Saturday, July 17, 2010

Day 27 - Mitchell to Sioux Falls, SD

Today: 74 miles, 1341 feet of climb
Cumulative: 2039 miles, 76872 feet of climb

Today was a very nice ride into Sioux Falls for our second rest day tomorrow. But first, I need to update you about last night.

The Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo

About 25 of us attended the Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo at Horseman’s Sports Arena, about 3 miles outside Mitchell last night. It was not exactly what I expected. The place was packed when we got there, about 15 minutes before the “Grand Entry”, so we had to sit in the far stands facing into the sun. We estimated about 1500 people filled the stands and they were full by the time the show started. $12 for general admission or $15 for reserved seats. Many folks had cowboy hats and boots on. Young cowboys were hanging around outside the stands, trying to talk up the young ladies. The stands were weathered two by eight boards, one to sit on and one for your feet. If anything dropped off your seat, or if you made a misstep, the result was a fall to the ground under the stands. The bronco riding and calf roping was interspersed with acts by a clown and some trick riding using fireworks and fire by an older cowboy and an 8 year old cowgirl. And there were plenty of breaks to get in commercial announcements for Ken’s Sinclair Station and other local establishments. Patriotism was played up, the national anthem sung a Capella, and there were a couple of good Obama care jokes thrown in for good measure. Kids went into the arena half way through the show to retrieve candy thrown from two trucks.

Sunlight was streaming through the trees early in the day

The bronco riding and calf roping was quite entertaining, what little of it actually happened when the other stuff wasn’t filling time. It involves a lot of skill and a certain amount of danger. We left early to catch a bus back to our hotel, but later in the evening one cowboy broke his arm. We saw a few bronco riders get up limping after being tossed.

Today's paceline. Alex joined us and Dan was with us for a while

It is a different country out here. Young boys don’t want to grow up being center fielder for the NY Yankees. They want to be cowboys in a rodeo. Many of these cowboys travel great distances to ride for 8 seconds. The riders were mostly from South Dakota, Nebraska and Canada. To my knowledge there were none from outside the upper Midwest other than Texas and Canada. From my perspective, the rodeo was good to attend and see. Once. Give me a hockey, football or a baseball game, professional or minor league, any day.

Getting close to Sioux Falls

The 5:15AM alarm clock seemed to ring as soon as I went to sleep after getting home late last night. After eating breakfast at 6:00AM and luggage load at 6:30AM, we were off for Sioux Falls. Our route today had no major hills, travelling east on State Routes 38 and 262, County Road 261, and State Road 42. There were more farms today and we saw a lot of corn in the fields on both sides of us. We were again joined by Alex, who rides very well. She is great to draft behind because her line, pace and cadence are rock steady. After arriving in town our hotel rooms were not ready, so I went to the local bike store (Scheels) for a new chain. Rap is at 4:45, dinner is from 5 to 7 and then we are on our own until Monday morning.

I’m still deciding what to do tomorrow, but a bike ride to the Iowa state line and a minor league baseball game are the primary considerations. Talk to you tomorrow.

Today’s route:

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