Day 29: Pushing the Envelope

October 1, 2002
Interior to White River 
75 Miles Google Map

Both mentally and physically exhausted.

Anticipating an unusually long ride ahead of me today, I started it off with a monster pancake breakfast. I ended up needing every mouthful.

As predicted, the wind was blowing out of the north, putting it at my back for the first fifteen miles. But with all the hills I had to deal with, I could not build up a head of steam. After over an hour of up-and-down struggles (mostly up), I could still look back upon the tiny village of Interior where I’d spent the night. Didn’t do much to raise my spirits. I mean, I’m cycling on the Great Plains, for crying out loud. I shouldn’t be encountering this kind of terrain.

For a moment, I sarcastically wondered if maybe there was a second Continental Divide I was laboring up towards. 

After the fifteen miles of southward progress, Highway 44 turned east. Now I had both hills and a mean left-to-right wind to contend with. (And for those who say the U.S. cannot solve its energy needs solely through renewables, let them spend a week in breezy South Dakota.)

Dealing with strong crosswinds for any extended period of time is tough cycling. For example, there’s the danger of losing control when going down a hill and/or meeting a large vehicle. Then there’s the wrestling with the handlebars whenever an extra-strong gust hits.

It was in this manner that I battled through the afternoon, making uneven progress. Finally, I decided I’d suffered enough abuse and was going to go over to the offensive. For the final fifteen miles into White River, I cycled like a man possessed, attacking the two steep inclines towards the end in a state of near fury. I would pay dearly for this recklessness the next day.

I’d made reservations ahead, so even though the motel owners were out for the evening (I got in rather late), they left a note and key for me. After settling in, I did a food run down the street. At the convenience store, as I was getting out my wallet, the key card to my room fell out. I failed to notice this and when I got back to the hotel, spent forty-five minutes of mounting anguish trying to figure out how to get into my room. Since the office was open, I “borrowed” some of the keys attached to the keyboard, hoping one of them might be the master. A nice idea, but no tamale. Salvation eventually arrived in the form of a good samaritan from the store who came by and returned my card. A happy ending, but also an extra layer of stress on top of what had been a very strenuous ride.

They are predicting snow flurries for tomorrow which may be the perfect excuse to take a day off. 

    Today:          75 Miles 
    To Date:  1,451 Miles / 2,335 Kilometers

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