So here I am in Sioux Falls on Rest Day #3, along with Peg, who finally arrived after a few canceled and/or delayed flights, but to me it didn’t matter when she got here as it was wonderful to see her, and to spend the weekend together. It felt like being at home.
Reflecting back on the is past leg of trip, it was probably the toughest 8 days of riding of the trip, almost 700 miles-including 2 centuries with one in close to 100 degree heat, a fair amount of climbing including one day with close to 6,000 feet of climbing, and as an extra bonus, a couple of days with strong head winds. This is also the period where that first exuberance of doing the trip has sort of worn off, and some days just seemed like hard work, but as the Grateful Dead said, “at least I’m enjoying the Ride”. But I got through it, feel strong, and look forward to the balance of the trip. One other rider dropped out this week, and 2 left as a planned exit in Sioux Falls, so we are a slightly smaller group.
Let me say a word about the staff, and the concept of a supported ride versus a self-supported ride. First the staff. Six people, a leader-Jeff, a meal/logistics person-Judy, a route person-Karen, a health person-Pam, 2 mechanics-Jim and Mike, who also does “color commentary” every night at rap about the town/area we are in. These people work really hard to always make us feel like we are safe and sound, even when, while on my bike, I can see NO other people either looking forward or back for as far as the eye can see! It really is quite a feat. In addition, they are always upbeat and enthusiastic, even when they know what lies ahead, as they have all traveled this route MANY times. Before I left for this trip, people would ask me, “why not go on your own?”. It never occurred to me that we would pass through areas of the country where there are 45 miles between a store, in a town of 50 people. How lovely to see the ABB van waiting to give you food, water, or just that little word of support to get you “home” for the night.
Tomorrow it is on to Minnesota and then Wisconsin, with this upcoming leg culminating in a ferry ride across Lake Michigan. I feel good and it should be a great week of riding!