Rolling through South Dakota

Hello from Wall, SD. In the past few days we have seen a little of everything. From windy rainy days to sunny hot days with rolling hills that seem to roll on forever.
Friday PM – Members of Ben’s family provided us with dinner on our rest day in Mitchell. They made some of the most amazing veggie/bean burgers that I’ve ever had to go along with Spaghetti. Dessert topped it all as they had cake (to celebrate Ben’s belated birthday!) and homemade Rhubarb Pie!!! (which I must add, Ben helped make and tasted very much like my mother’s rhubarb pie).
Saturday – For me Saturday’s ride was one of the hardest of the summer. I new it was going to be a challenging day as soon as I stepped outside to take my sleeping bag and pad to the van as I was greeted by a fierce wind that was coming from the direction in which we were riding. I rode with Xixi, Yiming, Amy, Fei, Jon S, Nick and Takaya and we formed a dynamic double paceline that we rotated in a counter clockwise rotation for the entire day. Toward the end of the day we ran into a fast moving rain storm that hit us just as we were leaving the last rest stop. Thankfully we were able to grab our rain jackets from the van to partially protect us however with the rain coming down as hard as it was we still got rather soaked. After the rain let up the sun came out and the winds seemed to calm a bit as we approached Chamberlain. (Note when I say a bit I mean calmer than the 30 mph winds we were riding into for most of the day.) When we arrived it Chamberlain we dropped our bikes at the church and then walked next door where we enjoyed ice cream sundees as a reward for a long and windy 80 mile day on the bike. Jon, Nick and myself then biked back up the hill that we had descended down entering town and headed to the high school where they were holding a relay for life event. It was nice to meet people who are also working to help in the fight against cancer as well as many survivors. They had us go up into the press box of the football field where they were playing music and announcing and tell a little about our organization and ourselves. Afterward we met their "Relay Angel" took some photos and walked a lap with her. Overall it was a very positive experience and I encourage anyone who might want to help in the fight against cancer to check out Relay for Life events in their area.
Sunday - On Sunday we rode from Chamberlain to Murdo a distance of about 73 miles. The ride was very "plain" in that there was not much to look at other than rolling grass hills that seemed to roll on for miles on end. We saw some cows here and there along with horses and other animals that you might expect to see in parts of the west/South Dakota along with a turtle which we rescued from the middle of the road and pointed to safety alongside the grassy bank. When we reached Murdo Connie and Andrea made another amazing dinner which we all followed with a trip to the Dairy Shack for ice cream!
Monday – TODAY! Today’s ride was 90 miles and included a change in time as we are now in mountain time! The morning seemed to fly by as we reached mile 42 and lunch right around 11 am. From lunch we continued on another 20 miles until reaching the turn for Badlands National Park. A group of about nine riders decided to brave the conditions and take the Badlands loop through the park while the majority of the rest of the group went to the entrance and turned around to head back to I-90 which we followed to Wall. My back has been a bit sore the past few days so I rode up to the entrance and decided that it looked much like the parts of Utah which I spent a week cycling through last summer and joined up with Jay and Yiming to head back to Wall. We got some pretty awesome tailwinds once we got on 90 and flew to Wall in no time with the wind pushing us the majority of the way. It was a welcome change from the headwinds we saw two days ago. Once we reached wall we changed and headed to the highly anticipated Wall Drug. We have been seeing signs for Wall Drug since Minnesota and the frequency has increased in the past few days to the point that while riding today it seemed as if there were signs every miles if not more often. Yiming and I each got 5 cent coffee and I also bought a homemade maple frosted doughnut and some flavored toffee.

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