Day 15, Aug 1st

Start: Mitchell, SD

Finish: Worthington, MN

Miles: 137

Elevation Gain: 2240'


Travel Lodge

PO Box 68

Worthington, MN 56187


Click on an image to see a larger view

Today was not one of my favorite days of the trip so far. It started out pretty well, with a nice sit-down breakfast at the motel. We even had real silverware and cloth napkins :-). But I was looking forward to a relatively easy ride today and an early arrival at the motel in Worthington. Well, if there's one thing I've learned on this trip - expect the unexpected.

The most famous landmark in Mitchell, SD

The temperature this morning when we started out was 71 degrees. This should have been a clue that it was going to be another scorcher. This is the first day that most of the riders haven't rolled out of the motel with arm warmers and/or leg warmers.

It  didn't actually get as hot as it did yesterday (which

Another cyclocross adventure

I've been told was actually in the 100+ range, not the mid-90's as previously reported), but it was hot all day - we didn't get in the first 30 miles or so in nice cool temperatures like we normally do. It also felt somewhat muggier today which made the heat seem a little more oppressive.

As we were leaving Mitchell, I made a slight detour to go by the Corn Palace, just to get a photo for this site. I suppose I could have grabbed one off the web somewhere, but that just didn't seem kosher.

Once we were out of Mitchell, the terrain and scenery was pretty consistent throughout the day - mile after mile of rolling farmland, largely planted with corn or soybean. We did see a few more trees today, but almost all these were planted around farm houses and weren't just growing naturally. We also passed through a number of quaint little farming towns - every one of them with a "Welcome to farmtown, Home of the pick-your-animal" sign as we entered. For example, the "Welcome to Baltic" sign proclaimed that the town was the "Home of the Bulldogs" basketball team. Most of these towns also had population count signs, which in almost all cases were well under 1000.

Our lunch stop was in a little park in the town of Sherman. It was quite pleasant except for the kids driving circles around the park on their motocross bikes and ATVs.

The real adventure of the day came at mile 115. Les informed us at the last rest stop that the road we had planned to take from Luverne to Adrian was under construction. We could take the detour, but this turned into a gravel road, and he recommended that we just drive down the road under construction, which was supposedly hard-packed dirt.

We started down this road only to discover that recent rain had "softened" the dirt considerably, and that there were sections that could easily suck up a road bike tire. At least one rider (Len) took a spill and was covered with mud - at least the ground was soft where he landed.

After riding on this for less than a mile, we took a left onto a gravel road and skirted the construction with six miles of gravel road riding. By the time we got into Adrian, we were all pretty hot, dusty and tired.

In addition to the heat and our little cyclocross adventure, we also had to contend with wind today. Almost from the start, we had a steady, fairly strong, south-southeast breeze. Since our route was east with a few south bends, the wind was always against us at least to some extent. I rarely was able to ride faster than 20mph except on downhill sections.

We paralleled the interstate today, but never actually had to ride on it. All day was spent on rural farm roads and highways which had very little traffic. However, most of these roads had an annoying expansion crack every 15-30 feet. These cracks were anywhere from 1/2" to 2" wide and often an inch or more deep. Since they were straight across the road, they almost looked intentional, but since their spacing was random, I doubt very much that they are.

One of our riders, John from WI, was bitten on the leg by a dog today. As he rode into Luverne, two dogs came running at him. The owner was standing there as they ran out and she shouted "don't move or they'll attack". John got off his bike and placed his bike between the dogs and himself, but one of the dogs managed to get around and bite him. The woman didn't seem to do anything to stop the dogs and was not overly concerned about the incident, but did volunteer to drive John to the rest stop a few miles further. Makes you wonder about some people. John seems to be alright.

The first riders pulled into the motel around 4:00, with the last riders arriving shortly after 6:00. Almost everyone seemed to be pretty tired after today's ride. As I was working on this site after my shower, I almost fell asleep in my seat. I ended up dozing on the bed for a half hour before dinner.

I've received a number of emails from friends and family about how my body is holding up, so here are the gory details. All-in-all, I think I'm doing pretty well. My knees are a bit sore at the end of each day, but don't seem to bother me too much while I'm riding. I've iced them a few times, but often don't have time every evening unless I want to give up more sleep.

I'd say sleep deprivation is the biggest problem. I think I could probably sleep for 8.5 to 9 hours each day, but I'm usually only getting 7.5 to 8 hours.

My right Achilles tendon has been bothering me a little the past couple days, but seems to respond fine to a couple Advil (I actually didn't take any today and it didn't bother me much). I've been trying to stretch it well every day after the ride, so hopefully it won't get any worse.

I've got some kind of heat rash on the front of my legs that has developed over the past couple days. I thought it might be a reaction to the sunscreen or the massage oil, but Susan (who's a nurse) doesn't think so. She is picking up some stuff for me at the drug store and hopefully that will do the trick.

My neck gets a little stiff toward the end of each ride, particularly if I'm spending a lot of time in the aerobars or drops. This doesn't seem to be getting any worse though. I've also got some very minor bruising on my forearms where they rest on the aerobar pads from going over the aforementioned expansion cracks.

I don't have any saddle sores and my seat has been reasonably comfortable, but some days are worse than others. Today, for example, I was a bit sorer than usual because I rode so slowly yesterday. The slower I ride, the more weight is on the seat because I'm not using my leg muscles as much. But my rear is actually no less comfortable after all this riding than it typically is toward the end of a century ride.

That's all for today. Thanks for all the emails.

Karl and Rich "Ski" riding through the typical terrain from today's ride One of many farms along our route today Karl and Lon at the second rest stop - all the names on the side of the trailer are people that have ridden at least 10,000 miles with PAC Tour

Lunch in the park I'd like to know where 1st and 1st is Len after his cyclocross adventure