Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Day 24 - Dancing with the Dutch

Day – 24 – Wall South Dakota to Pierre South Dakota (Don’t call it “Pee-air”, it is “Peer” per the locals
“Dancing with the Dutch”
Gerard and overlooking the Missouri River in Pierre SD

Euphoria Meter (1-10): 8
The prairies were wide open and long rolling hills. The hills were not close enough together to have one descent (if you hit it hard) push you significantly up the upcoming ascent. However the terrain was not boring, but 117 miles of these “rollers” was enough to wear me down a bit.

Ride Stats:
Distance: 117.46 miles
Riding Time: 6:16 hours
Max Speed: 35.1 mph
Average Speed: 18.7 mph

The temperature was 51 degrees at the start. The skies were severe clear. We saw a few fluffy clouds near the end of the ride. By the time I arrived just before 1pm, the temperature had risen to 77 degrees. It was a very pleasant day for a bicycle ride. I can’t believe the great weather we’ve had nearly every day for this ride. Today on the weather channel it looked like every part of the country was getting rain except us. Thank you God!

Incidents and Rider Report
Alfredo took the day off again due to pelvic floor issues. I believe he’s only ridden one day so far.

How I Feel (1-10) : 9
A little early on the ride time today (4:30 am wake up), but other than that I felt pretty good.

Stuff happens:
We joke about the “code” times that Mike Munk gives us for events. For example, last night at “rap” he said we would start loading the box (the big truck that hauls our luggage) at 5:15 am. This morning Rich and I were two of the last ones to get our bags on the box at 5:00 am. Mike Munk also told us breakfast would be at 5:30 am at the nearby greasy spoon. I guess the staff at the restaurant took him seriously because when I arrived at 5:10 (five minutes and 15 people behind Rich) there was a line literally out the door of the restaurant consisting exclusively of ABB bikers. The staff didn’t look very excited to see us. The breakfast quality reflected their excitement.
I ate all I could…oatmeal, pancakes, fruit, raisin bran eggs, orange juice. It just so happened that I dined with Dutch Gerard this morning. The two of us ended up riding together at the start about two thirds of the way back. We start slowly side by side. Gerard feels good this morning and picks the pace up a bit. His Dutch counter part, Dacco is further ahead today along with many others. Dacco is known to ride with Bud and Cindy and they move along briskly.
I could include a photo for each of the 117 miles we traveled today and they would all pretty much look like the above. Hard to believe you can peddle for such a long distance and see no vestage of civilization. The capital of South Dakota, Pierre has a population half of Upper Arlington's (15,000).
After the second SAG stop we see them ahead and Gerard picks up the pace without saying a word to me. He smiles widely when we hook on to the back of Cindy’s wheel. Cindy is behind Bud who is behind Dacco.
Dutch Dacco proceeds to pick up the pace now (either that or I proceed to get fatigued, or both). Cindy drops off, Gerard goes back to pull her but she’s not interested in his assistance. I try to stay with Dacco. The terrain is nothing but up and down, up and down today. Dacco is very very good at up. He takes each hill with greater enthusiasm. He is constantly jumping out of his saddle on every incline. It’s now just he and I. He doesn’t say anything, but he seems to be seeing how much I can take. I hang with him for longer than I ever have, probably 15 miles or so. At mile 77 we hit a long ascent that he hits harder than ever. I finally break and he moves on. He’s quite a rider and I am clearly not in his league, but it was fun to try to hang with him for a while and I appreciated the pull. Gerard later reminds me that the Dutch apparently owned Alp Duez (sp?) in the Tour De France as the country with the most victories. He brought a book on the subject with him that Dacco is now reading.
At the next SAG stop Gerard and I hook up again and we finish the ride together. Gerard had a really good day and I had a pretty good day trying to keep up with both him and Dacco. We shower, have a nice lunch, help unload the box and I retire to the room to blog and nap. This is our daily life now, almost half way through the ride. Good thing I enjoy riding my bicycle!

1 comment:

Russ Morgan said...

There's Anto. Almost half way. WOW,I can hardly believe it. I will be following you intermittently from a computer in the Fraser, Colorado library for the next three weeks. Good luck. I look forward to catching up with you again soon.