I decided I liked Howie and Jeff and their leave early beat the heat philosophy. We left at 5:25 before breakfast was served, so we fueled up on a protein bar and headed west out of Gettysburg. The weather had cooled and for the first 15 miles we had the morning breeze at our back. This is going to be a great day!
Howie stretched out his legs and Jeff and I tried to hang on. Howie was playing with us like a cat plays with a ball of yarn. He's a strong rider. Our speeds were 20 to 30 mph.
At 15.5 miles we were treated to a view of Missouri River. Just a mile later we had our first shot at a real breakfast. One quick loop inside Bob's Bait Shop told me I was not hungry after all. Outside I tried to help Ken Zak from Wisconsin reboot his bike computer. Yes, we have computers on our bikes. They have all kinds of data; speed, distance, ride time, GPS route directions, calories burned, elevation gain, hill profiles etc. I was not able to fix it but promised I'd give it another try tonight.
We turned south into the stiffening wind but compared to yesterday it seemed tolerable. We caught Ken Zak and Jesse from Brookings and we decided to work together. It was a great team all day. Ken is a strong rider, and he did a major share of leading our peloton. When I asked him how old he was, I discovered he's 9 years older than me. I want to be like Ken when I grow up.
The hills were more manageable today except for 3 monsters climbing the river bluffs between miles 50 and 60.
We found some snacks at a roadside stand raising money for the Sully Buttes HS Rodeo and Drama Clubs. They said their whole High School was less than 100 students.
At mile 55 there was a church raising money for a mission. Good foods for cyclists are pancakes and pasta, carbs, and sugars. The pulled pork was excellent though with generous portions and lots of sides. We've burned about 4000 calories a day the last 2 days and sometimes eating enough to cover that is like hitting a headwind.
At mile 61 we saw a majestic view of Oahe reservoir and dam. For the next few miles we stopped often to take in the view and snap pictures. I won't say we regret the delay but when we stepped out of the Visitor's Center the wind had stiffened to incredible speeds and the heat off the asphalt was suffocating. We limped in the last 10 miles at slow speeds and with many water stops. It was a great day until that point but, in the end, I was nearly as exhausted as yesterday. This is hard! Tomorrow the forecast is the same, high headwinds and stifling heat. The only thing is it's 84 miles, 10 miles longer and twice the elevation change as today's ride Preparing myself mentally now. Positive attitude, stick to keep pedaling, one hill at a time.
There is much to do here in Pierre. I can send you a list if you like. It’s too hot to expend more energy. Several of us did walk to the nearby capital to view it and the monuments around it. See the pics, it’s really beautiful. The others went for ice cream and I decided to head back. Tonight we go for free pizza at a car dealership. I hope they know how much hungry bikers looking to carb load can eat.
In spite of the challenges, I've loved meeting people from all over.
Sorry this article isn't more colorful, and of interest to non-bikers. I'm going to blame it on the wind. Take a look at the pics. They tell the story better than I.