Over a Century of the Badlands

South Dakota has had so much in store for us these past few days.

It started when Andrew, Jay and I battled 30 mile per hour winds (with gusts that nearly blew me off the road) to Chamberlain, SD and we also got hit with unbelievable rain that was coming at us sideways. South Dakota is fairly flat, although it has more hills than Illinois, you are able to see for miles for most of our rides. The day Andrew, Jay, and I rode, we were able to look to our left to see the ferocious winds and storm clouds headed our way. Riding at half the speed we normally do (we were riding anywhere between 5-9 mph due to the high winds), we could see the storms coming right towards us. Battling one of the few hills that day, we looked to the right and saw it raining hard over the fields. As the wind directed the storm clouds right in our direction, we sprinted on our bikes to get past these clouds. Seeing sun ahead and riding to get there we thought we could out run the sideways wind and storm. We were dead wrong. The winds blew the hard rain at us and I had to tilt my head to the side so the rain wouldn’t get into my ear. Feeling like it was hailing on us due to the fast winds, I rode as fast as I could, which wasn’t fast at all due to the long day of battling head winds. Finally we rode out of the worst of the storm and rain. The funny part is that we saw the whole thing coming, but could do very little about it.

That day of hard wind and rain was draining, but the next few days of riding seemed to breeze by.

The day we got up to go to Wall, SD we were excited to see the famous Wall Drug. Another great South Dakota attraction, with 5 cent coffee and free ice water. This has been by far my favorite day, because 9 of us (XiXi, Andrew, Nick, Takaya, Rachel, Brad, Stephe, and Fei) all rode an extra 20 miles to ride through The Badlands. The Badlands were hot, but were beautiful. The ride was great and battling tough hills again felt good (until the next day when I was extremely sore). The views were beautiful and definitely worth the $7 park entrance fee. I might add the best $7 I have spent on this trip. The day also was another accomplishment because it was my second Century (100 miles) of the trip, making it more of an accomplishment than before.

Now in Rapid City, SD we are resting up for a trip to Mount Rushmore tomorrow. Anticipating over 300,000 visitors due to the Fourth of July Celebration we will be extra careful and showing our Illini 4000 pride to many people! With less than a  minute left on this computer I must go and ready myself for the next stretch of beautiful scenery and memories that await!!

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