Today we biked nearly the same distance as yesterday, 72 miles from Mitchell to Sioux Falls. This day may have the least vertical feet of climbing that we have had on any day of the ride so far, with just a little over 1,000 feet. And yet, two things made the day fairly tough: the wind and my riding style. The wind was from the Northeast, and we were biking to the Northeast. Ugh. And I think that the flat roads actually made it worse. If the terrain had been more varied and up and down, then my mind would have been distracted from the fact that it seemed a bit monotonous to be simply peddling on a flat road into the wind… Secondly, I could have stuck with a paceline I was in early in the ride to make it easier on myself, but the group sort of got too big and then broke up when some riders decided to stop and use facilities. So, I just kept peddling slowly thinking that some of the faster group would catch up and we’d ride on. When they didn’t turn up dafter a couple of miles, I decided “what the heck, tomorrow is a rest day, so let’s try and make sure that I need a rest”. I did some intervals–one minute of pushing myself with maximum effort, one minute recovery. Repeat 10X. I hit the first SAG at mile 40 way before everybody else, so even though I was fairly tired by then, I peddled the last 30+ miles in by myself as well. The temp was over 90 degrees at that point, so I was fairly drained.

Our terrain evolved today as we moved east on the border between South Dakota and Minnesota and Iowa (to the Southeast). Overall, it is very exciting to see the country this way–you can go 100-200 hundred miles with “the same”, but then things change–more desert like (or more green), or more trees, the great rivers that we have travelled along are here but then gone, etc. Everywhere I looked around today I saw farm fields of corn, soybeans, or wheat fields. Where there is no planting it is still green and the farm fields are surrounded by trees, which is way different from Idaho or Wyoming. Overall, the state borders do somewhat reflect the changes–South Dakota is as different from Wyoming as Wyoming is different from Idaho etc., but each state seems to pick up some of its neighboring state before the border. I am told Minnesota will look a lot like what we saw today.

Tomorrow is a rest day…

Grain silos. Midwest meets South Dakota…

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