Pierre, SD – and now our day of rest

It rained most of the night in Philip, which did nothing to dissipate the smell of cow manure. Packing up was easy after sleeping in the gym. I could get used to that. Nothing was wet.

It was cloudy and cool, but minimal chances of rain – a good day for a bike ride. We rode US 14 all day, starting east, turning north, then back to east at mile 47 – with an easterly wind picking up, the second half of the ride became an effort to crank out the miles. My speed was about half of my normal cruising speed. After picnic I saw a pair of red jerseys ahead. It is nice, on hard days, to see someone else out there. I think, “If they can do this, I can do this.” Unfortunately, the red jerseys began to disappear in the distance. Having someone to follow isn’t the same if they disappear in the distance. About the same time as the wind picked up, the pavement deteriorated to a rough chipseal. My two nemeses are headwind and rough pavement. Add oppressive heat and I’m done for.

The forecast included a chance of rain in Pierre in the afternoon. Getting in early seemed like a good idea. But hotel check in was 3 PM so getting there too early wasn’t a good plan. Instead of rain, the clouds parted and it became sunny and warm as we neared Pierre.

I’d finally had enough and had to stop to stretch, breathe, and just look at the scenery: mostly green rolling hills, punctuated by the gold of ripe winter wheat. A group of five riders came by and I decided the day might go better if I latched on, so I got back on the bike and caught them on the next hill. While we were still going 8-10 mph into the wind, it was better to suffer together. At mile 75 I got a flat tire and the group rode off. I could find no cause for the flat so I changed the tube, inflated the new one, and headed off.

That worked for 10 miles. At a rough railroad crossing I felt the tire go flat again. I had a patch kit but not another tube. I didn’t really feel like patching a tube with a mile to go, so I tried inflating it to no avail. I walked the last mile. The flats ensured that I wouldn’t arrive before check in time; which wasn’t really a problem, as we crossed the Missouri River and crossed from Mountain to Central Time just before entering Pierre. Tomorrow I’ll try patching both tubes. Bike maintenance will be interesting in a hotel.

Historical marker for a water hole at the confluence of three old trails. It claims the water was “the best in the territory”.
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