June 15, 2004

6/15/04 Killdeer ND

66 miles (1630 total)

Barb decided to join me for an early start, letting the boys sleep in. Dark clouds to the west as we biked back to Glo's Kitchen. Glo herself was at the stove. Ate too much but we still got out on the road by 7am.

And almost immediately it started to rain. The highway seemed pretty busy with going-to-work traffic, probably to the power plants down the road. We just kept on until Hazen where Barb waited for the RV.

It never rained hard but you needed rain gear anyway. At one point, I was surprised to find Rob riding up behind me. But soon after he passed me, I had my first flat of the day. Nothing much more miserable than changing a tire, in the rain, along the side of a busy highway with no shoulder.

And I must have picked up some gravel changing the inner tube because at the Beulal exit, I got a second flat. Pretty damn frustrating. But once back on the road, the clouds broke and we had sunshine again.

A single tree isn't enough to block the winds

The headwinds started to pick up as I rode hill after hill. Seemed like you topped on hill, only to see two more ahead. But this wind was really hard work. Plus it kept me in the saddle longer. I did the same mileage yesterday in seven hours that took me twelve hours to do today. I ended up walking a lot of the hills just to get off my butt. The wind continued to get stronger, forcing me to pedal even on the downhills. For a lot of the afternoon, I just dropped my head and tried not to think of how much more I had to do.

Long lonely road ahead, into the wind!

At Dunn Center, I was thirsty and in need of some energy like a candy bar or soda, but there wasn't a gas station. Saw a sign for “Alice's Restaurant” so went looking for that. Turned out to be an oasis. “No pie!” they told me since a group of Chicago cyclists had just left buying everything. I wonder who that could be? [smile] Later I got a piece of coconut creme pie back at the RV. All I really needed was a Coke and a place out of the wind. “Very unusual to have all this wind.” they repeated. Headed back outside with just eight or nine miles left to do.

You've got Pocketmail!

About a mile outside of town, Rob pulled up in the car. “You want to finish in this hellish wind or do you want to load the bike on the car?” I thought over, but decided on the car. I mean, 66-miles against headwinds is enough for anyone.

Again, ending up camping alone after a grueling day like this would just make me want to quit. But the gang has kept me part of their group and helped me out both mentally and physically. A godsend for sure!

Hay bale humor