Av – 9.8 mph
Dis – 82.1 miles
Tm – 08:23 hrs.
Asc – 747 ft.
Today was a horrific, demoralizing, mind numbing day. But I still made eighty-two miles so I can’t complain too much.
The sky ripped open at about 2300, dumping what looked like several water towers worth of water on the Home Motel, and hadn’t stopped by 0700 when I beat feet back to the café for breakfast. It hadn’t let up by 0730, 0800, or 0830 either, so I braced myself for the deluge and was on the road to Huron by 0900.
The ride started out well enough. Light drizzle. No wind. Temps in the mid 60’s. But it got bad fast. I practically watched my thermometer drop into the low 50’s as the rain thickened and assumed a vicious eastward slant right into my face. My speed ticked slower and slower until I was barely cranking out 8 mph on the flats. I concentrated on a spot of road ten feet in front of my bike and bore down hard on the pedals. After fifty mile of this, I still felt surprisingly strong. I had resigned myself to slower speeds and a lower average and accepting that psychological challenge was a step in the right direction. With ten more miles west and twenty miles north to go to Huron, I stopped at a crossroads fuel station to re-energize. Big mistake. After only a few minutes in the convenience store, I knew the warmth of my body would be shocked by going back outside. It was indeed. The wind seemed stronger. The rain seemed harder. The air seemed colder. My shoulders shook and my teeth chattered as I fought with numb fingers to wrestle my Visa and ID back into my handlebar bag. I decided then and there to bulk up.
I pulled my gear bag from my trailer, stepped back into the store and headed straight for the men’s room. I pulled out my Neoprene show covers, waterproof pants, arm warmers, and vest, and finished changing next to the register to the curious stares of onlookers. Better prepared, I stepped back into the tundra-like conditions and made my way west. But within five miles, it had stopped raining. I stripped off my waterproof pants, revealing shear, black cycling tights with reflective side panels, and pushed on. The turn north and the last twenty miles was right into a headwind. It was already 1800 and I knew I’d never make it before dark, so I fished my reflective vest from my trailer bag and clipped my flashing tail light to my seat back. It wasn’t until almost 2000 when I needed my headlight. The sky was just too black to see the fog line.
I finally pulled into Huron at about 2030 and made contact with Dale about him joining me for the trip. I had been off the radar almost four days due to bad cell reception, and the concern of some was apparent. I agreed that Dale meet me in Pierre on Tuesday, about 110 miles west of Huron. I have two days to cover the mileage, hopefully get ahead to make Tuesday a short day, and then relax in a hot tub for the final three day push home.
Here’s to good time, good friends, and good rides.