A tough 71 miles into Sioux Falls to wrap up my 2019 segment of this multi-year coast-to-coast journey. Our planned 7am departure was delayed a couple hours due to heavy thunderstorms, wind, and hail. Not ideal biking weather. The thunderstorms moved out, but the wind remained – a brutal 30 mile per hour headwind, with gusts in the 40s.
A group of us formed into a pace line and took quarter-mile pulls into the ferocious head wind, crawling along at 10 miles per hour. A really tough slog. Slowly, steadily, we inched our way to the halfway point and enjoyed a sheltered lunch in a gas station deli. It was amazingly gratifying to hear sounds other than howling winds. And to be able to communicate by voice.
Fueled and rested, the team set out for the second half and found the going a bit easier. We either had a really good lunch, or the winds were starting to diminish. Maybe a bit of both. Miraculously, the winds vanished around mile 50 and the pace line was now zooming along at a 20 mph clip. What a difference.
At the small town of Hartford, I was warmly greeted by an awesome cheering section on the side of the road – my wife Jackie and mother-in-law Bonnie. It was a quick 10 miles into Sioux Falls from there, and completion of this 2 week segment.
A spectacular two weeks of riding – from the Tetons of Wyoming to the Badlands of South Dakota. Staying in small towns like DuBois, Lusk, Wall, and Murdo. Meeting new friends and sharing the spirit of adventure. Part of me wants to keep riding, and another part says it’s a good time to stop and save up for next year.
So let’s do it again next year! If all goes as planned, 2020 will be a two week ride from Sioux Falls to Niagara Falls. Thanks for following the blog, and stay tuned for more.