Monday, June 15, 2015 – 64.7 miles
It took a bit longer to get out of camp than I expected. But that’s how the day would shape up. As I headed out I felt good and thought I would have a chance of making good progress. That idea lasted only a little while until I hit the headwinds. I had headwinds most of the day. It started out the first 10 miles with winds coming across the road toward me – almost a crosswind. When a truck would pass me going my direction I would benefit from the draft as they would pull me along a bit. But trucks coming the other direction! They would give me a blast of air filled with sand and grit. Then I turned north and had steady headwinds for the next 22 miles. The challenge with headwinds is that you don’t get a break. Without them you can coast – even on slight downhill slopes – with them you have to pedal the whole time.
I turn west to the little town of Akaska which gave me a brief tailwind. As I rode into town I looked around for a place to buy some food. The map indicated groceries were available. I didn’t see anything obvious, so I stopped and asked a gentleman if there was a store in town. “What do you want to buy?” Well, food, of course. “Go down here three blocks and make a right. Then go on down to the end of the street. There’s a bait shop there that serves food, as well as you can buy junk food kind of stuff.” So to the bait shop I went for lunch! Before I go on, I need to take you back to the night before. When I was at the C-Store looking for food, I was counting calories but not in the usual dieting way. I was looking for how much calories I could get. You burn a lot of calories on the bike and don’t want to get into too much of a deficit. So here I am ordering a grilled cheese sandwich with fries and they ask me what I want to drink, and without thinking I ask for a diet Coke. As I’m sitting down at the table eating I had a good laugh at myself.
After my lunch at the bait shop I headed north out of town. The road turned to gravel for about 13 miles. This wasn’t too bad as I have fat tires on the bike for this very reason and on can usually find a hard packed area to ride on, away from the loose gravel. I noticed how much water was standing in places – sometimes coming half way up the fence posts. They clearly have received a lot of rain. I stopped at a farm house to get some water out of a spigot and was greeted by a shy but friendly German Sheppard size dog. I would have spent more time making her acquaintance except for another result of the recent rains – mosquitos.
The final 15 miles into Mobridge included three really brutal climbs with the ever present headwinds doing their best to deny you the summit. It took 8 hours to go the 64 miles.
I’m exhausted and staying in a motel tonight as it will be raining in the morning. Across the street from the motel was a Supper Club. I’ve seen one of these before. Basically, it’s a small restaurant that is only open for supper and usually serves steak and fish. I had their soup and salad bar – all you can eat – with a side of potato. It was a simple salad bar but contained beans and a spaghetti dish – carbs and protein – that were just what I needed. The soup was a delicious tomato rice soup.
Sometimes goals are fun. Sometimes they are hard work but it feels good to have made it.