.4 mph
Avg Heart Rate: 123 bpm
Climbing: 3,770 ft
Calories Burned: 2,969

Long day ... more rollers and grasshoppers ... strong headwind for 20 miles ... crossed the Missouri and into Central Time Zone

Today' route and map --

Our earliest wake up time (4:45) and best breakfast (Elkton House ... nice buffet with pancakes and ham) had us on the road just after 6:00.  The Geldings were off to the races as we set out for a long day to South Dakota's capital, Pierre.  The first 56 miles were mostly east with a heavy crosswind that helped more than it hurt.  Within a few miles it was clear the boys would again ride faster than I wanted to and given the long day, I let them go.  I was free to ride my ride and go fast when I wanted, go slow when I wanted, stop when I wanted, and chat with other riders.  The terrain descended gently to the first SAG with a few rollers.  More grasslands, farms, horses, and wide open spaces were the theme.

Early Morning ... Rolling Grasslands and Farms

The Local Jail House
At the first SAG I stopped into the the local store and chatted with some locals about our ride.  People are always amazed how far we are riding and how much ground we cover each day.  I rode with John and Todd for awhile, then Beth, before heading out by myself to to the second SAG and a well needed PB&J.  We hit more construction as they were milling the road.  Luckily it was on the left hand side, but we had to ride on a marginal shoulder and when I passed the milling machine I got a nice shower of tar/gravel.  My individually packed wipes (feminine versions I must admit ... basically a wet nap) were put to the test and responded well during clean up.  I flew into the SAG pretty quick ... almost 18.5 mph.

Several Horses Grazing Close to the Road

Typical of Today's Sights

As we had been told at route wrap, our route made a turn to the north for the next 20 miles.  Well, that strong crosswind became a monster headwind.  We had winds of 30 mph with some stronger gusts.  That made even going down hill a huge challenge.  I started out with Bruno, Daniel, Tom, and several other folks in a pace line to try and buffer the wind.  The pace was a little too slow for me and I was feeling good, so I pushed out on my own into the wind.  It was hard work and intense.  I was in a great zone the first 12 miles and really hammered hard (with that wind that still only meant speeds of 8-12 mph).  Each time a truck would go by ... whoosh.  If the truck was with me, I got a short pull.  If it was against me, it was like another gust of headwind.  I slowed a bit as the miles went on, but still emerged from the wind in about two hours.  I was never so happy to take a right hand turn and get out of the wind.

Says It All ... Hard Work!!!

The Best Right Hand Turn I Have Taken in a Long Time

A few miles later I arrived at the final SAG and wet and wonderful watermelon that ABB had set up.  It took me six pieces to test out the taste!  We still had almost 35 miles to get to Pierre, but the winds were once again cross winds and pushed us on a bit.  I rode alone and then joined up with Mark (NJ) and Margot (CT) for a good ways.  The grasshoppers were everywhere ... on my legs, on my bike, in my ears, in my helmet, and I squished toms of them under my tires (crunch, crunch).  After Jeff and Barb positioned the box truck in a strategic water fill up location, I pushed on alone to cruise quickly into Pierre.  There was a good descent followed by a short climb and then a final descent to the Missouri river.  Crossing the river brought me into the Central Time Zone and one of the smallest state capitals in the country.

Hay, Hay, and More Hay ... Grasshoppers Galore
Seems Like They All Wanted to Do This

Dang Varmints

No Comment ...

Missouri River Into Pierre

Looking East ...
On arrival at the hotel I had a nice care package from my girls including my long awaited Mark's Trek jerseys, lots of GU, and a nice card/picture.  Dinner was at the Chinese buffet ... pretty good and a nice selection.  I was not the winner of the ABB poker run at route wrap ... oh well.  We head to Chamberlain tomorrow.  Another 84 miles with a few "walls" (300-500 foot hills that go up quick at 6-10% or more).

A Quick Spin Into Downtown Pierre

South Dakota Capital by The Water
Good night moon ... good night wind ... good night grass hoppers ... good night Mark's Trek jerseys ... good night 24th postcard to Leah ... good night little capital city