I read something a couple weeks ago about the Argus Leader Tour de Kota. It mentioned a two-day cycling event in Sioux Falls, but didn't say anything about a route for a week-long tour. I didn't think a lot about it until I read this on the Biking Bis blog. After 8 years the TdK is no more. Having made the drive up I-29 three times to ride the TdK, and having been my very first week-long, supported bike tour, I feel kind of sad.
I met some neat folks, and experienced the hospitality and pride of a bunch of small towns in South Dakota. Standing in one of those towns on the first day of my first tour, drinking a Gatorade and eating a sweet roll, I watched my brother-in-law walk up to a guy wearing a Ride The Rockies jersey and ask him what that was like. The next August I found myself driving with him to Gunnison, CO to ride the Colorado Rocky Mountain Bike Tour.
Over the years I've ridden across Kansas with BAK, ridden a BTC, one of the "big" Colorado tours, and returned to the CRMBT four more times, with another scheduled for 2013. And twice more I rode the Tour de Kota around the eastern half of South Dakota. Colorado is my absolute favorite place to ride, but I have a real affection for the rolling hills of South Dakota.
I don't know if I would have ever gone back to do another TdK. I can't pull myself away from the CRMBT, and I would like to do tours in other states; RAGBRAI, BRAN, OK Freewheel, and another BAK someday. But there's a melancholy in knowing that, for the foreseeable future, the Tour de Kota is a thing of the past.