Transition Day

In Rapid City it stayed warm enough all night that I never woke up chilly. I slept great with the tent flaps open. That was the good news. The bad news was that that meant it was going to be hot. See the 2018 post for the sculpted trees at the fairgrounds.

It was a short (74 miles) relatively flat day, with mostly tailwinds. We are headed for the Badlands, riding through what one rider dubbed the “Worselands”. The plan was to finish before noon and before the temperature reached 90 degrees (32 C). I succeeded in the former, but the temperature was 92 degrees. It is 97 (36 C) as I write this. At 97 degrees there is no windchill.

We had picnic in Scenic. I’m guessing they gave the town that name in an attempt to draw tourists. It didn’t work. It is a ghost town. I think we saw the half dozen remaining residents sitting in their back yard.

Welcome to Scenic
The other side of the street – all buildings are abandoned
The scenery

At the first water stop, The Datameister informed us of the number of feet we had climbed and the percentage of the day’s climbing we had completed. Another rider said “Too much information” and I asked what percentage of the day’s fun we had had. I got a couple of knowing smiles. I’m not sure how to measure Fun Units or Fun Units/hour. That’s okay as it is entirely unnecessary.

Our last water stop at 66 miles featured ice water. Drinking lukewarm or warmer water gets old. Cold water was great! Even better was the water after arrival in Interior. The first water was cold, sweetened, and caffeinated (Dr Pepper) and the subsequent water was filtered through malted barley and hops. I did my best to support the local economy with a honey weizen from from Montana and a lager from South Dakota.

Setting up the tent was big fun, with a 15-20 mph gusty wind that tended to change directions, trying to fly the tent in different directions. It dried the laundry very quickly. I hung out in the air-conditioned campground office/store/restaurant chatting and hydrating.

We’ve had the same caterer for a couple of days, following us across the state. She’ll be here for dinner again tonight. Tomorrow will be breakfast in the Badlands after a short ride, then we explore the Badlands before visiting the famous Wall Drug on our way to Philip. See the 2018 post for the plumbing here, with a urinal that includes iron, brass, and copper all within a few inches, and a bubbler (drinking fountain) valve to actuate it. If you’re not a plumber, that may not interest you.

The campground has a pool, but that requires being in the sun. With my biker tan, the newly-exposed areas would likely burn ni minutes. On the other hand, the shade I’m currently using is disappearing quickly. My hands are still in shade, but the screen and top row of the keyboard are now in sun.

…my work cut out for me.

I signed up for a century ride in two months – and another one the next week. Until today, I hadn’t ridden more than 40 miles in a day since last October. Personal commitments tied up my weekends when it wasn’t raining, and Wednesday night rides are usually only 30-40 miles in order to get them in after work and before dark.

Then there’s the little matter of a broken big toe, which kept me away from Wednesday night rides for a few weeks. Today was finally the day to start training in earnest. The forecast was for a high of 90 degrees (32 C). The ride started at 8 so we could get in some miles before it got hot, though it was already 75 (24) when we started.

I let the fast group go, recognizing someone I tried to keep up with last year. 20+ mph for 70 miles is not for me. I settled in with a group of 4 at a comfortable pace. One guy lagged behind and, when I stopped to read some texts, he caught up and he told he was going to “take it easy” because of the heat. I later found that meant “take it easy” until it got hot. Another rider lagged behind on the hills but set a fast pace on the flats. We yo-yoed through the morning. When we got to the straight, flattish, and windy section at the end, he disappeared off the front.

The first 35 miles were fine. We stopped for water and snacks and headed out a little more slowly, into the McKenzie Environmental Center, where we saw a small herd of bison grazing. It’s not every day you see bison in Wisconsin. At mile 50 I knew it would be a long day. The wind was beginning to be a factor. Give me hills over wind any day. At mile 60 I felt cramps. Since I know anatomy, I knew exactly which muscles were cramping, not that that helps any.

At mile 65 I felt all four heads of my quads seize on both legs. I had just enough time to get off the bike and walk stiff-legged to a wall in the shade to lean and try to stretch. I knew I had to stay on my feet. If I got down, I might not make it back up. I couldn’t stretch my quads without causing my hamstrings to spasm. I had to just stand there a while, slowly bending one knee at a time, to let them stretch. I finished the last of my water and my last electrolyte gummy. I had consumed a 6-pack of gummies (usually one or two suffice), and five bottles of water and other liquids. Still not enough. I rode slowly back to the car and drank the bottle of water that was waiting for me. Then it was time to start returning all the fluids I borrowed for the day. Despite the stops to relieve cramps, and the painfully slow last few miles, I had managed 68 miles and averaged >15mph. Maybe I’ll be ready in September. After a cool shower, I sat down to watch the Olympics and let others do the work.

I needed to replace those lost electrolytes. I made ½ gallon of margaritas for a retirement party at work. One of those quart Mason jars was drained but there was some left in the second jar. Lime juice is good, right? (Magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, but no sodium) Salt on the rim of the glass replaced the sodium.