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9.3.4 PAC tours across the country 93 Part 4




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This article is from the Misc Bicycles FAQs, by various authors.

9.3.4 PAC tours across the country 93 Part 4

Day 10 - Moorcroft, WY to Rapid City, SD. 130 miles, 6370' climbing.

After months of driving my co-workers crazy with my paranoia about
getting sick, refusing to sharing keyboards and telephones and such, I
now faced my biggest fear. My roommate had a cold. I had to share a
sink with a sick person. I'm sure I drove her crazy by refusing to
touch the TV remote after she had and constantly washing my hands, but
this ride had been my life for almost a year, and now it could all go
down the tubes. Nancy had already taken a day off, and her focus was
on the RAAM qualifier later in August, so completing this event just
wasn't as important to her. She did make a wise choice to sag on this
day.

We had been warned about part of this day ahead of time. The first
twelve miles of South Dakota were not paved. I looked for the welcome
to South Dakota sign, but only saw one that said "Pavement Ends". We
then hit some hard packed red clay, occasional gravel and mud. They
sprayed water to keep the dust down, but it just helped us coat our
bikes and bodies in red clay. This stuff does not wash out of jerseys
and I will always be able to tell what I wore that day.

Lunch was at the Jewell Cave Visitor Center. I had really hoped to
tour the cave, but the wait was over an hour, and I didn't have that
much time to spare. I did take the time to call home and begged for
new saddles and a Camelbak bladder. I left a frantic message about
saddle sores from hell and feeling really really bad.

We had a lot of climbing after lunch, but at the top of Crazy Horse
Mountain, I just had to stop, take a picture and reflect on the sign I
saw, that said "Never Forget Your Dreams." Suddenly the pain
diminished, and I started putting the ride in perspective again.

Our next stop was at Mt. Rushmore. It was definitely buzzing with
tourists, but was also quite a site to see. A few pictures and a bagel
later, and I was headed down the hill. There are an awful lot of
touristy places around Rapid City, but the one that struck me as
really odd was Reptile Gardens, not so much that they would have a
reptile garden here, but the billboards all had parrots on them, and
last time I checked, parrots aren't reptiles.

As usual our motel was on a big hill, a really, really big hill. I had
to use my lowest gear to get up the thing. Lots of bike washing was
going on when I arrived, and my bike certainly needed it too. I think
I was carrying bricks with me from all the clay caked onto the frame.
Later as I was walking downtown to find a bank machine, I saw a
carwash billboard that said "Welcome Bikers, Hi-Pressure Wash." I
don't believe it was intended for us, but I had to get a picture
anyway!

Rapid City was big enough to have a bike shop with Camelbaks. Thank
goodness. I have used one for so long that I can't seem to figure out
how to use a water bottle, and had a tough time all day.

I ate at my final buffet that evening. I finally realized that you get
what you pay for, lots of really bad food. I stuffed down a few pieces
of pizza, but I just didn't find the food very appetizing, which means
it was really bad!

Day 11 - Rapid City, SD to Murdo, SD. 147 miles, 3180' climbing.

Richard and I rolled out together, but something didn't feel right. I
just didn't seem to have any energy. I had been taking these energy
tablets made by Excel, but didn't take one that morning, and I
suddenly was convinced that they worked. Either that or I had Nancy's
cold. We were fighting headwinds again, and I was losing.

We reached Badlands National Park, and fortunately the scenery was so
inspiring I didn't think too much about how sick I felt. I went
through an entire roll of film. The landscape is more like a
moonscape. It's a result of wind and rain and erosion, and is a
barren, jagged, absolutely beautiful sight for miles and miles.

I've tried to figure out why we had headwinds so much during the trip.
I really thought that predominant winds came from the west, but we
seemed to encounter a lot from the north, south and yes, east. This
afternoon was no exception. The winds, while nothing like the West
Yellowstone day, just slowed me to a crawl.

When I finally reached the motel I was worn out and depressed. My
throat hurt, my head hurt and I felt weak. I knew I had a cold, but I
also was convinced I needed more Excels. I then proceeded to act like
a junkie! I called Terry and left a message to please get me some and
send them to the next town. I then called a friend in Boston and left
the same message. I was really worried that UPS would screw up, so I
was getting insurance. I went to the store and bought lots of juice,
and vitamin C and some sandwich meat and carrots for dinner. I felt
lousy and didn't want to sit in a restaurant. I just went back and
crawled in bed and ate carrots, hoping for more energy the next day.

Day 12 - Murdo, SD to Mitchell, SD. 143 miles, 1690' climbing.

I started out the morning taking an Excel, a lot of iron, and vitamin
C. I had been taking ginseng too, but it cancels out the vitamin C,
which I decided I needed more. Yes, I had now joined the ranks of
Team Pharmaceutical. Between what I was using for saddle sores and
taking for colds, and of course the Motrin for the pain, my little bag
of drugs had grown considerably.

I did feel a lot better. This was to be a pretty dull day, mostly
frontage road near the interstate, mostly flat, but a visit to the
Corn Palace at the end of the day would be a great reward. Richard and
I rolled out together, and warmed up gradually. Richard had a son at
each end of the route, and a daughter in Chicago. His wife was back
home running their inn on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Richard
had abandoned her during the height of the season to do this ride. I'm
sure she was eager to have Richard finish the ride and come help mind
the business. His entire family was very supportive of his efforts,
and very proud. His son in Seattle had started the ride with us, and
his daughter would be meeting us when we were in the Chicago area. By
the way, Richard doesn't restrict his cycling to this long distance
stuff. He also told me about his gold medals in the state senior
games. He was skipping the national event in favor of PAC Tour though.

I later joined up with a small contingent from Team Extreme. Sally had
just started having knee pain. In fact, lots of people on the ride
were. There were evenings when ten or twelve riders would be sitting
against a wall, all lined up with ice on their knees. Sally, who lives
in Denver and trained in the Rockies was a surprise candidate for knee
pain. She had said she wanted to take things a little easier and I
tried to help enforce the "noodling" she said she wanted to do, but
her noodling license had to be revoked as she began hammering again.

We met up with Lon and Rebecca tandeming again. I don't think Rebecca
got to ride quite as much as she wanted to, but today's flat route was
a perfect opportunity to get out and ride fast. The scenery along the
Interstate left something to be desired, but at least the roads
weren't rough.

We had one climb just before lunch, out of the Missouri River valley.
The river was beautiful. No signs of flooding were evident, but it was
clear from all the green that this area was not suffering from
drought. Just before lunch a hungry Jim and Pete Penseyres blew past
and missed a turn. I hollered out and used my air horn to try and get
their attention. It worked and in thanks, Pete pushed me up to a
paceline. I was riding behind Francine, when suddenly it appeared that
she was peeing off the bike! I quickly pulled out of the paceline, and
asked her how she did it. Actually she had lost the bite valve off her
Camelbak, and it was at that moment that it suddenly began to flow.
After she emptied the bladder, we regrouped and continued along the
way. I later lent her my spare valve.

About 20 miles from the hotel, Susan and Karen, riding a tandem
together, pulled along beside me breathing hard. I guess I had been a
carrot for a while, but they finally caught me. I enjoyed their draft
for the next few miles. About 10 miles out, we saw a rider coming
toward us. As she turned around, Susan said, "It's Debbie, let's drop
her." And they were up and out of the saddle. Debbie is Susan's best
friend and tandem partner. The four of us hammered the final 10 miles
in. Debbie had crewed on the tour earlier in the summer and said she
was now taking a couple of days vacation. Susan was going to have to
go into work for the weekend, and Debbie came out to ride with her
first, and then take her back home to work. Debbie's husband Roger
would be filling in for Susan for those three days.

When I reached the hotel, I found a package from home containing
saddles and a backup Camelbak bladder. My Miyata saddle is great, but
the long steady days had caused me to compress it severely in the
back, and I wanted a newer one. The new one really seemed to help. And
it gave me a spare to try on the tandem again.

Nancy came in with a bright cherry nose, and face and hands and arms.
I asked if she had lost her sunscreen, but she said she'd been using
30. We later figured out that the antibiotic she was taking for her
saddle sores and colds had made her photosensitive. She changed
antibiotics, but this stuff would be in her system for a while and the
burn would make her even more sensitive. While at the drugstore, she
also got some solarcaine, which she sprayed on her fingers every 10
minutes throughout the night, some Aloe, some zinc oxide for her face
for the rest of the trip, and some white fingered gloves to ride in
the next day.

As I mentioned earlier, the highlight of the day, and probably one of
the highlights of the trip was the Corn Palace. Really! About a dozen
of us filled two vans and drove down to see the world famous Mitchell
Corn Palace. It really was a neat place. It's basically an auditorium
that was built to host cultural events. But it is decorated in corn.
There are murals all over the inside and outside made of corn. Each
year, after the harvest, new designs are drawn, the corn is cut, and a
new theme decorates the building.

After touring the building, Pete, with a nose for ice cream found a
great ice cream shop that specializes in Mix-ins. They have a machine
to grind up and mix ingredients into vanilla ice cream. It was great.
Pete, by the way has a passion for ice cream almost as big as mine.


 

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