Day 27 - Mitchell to Sioux Falls SD
Mileage: 71 miles
Weather: Severe thunderstorms in the morning. Howling headwinds & low 60s to start. Light tailwinds & mid-70s to end.
Highlights of the day:
We had to delay our start this morning by 2 hours. Severe thunderstorms plowed through Mitchell with heavy rain, strong winds and even some hail. Needless to say, there weren’t too many complaints as we watched the excitement from the comfort of our hotel rooms. It also gave us a chance to watch a bit of the day’s stage from the Tour de France. We all loaded at 9am and then started the initial slog of the day. Winds were blowing a steady 30 mph in our faces. It was one tough challenge for those who chose to ride. Our fastest riders barely kept their speed at 10 mph. Some riders made the smart choice for themselves and hopped in the van. Absolutely no judgment and plenty of encouragement for making the right decision. It was blowing hard with even stronger gusts. We often talk about pushing the envelope of one’s own comfort level while on tour. It’s a smart rider who recognizes that his or her envelope has a breaking point.
We eventually reached the first and only official SAG of the day. It seemed strange. We could actually hear ourselves think. The winds had calmed down, a bit. It eventually turned 180 degrees and lightly pushed the riders in for the last 20 or so miles. What a difference a couple of hours can make. It was a bit surreal but once again, no complaints. I forgot to mention that just before we left for the day, a group of riders did a brief joining of hands in the parking lot and asked for a little help from Mother Nature and other higher forces. It cannot be empirically shown that this had anything to do with anything but if there’s a chance at all, perhaps we’ll try it again. 🧘♀️
The route was through farm country. We had our share of corn, soybeans, and mud. As I described yesterday, there are a lot fields that haven’t been planted or perhaps they were but became flooded. We did get a couple of our standard views. Sometimes just corn (View A). Sometimes just soybeans (View B). Sometimes corn to the left and soybeans to the right (View C). Sometimes soybeans to the left and corn to the right (View D). There is variety if you know what to look for? Toss in some cows and that’s been our view of rural southeastern South Dakota.
We ended the day with a short ride on a bike path in Sioux Falls. The path runs along the Big Sioux River that does a big loop around the city. We just got a brief taste of what we’ll take out of the city on Monday. It’s beautiful, well maintained and used by lots of cyclists. It’s nice to see Sioux Falls really supports cycling.
At rap, we said goodbye to 3 of our riders today. It’s always sad to see part of our family leave. We said hello to 3 riders. It’s interesting to see new people come into a group that’s been bonding over common experiences since arriving in Astoria over a month ago. This year’s group has been great at warmly welcoming and supporting newcomers. Just ask Dan & Rick, 2 of our departing section riders, who talked specifically about that during their time to say goodbye. It was well received by our newly arriving rider. For the record, it was not prompted by the staff. Honest!
It’s that time in the tour when we need to be reminded to look up occasionally. You can miss a lot of this country focusing on that wheel right in front of you. It all goes so darned fast out here. We’ll be dipping wheels in the Atlantic before we know it.