LET'S DO THIS!
I may have earned a new nickname this year. Last year Wisconsin friend Ken dubbed me "lucky charm." I'm not sure what I did to deserve it, but it stuck, and I kind of liked it. I've certainly been called a lot worse. My usual nickname is kingofun (king of fun). Some people mistake this for king0fun (king zero fun), but that's just because they have no sense of humor. For a brief time I was known as "Eeyore." I can see how those that followed my blog on last year's torture tour could mistakenly think this was appropriate.
I lost a couple steps this year and biking buddies Howie and Jeff gained a couple. At 6 feet, I'm the shorty. Imagine their long, smooth, powerful strides while my legs spin rapidly around the sprockets. Unfortunately, my 2022 title is "Anchorman." It's not a compliment. I've never aspired to be the Ron Burgundy of biking.
Fueled on syrup soaked pancakes, we left optimistic about an easy finishing day. The route was just 64 miles with only 1000 feet of climb. The meteorologist was telling a tale of tailwinds. This turned out to be a fable and the ride was tougher than anticipated. There is no whining on RASDak though. What a great week on a bike!
We arrived in Freeman where they were having their Chislic Festival. It was fantastic!
What were the highlights for the week? The incredible scenery biking through the Black Hills and Badlands is near the top of the list. So are the incredible places we visited off the beaten path. They represent the best of America. Go see them before they disappear.
As someone who is well traveled, I can tell you the best part of every trip is the people. I loved reconnecting with old friends and making new ones too. The people of each of the towns we visited were so warm and welcoming. I will never forget meeting Dave Geisler from Pioneer Auto Museum or Sylvan and Naydene De Haai from Aurora Central Store. While my Sunday emergency dental detour was not a highlight, meeting Dr. Rob Loftus and his two boys was.
Thanks to Kasey and Klara Abbott who plan and lead this trip each year. Thanks to the volunteers who give up an entire week to serve the bikers and indirectly the many great causes benefiting from RASDak. If you're praying people, send one up for longtime volunteers Jim and Jana Muir. They had to leave the trip when Jana's mom passed. While you're at it, remember my Wisconsin friend Ken whose health kept him home from this year's ride.
Thanks for joining me on this journey. At the end of every epic trip there is no place like home and the people you love. After 8 nights of sleeping on gym floors I would like to say I was going to enjoy my own bed, but as I write this my wife is driving us to the airport. If you've enjoyed my blog, join us as we tour the Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary next week. It will be mostly on a river ship, but you can count on some biking adventures, few words, and a lot of pictures.
Scroll below my signature if you want a few statistics on our week of RASDak.
Signing off, Todd Moss, Anchorman
-Riders 181 -From 21 states and Canada -youngest rider 17 -oldest rider 79 -average age 59 (I'm above average) -long route miles I logged 502 -most biking calories burned, 5000 on century day - gas station burritos consumed 0, there's always something to look forward to next year.