The ride this morning was spectacular. Nice and easy rolling hills with no wind what so ever as we went into state #5...South Dakota! The climbing that we had today wasnt all that difficult; In fact it was sort of built up on the cue sheets. Steep downhill followed by steep uphill followed by steep downhill.
The highlight of the ride was by far Custer State Park. The road sucked because there was no shoulder, but aside from that the view was great. Long curvy downhill pretty much the whole way with mountains on either side, a nice forest along side the road, and even a creek than ran throughout. Not much wildlife though. We were told to expect lots of buffalo, "Just make sure you dont get to close to them or theyll gouge you!" Towards the end of the park I ran into a whole group of wild donkey on the side of the road. They were swarming a group of stupid tourists who were feeding them cheerios and licorice...somehow they missed they 6 signs that said, "dont feed the animals!"
Once we got out of the park I met up with Nick, the mechanic. He informed me that there were headwinds outside of Rapid City that held 35mph with gusts up to 50mph. Lots of fun. Needless to say that the last 25 miles of the ride were not very easy. Once I got a few miles out of the park I was hit by a strong side wind. I felt as if I was leaning at a 45 degree angle into the wind just to keep from falling over.
After a grueling 10 or so miles I hit a T intersection and started heading directly into the wind, on my way into Rapid City. Holy hell were those winds strong. I probably went the last 15 miles at a steady 10 mph...and even that wasnt very easy. The gusts nearly through you backwards off of your bike. But just like my 112 miles day, the thought of a double shot of espresso kept me going.
I rolled into camp with espresso in hand to find that only about 10 other people had made it in. Amazingly everybody braved the wind and made it back to camp safely. One member of our group, Joe, decided that he wanted to take a detour to see crazy horse and Mt. Rushmore. That turned his 80 miles day into 110. Unfortunately for him, he didnt know about the strong headwinds until he had already taken off. Im writing this at about 7:45 and he just made it in, while I got in at about 2...that gives you an idea of how long it took him.
Thats all for know folks. Im off to party...I think I deserve it after this long week ive had. And hey, its a rest day tomorrow...hooray!