Today is a rest day in Sioux Falls, the largest city in South Dakota. Sioux Falls had a population of 153,888. The metropolitan population of 228,261 accounts for 28% of South Dakota’s population. The states of South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska and Minnesota all come close together here, and SD-IA-MN-NE “Designated Market Area” (DMA), population is 1,043,450. We are finished being away from people, and will travel through more densely populated areas heading east. Chartered in 1856 on the banks of the Big Sioux River, the city is situated on the prairie of the Great Plains at the junction of Interstate 90 and Interstate 29.

I went out for a “casual” ride around the city on the bike path today and I can say that there really is “no there there” in Sioux Falls. There is a tiny “downtown” district with some low rising office buildings and some restaurants and stuff, but generally it is a grid of fast food restaurants, car dealerships, used car dealerships, strip shopping malls, etc. The city is big, like 73 square miles or so. Generally you don’t seem to arrive anywhere though as you ride around. And it’s mid 90s and hot out. So I mostly just sat around and rested today. We will pass by the eponymous Falls on the way out of town tomorrow, so I can’t even post a picture of that, at least today…

Eating is tricky on rest days. On a ride day it really is hard to eat enough. If you ride 5 or more hours in a day, you can, in fact should, probably eat 4-5,000 calories a day. That takes work. Eating at 5:30 am and having some oatmeal or cereal, eggs if available (all some hotels have is cold hard boiled eggs–try that at 6am), bacon, potatoes or hash browns, yogurt (never a healthy type of yogurt) etc is hard to do. There are a lot of biscuits and gravy at “continental breakfasts.” I don’t know who eats that stuff. We shovel food down our throats, barely talking since we are tired and often focused on the challenge of the ride of the day. I snack at SAGs, peanut butter on Fig Newtons taste good, but always finish hungry. The post ride “recovery drink” of choice is a milk shake with some sort of fast food accompaniment. I’ve been to lots of Dairy Queens, and often have ice cream after dinner even if I had it earlier in the day. Dinner is often served early, sometimes 5, never later than 6pm, and I am usually hungry, even if I ate lunch at 1-2pm. And I sometimes wake up in the night hungry…So, despite thinking I should ease off on rest days, the accumulated hunger doesn’t really go away, so most of us keep on eating, even on rest days. It is going to be hard to go back to eating normally after this is over…

Banana + peanut butter + cheetos: I didn’t eat this, but probably could!

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