Monday, July 19, 2010

Day 29 - Sioux Falls, SD to Worthington, MN

Today: 71 miles, 1371 feet of climb
Cumulative: 2109 miles, 78243 feet of climb

Welcome to rainy Minnesota

Hello. We’re now riding in Minnesota. In the last few days we have transitioned from high desert, sagebrush, and scrub land to corn, soybeans, farms, silos, and grain elevators. We’re getting towards the east coast now and you can see and feel it. Towns are closer together. The weather is changing too. We take more interest in the forecast and today had our first significant rain of the tour. The early part of the day was marked by some bad roads, a headwind, and temperatures in the mid 60’s with a steady rain. It was an eventful day at “the office”.

Before the rain became heavy, we take the bike path to the falls.

I need to mention the roads around Sioux Falls again in this paragraph and the next. I didn’t discuss this earlier but three people fell on Day 27 into Sioux Falls because of road conditions. One of them, Phillip, had to go home today with a sprained wrist because he was advised not to ride for several days. I met Phillip on the bus ride from Portland to Astoria and we had a nice conversation right off the bat. He is a very easy going guy. Phillip got an early start each day, and always had a nice smile and a few kind words when I passed him on the road. We’ll miss him.

Wet roads created problems. There was trouble at the train tracks.

Then today coming out of Sioux Falls, we had three more falls at some railroad tracks, due to a bad angle for the tracks combined with the rain and traffic. All riders are OK, thank goodness. We were happy when the rain stopped in the late morning and the roads improved after reaching the Minnesota state line.

Jeff has a second flat tire and then shows Mark how NOT to put the wheel back on.

I rode near Jeff, Mark W. and Dave today although there was no pace line or drafting with the rain, traffic and cracked roads. Around mile 20 Jeff and Mark had flats within minutes of each other. Then Jeff got another flat a few miles later, this time in his other tire. That delayed us a bit and we thought we would never get out of South Dakota. Pedaling kept me warm, but I was cold and shivering when we stopped. Finally, we saw the Minnesota line where we stopped for pictures entering our fifth state (six for me if I count Iowa).

The skies cleared in the afternoon.

The route today was flat with only a couple of small hills that I can remember. We headed out of town on some bike paths to the falls for which Sioux Falls is named. Then, we took 262 Street to the state line where we picked up County Roads 4 and 35 to Worthington.
The skies did clear around mid day allowing us to take off our rain gear for the remainder of the ride. Temperatures only reached the mid 70’s by the time we reached Worthington. After a stop at Subway for lunch, we arrived at the Travelodge Hotel, the end of an eventful day.

After a busy off day and night yesterday, tonight it is time to relax in my hotel room after dinner and to get a good night’s sleep. We have two long days tomorrow and Wednesday, both rides are centuries, and it is prudent to be rested for tomorrow. So that’s all for today.
Today’s route:

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