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)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Day 25 -- July 15th -- Pierre, SD to Chamberlain, SD

Miles Ridden: 83.4
Avg Speed: 16.6 mph
Avg Heart Rate: 113 bpm
Climbing: 2,372 ft
Calories Burned: 1,778 (need to recalibrate)

Rolling along the Missouri River ... big chase ... a few hills ... nice then rough roads ... first day with new jersey

Today' route and map --

How many cyclists does it take to bring a McDonalds to a standstill? Well, about 20. A bunch of us opted to have breakfast there as opposed to the standard (and meager) offerings at the hotel. Barbara employed her seasoned organizational skills to help push the process along and pay for everybody. The Geldings quickly loaded and headed out a little before 7AM. The first 20 or so miles closely followed the Missouri River along a glorious stretch of Route 34. The shoulder was wide and the surface was smooth as silk. It was flat and we had a brisk wind that was mostly a cross wind, but pushed us along somewhat too. What a perfect hour of cycling.

The road changed and ran away from the river as we made our first climb of the day. You could see the elevation change for miles. The climb was quick with grades of 5-9% and maybe 300 feet. We were rewarded with nice views of the river. Within a few miles we hit the first SAG stop in Duke’s wheat field. It was also the official half way point of our cross country trip. The time is just flying by … hard to imagine I will be back in New England in just another 3 ½ weeks. I am looking forward to seeing everyone and spending some overdue quality time with family and friends. Duke was the three legged dog who lives at the farm where the SAG was set up. He played a mean game of fetch.

The road continued to move away from the river and began a gentle ascent back up to around 2,000 feet. I had been riding well with the guys, but hit a wall around mile 40. The wall was not a hill in the road … it was within me. My legs just felt like 100 pound weights. I lagged behind and sent the boys on. I kept up a slow, but steady pace and worked through it. “It” lasted about two miles before I regained my form. Once I was feeling strong again, it was off to the races. I was in hot pursuit of the gang. It took me about 5 miles to catch them and I was cruising. My adrenaline pushed me right past them. We reconnected and I quickly took a very fast pull just before the road back toward the river. We stopped a store in Stephan before heading out again.

The road was pretty beat up as we meandered our way back to the river past hay fields and Crow Creek (Lakota and Sioux) Indian reservation. The second SAG lay across from a small casino. I guess the locals can get a little rowdy. The convenience store had a sign that said “Any verbal or physical altercations would result in banishment from this establishment.” I kept my mouth shut and bought a Gatorade.

From the SAG we continued to roll through the Crow Creek reservation toward the river. The last ten miles included two solid climbs that averaged about 6-7% but had a few pops of 10+. Like our first climb, you could see what was coming for awhile. Views of the river did not disappoint. The road was way too beat up to power down the descents. Expansion joints added to the bumpy ride. Jeff powered up first hill entirely standing … I found a nice consistent pace and alternated between seated and standing pretty evenly. Barbara set the box truck up a little before the peak of the first climb so we could fill our bottles. The approach and descent into Chamberlain revealed a duo of bridges crossing the Missouri.

I stopped in town to check out a few sculptures and also took a quick perusal through the Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center.  Nice display and overview of the Lakota people. The center is part of the St. Josephs Indian School. Chamberlain has a quaint one road downtown reminiscent of the 1950’s. After checking in, the Geldings headed to a McDonalds (hmm, my second visit today) for a quick burger and a smoothie. I took a nice nap and was the last one to pick up my luggage! Dinner was fried chicken at the Anchor Grille in town. One of the waitresses was heading to Baltimore for a baseball weekend and I gave her some pointers on things to do and see. The DQ was too far to walk, so I went in search of some jelly beans … settled for fruit slices and another post card for Leah.

A relatively easy and flat day tomorrow (just need to climb out of town first) to Mitchell (home of the Corn Palace). Rest day this weekend in Sioux Falls.

Good night moon … good night Missouri River … good night Lakota people … good night cool jerseys (even if they were supposed be full zip) … good night mechanic tweaked front derailleur (Jim had to clean and adjust it as it was not shifting up real well late in the day)