Monday, June 26, 2006

Day 19 - Keystone, SD to Chardon, NE

. Monday, June 26, 2006

Temperature: 69°F
Conditions: Cloudy; Light Rain; Partly Cloudy
Wind: SE 8 mph

Ride Info
Altimeter Trip: 3,230 ft
Altimeter Odometer: 48,770 ft
Maximum Speed: 56.0 mph
Average Speed: 17.4 mph
Distance Trip: 103.1 miles
Distance Odometer: 1,368.6 miles
Elapsed Time: 5 hr 50 min 55 sec

Today was what you call a “put your head down and ride” day. These are days when you don’t really feel like riding and you never seem any closer to your destination. The wind is always in your face, you’re always going uphill, and you legs feel like blocks of wood.

Chip, Jim, and I were back together riding as a group today. We hadn’t ridden much together over the past few days, so it was good to get the band back together. Early on into the ride, there was a super-steep downhill, and I got up to my fastest maximum speed for the trip – 56.0 mph. Everyone was comparing their maximum speeds when they got to base cmap. Most everyone was right at 55 mph. The tandem was the only one to get over 60 mph I was a little disappointed that my highest maximum speed for the whole trip was “only” 56.0 mph. I was hoping to break my record of 62.0 mph speeding down Williams Road into Munnsville, NY.

There was a surprising amount of climbing on this trip. South Dakota and western Nebraska are quite hilly. The hills aren’t super-long or super-steep – just constantly rolling up and down. Chip, Jim, and I would take turns taking a pull and switch off at the top of each successive hill. The hills were sooooo repetitive and the scenery was sooooo boring. It certainly made for a long day. The fact that the wind was generally in our faces and it rained briefly sure didn’t help either. In retrospect, I wish I took more pictures to “prove” how boring the scenery was. But being that digital cameras weren’t around back then and I had to pay for all of the film processing, I was selective in the pictures that I took.

It was “good news – bad news” when we entered Nebraska. Fortunately, it cleared up and the sun started shining once we got into Nebraska. Unfortunately, the roads in Nebraska SUCK MONKEY COCK! Potholes and cracks in the pavement made for a bumpy ride. We were more then four hours into our ride by the time we entered the state so our bodies were pretty beat up by then. The added jolts and jars just added to our fatigue and taxed our mental fortitude. I think that this was the first real “bad day” for me. My average speed of only 17.4 mph reflected this fact. Physically and mentally I was pretty wasted. The constant potholes required that you pay close attention the road so as to avoid them.

Fortunately, we were staying at a school in Chadron, NE, which meant good showers and accommodations. Some people must have been better off today because they were tossing the Frisbee back and forth in the gym during the evening. I just spent the rest of the evening trying to recoup at it would be another long day tomorrow.