Terrible and Wonderful

Today’s ride was both one of the best and worst rides yet. I rode the majority of the day with May and Cookie, which proved to be the best decision I could have made. Here’s a breakdown of the day.

the terrible
It was hot. Ridiculously hot. Computer reading over 110 on the blacktop hot. Also, a good 30 miles were bumpy or had very consistent, deep cracks that couldn’t be avoided. My hand was (is) in an incredible amount of pain. I bonked a few times from the heat and pain. My group was in the saddle for just about 7 hours. Oh, and there are grass fires in the region, so smoke inhalation was enjoyed by all. Also, headwinds.

the wonderful
Everything else. This morning was fairly cool since we left Winner, SD around 6:45am. It was overcast with a pretty heavy tailwind for the first few miles. Sam W and Lauren were also with us up until mile 50 or so, which made for fun conversation. We played with puppies at first lunch (mile 27), saw some bison, and petted a horse and her foal. The horse totally nuzzled me.

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We stopped at a gas station in Mission around mile 42 and got some really great triple caffeine iced coffee. Exactly what we needed. They also let us fill our Camelbaks with ice, which is always a treat. Around mile 50, we entered some breathtaking scenery and a ginormous hill. I think I reached 30mph descending, and 7mph ascending. It was at this next rest stop that May, Cookie, and I began losing it and giving in to the insanity of the day. With 40 miles remaining, we moved on towards second lunch at mile 62. You’d be amazed at how wonderful something like turning left feels when you’ve been on one road for nearly 50 miles. Second lunch was brief, me eating an ear of corn and a vast quantity of almond biscotti. We decided that nothing in our coolers looked too appetizing, so we finished our conversations and went out for the last 33 miles.

Desolate. That’s what this part of South Dakota was like. Just, nothingness. If it weren’t for my riding partners today, I’d have thrown in the towel. At mile 63ish we got a text from Lindsay that a farmer up at mile 73 was letting us uses their hose for ice cold water. Yay! We sang many songs to help pass the time. When mile 73 arrived and there was no hose, I got a little anxious. It finally appeared at 75ish, with other B&Bers and owner Cary Bryant was standing there ready to hose us off and fill our Camelbaks. It was so icy cold and wonderful. I doused my entire head in a thick stream of ice water (our host tonight is not air conditioned; I miss that cold water already). We learned that we had apparently crossed into Nebraska about two miles back. Tired, we took to the shade of a tree and chatted for a while as we ate more snacks. Our next landmark was a gas station at mile 79. We made it there and indulged in more snacks. Also: contemplated things like hitch hiking in a pickup truck, riding over glass so we’d have to get in the van, and settling down in that small town forever. We instead opted to douse ourselves in more water and keep riding. The next 15 miles are a blur of songs, jokes, and loud complaining noises. We found Gladys (our support van) at mile 85 helping Christine with a flat and bringing ice water to those still on the road. Chris questioned if I should finish the day, but I was adamant. I bonked hard at 90, consuming 4 Shot Bloks and some obnoxiously hot Gatorade. More songs and motivational words took us through the last 5 miles. We pulled up to our host for the night, Cody, NE High School, and laid motionless in the grass for a good 10 minutes. I was still in pain, but finishing a 95 mile hilly day helped remove some of the sting. I know I couldn’t have done it without May and Cookie today. They saved my butt.

One cheeseburger, curly fries, and a turkey sandwich later, I’m ready to pass out. Onto Chadron, NE tomorrow, then a day off (we might go to Mt Rushmore and the Badlands), then Wyoming!

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Comments
One Response to “Terrible and Wonderful”
  1. Ernie says:

    great post, thanks for sharing.
    ernie

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