It was the best of rides, it was the worst of rides. Overall, it was pretty good. As I wrote in an e-mail to my wife early in the week "I'm suffering, but having fun". I got back home Friday night from a six-day ride through South Dakota, with a brief excursion into northwest Iowa, and later, an overnight stop in Minnesota. The out-of-state overnight was a first for the Argus Leader'sTour de Kota, in it's eighth year.
Saturday, June 16, I drove 400 miles north to Dell Rapids, SD to check in, sign my waiver, and prepare for the week ahead. The main drag through town led to the city park where riders could camp near the Big Sioux River, and enjoy dinner and breakfast without having to leave the park.
Sunday morning after breakfast I packed up camp, dropped of my bags and headed out on a beautiful, sunny morning.
As we rode a little west, a little east, but mostly south, it was a glorious morning for the first half of the 69-mile ride. Slowly it became partly cloudy, but that was okay because it helped the temperature from climbing any faster than it did. But it did climb. It got hot, but even more windy. The last 20 miles from Worthing were straight south into probably the hardest wind into which I've ever ridden. I heard that it was a sustained wind over 30 miles an hour, but all I know is that it blew! And several of the water/food stops that some of the communities were going to set up were not yet there when the first half of the riders went by.
At one point less than 10 miles from the finish, which could take over an hour in those conditions, I was completely out of water. A woman I stopped by gave me a quarter of her last bottle to get me through. We found a water stop about 3 miles from Beresford, our stop for the night, and limped in mid-afternoon. My legs felt fine, but I was slightly nauseous and light-headed. I felt like I had been beat up pretty good by the wind. Some Gatorade, a nap, and a spaghetti supper later, I was feeling better. I read a little and turned in early to be ready for day two. If the wind would blow the same direction, we could make the 62 miles north to Brandon in no time flat!