Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Friday, June 20, 2008

TDK Day 6: Brookings to Sioux Falls

We had heard rumors that there was going to be a west wind, a little south also. With this news, Mary Jean wasn't sure if she was going to ride or not. The plan was that she would call me when she had decided. When I got up I was super cranky. Not, "I'm a b*t*h cranky..." Just, "Wow, this week *has* been a physical and emotional challenge, I didn't sleep well last night, I'm tired and I miss my husband, I'm ready to go home..." kinda cranky. And, it looked windy out.

Mary Jean called and said she would try to ride. She'd been waffling all morning. She asked her husband what he would do if he were her. He said he'd get dressed, go down the park and check things out, set out and see how it goes. But if it were him, he wouldn't ride, probably. He does ride with her, but that day the weather was not ideal. Again. Hopefully Mary Jean doesn't mind me telling that story. Though I think that a lot of people had that mentality.

Thus, the morale of the week is: Just get on the darn bike. Period. Once you're on the bike, it gets better.

We got going at about 6:45. We had cross winds, they were probably above 20 mph already. We had to go west for a few stretches, that was hard. Going down a hill, if I stopped pedaling I'd top out at 8 mph. But, we got to the first stop at 23 miles. Who makes the first food stop that far into a casual tour? Oh well. The line was long, so I ate the granola bar in my pocket and wanted to keep going. My friend had already eaten and we were both afraid that if we stopped we'd freeze up. AGain, I'm glad that I ate a good breakfast.

Considering how badly I didn't want to ride that morning, I warmed up to the idea and the stubborness in me came out. Our next goal was just to make it to the half way point. I thought the day was 70 miles, but I guess that it was posted as 68. We got to mile 35. We kept plugging away. More people had been caving, we saw more cars with bikes on the back. We eventually made it to Sioux Falls. I had given my mom the correct time for return, based on a 70 mile assumption. But we were still on the west side of town at mile 70, and had to get into the middle of town. They routed us in on the bike trail. 8 miles later, we were at the finish. It's not nice to lie about miles at the end like that. Another 10 miles really isn't THAT big of a deal. But, when you're prepped for one distance and have people waiting for you, it's a mean trick. We were getting tired. My arms were getting fatigued from holding the bike on the road/path. My lips were even hurting, I think that I burned them a bit and they were chapped.

My mom had taken an extended lunch break. She'd already been waiting for me for a decent amount of time. So we got in, took some pictures and I had to leave right away so that my mom could get back to work. So, I felt like the end was a little anit-climactic (I think that I butchered that spelling, my mind is drawing a blank. Sorry!). 77.75 miles, 6:59:30, 11.1 average, winds W 21 gusting to 30.

I was so tired of putting food into my face. I was hungry, but nothing sounded good when I got to Sioux Falls. Mom hadn't had lunch yet and wondered if I wanted to grab something with her. I was eating the cookie in my bag because it was there and I thought that I should put SOMETHING in my mouth. Otherwise I had no idea what I'd even want. I just didn't feel like eating. I did go and get some coffee. And some woodchuck cider for when I got home. Nick had some wine waiting.

I was tired. All of my muscles ached, except my abs. So, I considered going home and doing some situps to balance things out. :d I didn't. I felt much better the next day and the day after. I did feel a small burn in my quads for awhile, mostly when going up stairs. But I think that I recovered pretty well. I woke up Saturday morning at a 5:45 a.m. My brain finally got used to the get up and ride mentality.

I went back to Sioux Falls to get my bike. When I tried to put the bike rack on the night before, it was windy and starting to rain. I did get to have lunch with mom to make up for the day before.

I had a good time and was very glad that I finished the whole day on Friday. A lot of people didn't. And I can totally see why. A lady rider at a pit stop said we were crazy. Mary Jean and I wanted to finish for ourselves. Though we also felt bad that Bonnie couldn't finish due to the crash and other friends had planned to ride but weren't able to due to scheduling issues.

I had wondered what the tour would be like. I missed the mass of Lanehogs that were generally there too. There were a few of us this year, just not the same. But everyone on the tour is so nice. It was easy to chat with people on the road, at pit stops or standing in line for the Maui showers. And everyone seems to have a good memory. Two ladies that had set up camp near my tent in Vermillion last year recognzied me in Ft. Thompson. I chatted with them at several stops. I also ran into a lady that I first exchanged messages with on I met her last year on the century day in Vermillion.

There's definately a sense of camaraderie. The tour is such a nice size and range of ability. Even with the sketchy weather, I plan to do it again.

More pictures to arrive, hopefully tomorrow.

TDK Day 5 Huron to Brookings

Huron to Brookings went without incident. I rode with Mary Jean. Bonnie was still sore and went home to get checked out. That was a bummer. She was a lot of fun to ride with and was missed on one of the best days of the week.

It was a gorgeous day and we had a tail wind for a good portion of the trip. The slated miles were 88 for the day, so we thought maybe we could do a century if we still felt good in town.

I did enjoy the road graffiti by the Billy Super Club. I would've stopped to take an example photo, but that wouldn't have worked. Whomever it was must have gotten out early and quickly to mark various roadkill along the road.

Again, we were on highway 14. At one of the first stops, the name of the town escapes me, I decided to not stand in line for the porta potty. Instead I went across the street to the gas station to use an actual facility, as long it was available. It was a gas station/mechanic shop and apparantly the place where a few local men stop for coffee. So, you can imagine the looks from the half dozen fellows sitting inside. Another lady came out of the bathroom, so at least I wasn't the first they'd seen.

They ask where we were going, wondering if we were heading for the black hills. I said no, we'd started in Sioux Falls and were making a big loop. I filled them in on the rest of the route. Then one of them ask if any of us had jobs, how do we get the time to do that? I say, well... a lot of people do have vacation time. He then said that he could think of a helluva lot of things he'd rather be doing. I was cool about it, he probably wanted to get me going a bit. I said, "YEah, well... I guess we all have our thing that we're interested in, huh?" The guy behind the counter nodded in agreement.

I can see why other people might think that we're crazy. But, it's not really any more crazy than going for a hike, or a walk... It's just a bigger time involvement. I do get that not everyone is into biking. And, there's a lot of things that I just can't get in to. Hunting isn't for me. I've sort of taken a stab at golf and can't quite get into that either. I do recognize that it's a game of skill. But, I'd rather be on the bike.

There was gorgeous scenery was everywhere. The pie in Oldham was YUMMY. I had a rhubarb merange type pie. I'd never seen rhubarb pie done quite like that before. Usually it's like an apple pie sort of fillin. Delish. As I was putting my glasses and helmet on, a little boy asked what was on the side of my sunglasses. I explained that it was a mirror and what I used it for. A person really takes somethings for granted and wouldn't think of how truly odd they may look to someone else.

Mary Jean and I also skipped the 1.7 miles of gravel. Butch was right there, so we didn't really see the point in dealing with it.

We got to Brookings, I felt filthy. My butt hurt. And decided to just go and get cleaned up. I stayed in the dorms. The showers were ice cold. BIg thumbs down. I guess it takes 10-20 minutes for the water to warm up.

I biked back down town. Mary Jean was still working on her 100. When I saw her she was at 98 and finished. I was at 90, but wasn't interested in spending another hour on the bike. I didn't plan to do much more than bum around town. I looked around the local bike shop. And grabbed a snack at Nick's Hamburger shop. There was a guy playing an electric piano outside. I sat and listened to him for awhile.

Mary Jean went to hang out with her husband and I didn't know where the other people that I knew were. SO, I got back on the bike and finished the last 10 in my street clothes, bumming around residential Brookings. Which maybe wasn't the best idea, my butt hurt some more, especially without padded shorts. I saw several other TDK cyclists going up and down streets too. I think that there were a lot of people that hit a century that day. The whole time there were huge clouds building. I got back to the dorm in time for a storm to hit. 88.73 miles, 6:39:58, 13.3 mph avg... 100 miles, 8:05:20, 12.4 mph avg (cruised around residential areas).

TDK Day Four

Seriously, I hope to finish blogging about the tour before I start training for next year's cycling season.

Word around camp was that the day would start with easterly winds and rain. So Bonnie, Mary Jean and myself thought that we'd probably sleep in a little bit and see how the weather was. They thought that maybe we'd be able to start at 8 a.m. I slept in until 6 so that I could allow for plenty of time for the crankies to work their way out of my system and so that I could pack up my tent, etc. And, I wanted to go and get breakfast. Plus, I wasn't really certain when Mary Jean and Bonnie would want to go so I needed to be ready and waiting.

It looked yucky out, though it wasn't raining. I went to breakfast, biscuits and gravy and eggs served at the auditorium. Bonnie called and said they were ready to go. I went to meet them at the gas station. Oh boy, it started to mist and sprinkle.

The ladies said that they had heard that the wind wouldn't shift until 4p.m., so we might as well start making our way east. By the time we left the gas station, it was raining steadily. We formed a little three person pace line.

None of us ever got close enough to each other's wheel to truly be drafting, but I believe that it helped break the distance up a bit mentally and it helped bust up the breeze a little. Also, it seemed to be easier to see out of one's glasses when you were in the second or third position.

Five miles out, we stopped. That wasn't fun. We were all wet and the breeze was steady and we got cold. Mary Jean called her husband to be on standby. We considered going back to Highmore. I really wasn't interested in dealing with that weather. The headwinds to Chamberlain weren't fun, but at least it was sunny and pleasant otherwise. This was worse. While at the front it was very difficult to see anything. Rain stung my eyes. We were on Hwy 14. Traffic mostly got over, but it was still a little nerve racking. We decided to make our way to Ree Heights, another 6 miles down the road. A motorcyclist had been going up and down the highway checking for riders. He said that there'd be coffee and a bit of a shelter.

We did stop there a bit and had snacks. Ultimately we thought that we could press on to Miller, another 11 miles or so down the road. We'd each been taking turns at the front for a mile. That was only a little over 3 turns for each of us. Mary Jean's husband would meet us there. And, someone at the stand said that the rain was moving east anyway. As long as we didn't ride too fast, we'd end up on the back side and out of it.

On our way the rain let up. Then we noticed that the grass wasn't moving too much. We hoped that the wind was shifting directions. Our spirits picked up. As we got closer I thought that if I could dry out a bit in Miller, then I could probably continue on.

There were a lot of people in the school auditorium. There were people who were waiting for a bus to take them to Huron. Someone said that there would be scattered storms all afternoon. The sky to the north looked dark. Mary Jean had decided that as long as she'd called her husband to come and get her, she should maybe hang out with him.

Bonnie and I waffled back and forth. We didn't really want to get caught out in the rain again. Especially if it should happen to be worse. By the time that we got on the road, there weren't many left in the auditorium. We decided to press on for Wessington. We could call Mary Jean and her husband if we needed help.

The ride was actually pleasant with a tailwind. The shoulder was even paved. However, just past St. Lawrence the shoulder turned to gravel. Bonnie was just ahead of me, I got over to allow her to merge onto the road. She merged just as she'd gone onto gravel. But, her bike got up onto the road sort of at a parallel instead of cutting up onto it, I think. She wipes out. I'm practically right next to her. In my head I'm freaking out, envisioning that I'm going to go over top of her. I was able to swing out and around her and got stopped without going down in a mix up. I'm immediately worried. My last accident was a year ago, though the memory of a broken clavicle was fresh.

Fortunately there was no traffic behind us. And an approaching car from the opposite direction stopped when Bonnie was on the ground to see if she was okay. She was. She was able to collect her stuff and stand up. I hoped that nothing severe happened, but was ready to make the phone call. The fall knocked the wind out of her. I told her that she did pretty well, both times that I'd fallen off of my bike I'd broken something. This incident was still new and this news was not as welcomed, I don't think. :D

Bonnie did get back on her bike and we continued on to Wessington. She asked what my broken collarbone had felt like. I told her, "Well, I sure the hell wasn't back on my bike riding again, that's for certain." I guess that comment wasn't entirely necessary, but it was true. She said that she felt tightness across her chest.

We got to Wessington, she decided to catch a ride with Mary Jean and Butch. The weather was still holding up, so I continued on. I stopped in Wessington and got a chocolate milk. The hoodlums from the Ride with the Kernel day were there. :D I know that I've read blogs and forum posts by many of these people. But their identities still allude me.

One of them, Brian, asked if I was going to join them. I said that I would ride with them as long as I could keep up. I did chat with Brian for a little while on the ride. But like a mile out of town they picked up the pace and I said I'd see them down the road. I saw them a few other times on the tour and they are a friendly group.

The sky to the North and South never did look friendly. I made it to Huron without incident and walked across another nasty set of railroad tracks. They curved across the road and I didn't like it. I ended the ride thinking of nothing but zesto's. But, I ended up being too lazy to even ride my bike two blocks away to Dairy Queen. I wanted instant gratification and ate the food at camp. Later I did walk with Brittany to Dairy Queen so that she could get a blizzard.

I put my tent up in a building. It was nice enough to camp outside, but inside was a sure shelter. I thought about just rolling out my sleep pad and bag and skipping the whole tent thing. Though, it ended up being really nice to close myself off from the rest of the world for a bit.

I enjoyed chatting with people and listening to music in the host towns. I wanted to go and hear everyone else's war stories... But, really the whole week is sensory overload. And I just needed to shut some of it down for a little while.

71.94 miles, 5:38:48, 12.7 mph.

TDK Day 4: Photos

TDK Day 3: Photos

Back from the Badlands

Here's a brief public service announcement: If you get a chance to go out to the Badlands in the near, near, future GO!!! Go now in fact. It is so green and pretty. I will post pictures from that trip soon.

The trip went well, we got video of the big horn sheep. I think that I mentioned that in my other Badlands post. Did you know that the rams segregate themselves from the herd? Because of how their stomachs are, a multi chamber stomach (I think that's what the biologist said), they don't have to be as fussy regarding what they eat. They tend to go and hang out in the lower ground, near the tables through the park. The females and lambs stay near the steeper ground. They can flee danger going up and down steep terrain so easily, that's where their hideouts are. Though, they don't seem to mind tourists too much, they'll run right passed a couple picture happy, camera toting folks. Or, they'll graze within 20 feet of a car.

Wednesday night, with the help of a couple SDPB radio personalities, we went out in the middle of the southern portion of the park. I REALLY want a mountain bike. It'd be awesome to go off and travel the gravel sideroads, and the trails that other motor vehicles have carved through the park.

I should've been wearing hiking boots instead of tennis shoes. Ah well, we all hauled the gear over, down and across some interesting terrain.

Later we parked to wait for the rising moon. It did rise, but we didn't get to see it because a storm rolled through. It was fun to watch lightening in the distance. Two radio people went hiking down in the canyon at 10p.m. I told them I'd come out and hike during the day sometime, but I wasn't too interested, even with the help of a headlamp.

Eventually, as three of us waited, we see headlights coming up the path. Not from our co-workers, but from a car. We're out in the middle of nowhere and wonder who this is and what this is about. If it was a vehicle of locals looking to party, who knows what would go down. We all have active imaginations. We hopped into the Durango and locked the doors, and kept our lights out. The car parked acrossed the clearing near the car of our co-workers from Rapid. All was quiet, we were still trying to figure out what was going on. Paul, the co-worker with the producer and I was going to get out and check. There's a dude standing right next to the door. Paul hops back in and locks the door.

There's another guy standing outside, they're looking out over the canyon. I think they're just people out for a scenic view. Two gals approach them. So, our defenses go down. I roll down the window and explain that we were startled. They come over and look into the window and one of the girls says, "Paul...?" The two gals were also SDPB radio employees in Rapid and the two guys were friends of theirs. Paul had met the guy that first approached the car, but didn't recognize him in the dark.

I found it mildly amusing, hopefully you do too.

On the way back to Wall at midnight, mountain time, we driving gravel roads. I'm watching for deer from the passenger seat. I see one on the farside of the ditch, nearly outside of the headlight path. Otherwise, nothing. The road that we were on goes by a buffalo reserve. As we're driving along, there's a HUGE dark mass along side of the road, subtly moving. A person is used to looking for deer, so it didnt' immediately register in my head. And we were tired. But Rina (the producer) and I both immediately start exclaiming, "Buffalo! buffalo! Buffalo!!!" Fortunately it wasn't interested in moving too rapidly either. I don't think that the durango would've tossed him up over the hood or anything. BUt I would imagine that it would be much like hitting a wall and we would possibly be the roadkill instead of the buffalo.

It was a good trip. Of course it wasn't without a Wall Drug donut or two... or three. :D

If you DO travel out to the badlands this summer, don't get too close to the prairie dogs. They have the plague. So especially keep your pets away too! That's probably the more important public service announcement.

Stay tuned for pictures.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

TDK Day 3: Extended Version

On the third day I met up with Mary Jean and Bonnie to tackle the hills to Highmore. I did eat the pancakes and eggs sold at the camp. We started off at like 6:30 a.m. or so. I'm not going to lie, the first hill is a doozie. But we all got up it. I don't know how slowly I was going. I didn't bother to look. It wasn't quick. Oh well. I stopped at the top to take some photos. Will share later too.

The weather was sunny and the wind was out of the southeast. Not quite a tailwind, but not enough of a crosswind to make the descents really scary. Though my eyes did water a time or two.

At mile 15 there was a chuckwagon food stop. I was glad that I ate before I left, those hills do take some energy to get up. But, I was bummed that I wasn't hungry for the eggs, potatos, bacon scramble and cornbread. Don't worry, I ate a slice of cornbread. :D Though, by the looks of Bonnie's breakfast, they ran out of the thoroughly done food and hers wasn't as crisp and cooked as one might like. It was still one of the most interesting side stops along the way.

The rest of the ride was fairly uneventful, in that it was pretty ideal. We were very glad that we saved our legs the day before. Oh, Mary Jean's rear tire did blow out on a downhill. She heard it and was able to pull over safely. I started working on her tire. I got the wheel off and the tire too. I was just collecting my thoughts to actually change the tube when a kind gentleman pulled off to help. I'm pretty certain that I could've accomplished the change, but I was glad to hand it over to someone more efficient than myself. A second guy stopped to also make quick work of it. It'd have taken me FOREVER! Mary Jean's tire was shot, so she got that fixed at the next place.

Riding by the windfarm was neat. A passing cyclist said we had enough wind, they should turn the farm off. :D

To the lady handing out the popcicles at the edge of Highmore: Thank you. I was tempted to not stop because I just wanted to get to camp, but a person feels like a kid attempting to eat an icy treat and ride a bike. I got juice on my handlebars, but it doesn't matter. It was rinsed off the next day.

In Highmore I had time to set up camp and walk down town to do laundary. Plus have a piece of pie. Yummy, yummy pie. I had peanut butter silk pie. It was really really rich.

At camp I discovered that my tent was nearly collapsing on itself. I recruited help to help me secure it, including Biking Brady. Cycling Cathy, I owe you a clothesline. I didn't use it to hang clothes, but it did help my tent to not fly away that night. You rock!

Highmore prepped a good dinner, stuffed potatos and fixins'. Their music was fun too. That group of guys said they'd only practiced together maybe once, but they had fun and it showed.

The ladies and I made plans for the next day. We knew that it would include east winds (direction that we were heading) and possibly rain. We also knew that the wind was *supposed* to shift. We decided to sleep in a bit and see if the wind would change. So, I didn't even set my alarm to go off until 6ish. THough, I assumed that I wouldn't want to get out of my tent until later due to yucky rain. I went to bed not suring if Highmore's emergency crew would be waking me up to head to the auditorium... Or if it'd be worth leaving the tent in the morning at all.

TDK Day Two: Extended Version

After a chilly night and a 4 a.m. wake up call, people were starting to move around the camp ground pretty early on Monday. Cycling Cathy and I had heard that the wind wasn't going to be ideal on the way to Chamberlain. We had hoped to beat some of the wind by getting out as near to 6 as possible.

I ate a banana before we got going, but didn't take the time to go through the line in camp. Generally that's an okay thing, it's not a huge deal to make it 10-15 miles down the road. No biggie.

We headed west to Chamberlain after pausing at the Corn Palace. As soon as we turned west, and it was a straight line for the rest of the 70 miles, we were greeted by a headwind that was fairly brisk already. says it was over 20 mph, gusting to 25 or 27ish. I lost Cathy quickly. That's not such a big deal. Plus, I thought that she'd likely make an attempt at the century. I rode with Brittany from Sioux Falls for most of the way to Mt. Vernon. Pacelines were the only way to survive the day well, but they make me nervous. I hadn't even ridden that close with the Lanehogs this year, so I wasn't in practice. And even with people you know well, crashes still happen. I didn't want that to happen to me and I didn't want someone to crash off of my rear tire either. So, I just plugged away.

After 12 miles, I was hungery. At the first stop, there was a huge line for both food and to pay. I couldn't wait to pay, so I grabbed two chocolate milks and a slice of breakfast pizza. I inhaled all of it and presented their empty carcusses to the cachier. I saw Cycling Cathy at that stop, she said she'd see me in Plankington. Cool. And as I got going on the road, just ahead of Brittany and her family, I soon discovered that my front wheel was flat. Some people said that Spoke-n-Sport had just arrived at the gas station. I rode back to the stop to get it fixed. That quarter mile was a very pleasant ride. The night before when I pumped up the tire, I noticed that it took a lot of air. I'd hoped that would be the answer to my slowness, but no. It still really sucked to ride that day.

So, I just worked my way pit stop to pit stop. At the next one, maybe another 12 ish miles away I was still prepared to continue with mini goals, pit stop to pit stop all the way to Chamberlain. A lot of people were lining up for the SAG wagon by that point. I'm like, "BUt you have all day..." And yet, something in my head snapped between Plankington and White Lake. I saw lots of cars passing with bikes on the back. I started looking at them much like a dog follows the piece of food from your plate to your mouth.

I wanted very much to enjoy my time in Chamberlain and actually relax there a little bit. But, after doing the math it was taking me about 6 hours to get even half way (including stops). I decided it wasn't very much fun any more that day. Still, quitting isn't generally in my vocabulary and I was feeling very bad for considering it. But, I was trying to make a sensible decision and making it my choice. Not something that I had to do either way. That day was the optional century day, I had already decided to scrub those 25 miles anyway. I figured that my minimal training miles didn't warrant trying to achieve 100 miles so early in the tour.

I get to Plankington, the half way mark. I saw a bike nearly identical to mine right away (out of hundreds, or maybe dozens, there) and knew that Cycling Cathy was still there. So I was very very happy. She had been watching for, me and was worried about me back there by myself. Silly me, I also thought of calling her, but didn't have her phone number either. I told her that I had been contemplating saging in and she said I should. She and two other ladies had discovered that there was actually a waiting list for the SAG wagon. On the way in to town I saw several bikes at the bar. I said maybe a person should wait for the SAG wagon there. That seemed fun.

Cathy, plus two ladies from Watertown: Bonnie and Mary Jean, had explored other options apart from the SAG. They had met Joan, a local lady working at the lunch stop, who said she would drive them if they paid for gas. There was room for me too. So, that was the end of that. I'm not generally big on the idea of 'fate' as a strict guideline for things. I couldn't really argue that that was as good of a sign as any to end my ride with 30 miles to go. The lady was really nice and fun to chat with during that last stretch into town.

PLUS, the lines were short for the showers. I had energy to set up my tent. They had kuchen at the campground and we went across the street to acquire beer. A tomato beer was my recovery beverage that evening. Only 15 ish people completed the century that day. Alot of people bagged at least a portion of that ride.

The chamber treated us to a complimentary taco dinner. And students from St. Joseph's Indian school demonstrated some dancing for us. We had a good time. 40 miles, 4:42:58 ride time, 8.5 mph average speed. Yikes.

On The Road, But Not by Bike

I was home for a couple of days, and didn't quite get caught up on sleep. Monday one of the other producers at work and I headed to the Badlands to get some interviews and video for her documentary.

I got the gig as an Associate Producer last fall, so I don't do a lot of shooting anymore. I've been on most of the shoots for this documentary. So, while I wish that I could've been home a little bit before leaving for four days again, this was a good gig to go back out for.

The weather has been nice, I wish that this weather would've replaced maybe one or two days last week. But last week ended up being the kind of thing that at least small legends are made of. Well, maybe not really.

Last night we got to Wall and went out in the park to get some shots of the rock layers. And the big horn sheep were out in groups. With baby big horn sheep! I've never seen big horn sheep in the park that weren't mangy looking. I guess they're still shedding their winter coats. The babies were giving each other the evil eye and head butting each other across the slopes. We shot maybe 30 minutes to an hour of video. The sheep will maybe be 5 or so minutes of the show.

Today we interviewed a park ranger who studies and works extensively with the sheep. And in the afternoon we interviewed several ranchers in the area and learned about their opinions of the prairie dog. For such a small critter, they're a HUGE nuiscance.

It was a long day.

Tomorrow we go to Rapid City to the School of Mines for some video of fossils and an interview. Not of a fossil. Good news though, sushi for lunch at Ichiban. Yay!

I was going to post pictures, but I don't have the proper cable for this computer.

I have a few good pics from the Badlands. Will post sometime. This weekend I have a wedding to attend too.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Tour de Kota Day One Photos

TDK Day 1: Extended Version

My friend Johanna had given me the streamers and cow horn for a bachelorette gift last summer. I did want to use them at some point, they're lots of fun! So, I saved them for the tour de kota. I wasn't going to break any speed records. I didn't care how silly it looked. It was fun, and lots of people commented on them while they rode by. Some said surely they were increasing my drag. I said no, they're acting like propellers. :D

Anyway, on with the show. Tour de Kota Day One.

Overall the day went without incident. Saturday Nick camped with me. It stormed and I woke up periodically through the night and worried what the morning would bring. Plus I was cold.

The alarm did go off, much too early. Compared to a lot of people, I am a morning person. Still, getting going between 5:00 and 5:30 a.m. is tough, even in the best of circumstances. I was trying to move along with some consistancy without sidetracking myself.

A KDLT guy came through the camp, camera and tripod in tow. He was asking around if anyone would like to be interviewed. It hadn't been my intention, but whenever I try to take the passive aggressive route at a story I find that it is tough to win someone over. So, I volunteered. It didn't take very long, but it through me off a little. He asked me what my name was. I said Melissa Hamersma. Oops. Nick was right there. Technically it kind of is my name. But saying Melissa Sievers would've been much more appropriate. It was kind of funny. I corrected myself and hoped that my brain would wake up. I never did see that segment. Mom said that they just used a snippet, which is what I figured. I saw that he got several other people to chat with him too. So, that's good.

It seems like day one is about reconnecting with people that you knew from past rides. Everyone is excited to get on the road, but is super friendly and really chatty. A guy taking down his tent, near ours, had asked if this was my first tour. I said it's hopefully my first full one. I had planned to do it last year, but crashed on day 3 and broke my collarbone. He exclaimed, "That was you!" Word had spread through the campground last year. Lots of stories spread like wildfire as people compare notes at the end of the day.

And, it's a lot of fun to people watch. Near our tent there was another guy taking his down. Meanwhile he was having a morning smoke. Interesting. Smoking isn't so much my thing, but I guess if that's what gets him down the road, so be it. I tried to get a picture of him at a rest stop a few times, having a smoke. But, the zoom on my camera didn't work and I didn't really want to offend him.

Cycling Cathy and I did get going after a few quick 'This is us before we started' pictures and goodbyes. There wasn't really any wind. We made decent time for me over the 70 miles. Though it still took awhile for my head to get in the game. When we'd get into a stop I'd put my glasses up on top of my head. Then when it was time to go, I'd forget to put them back on my eyes and would try to put my helmet on. Oops. It took a bit to get into a rhythm. I'm very glad that Cathy was understanding and not in too big of a hurry. :D

Later on down the road Jim caught us. He'd seen us leave Salem as he pulled in, so he made it a mini-goal to catch us. So, the three of us finished the last 15 miles or so. I'm not sure of the exact distance.

I camped with Cathy with the Shuttle Guy group that night. Thanks again! It seems like a fairly decent way to go. I never mind setting the tent up, but taking it down in the morning and trying to fold everything up kind of sucks. If I ever did RAGBRAI, I'd probably splurge and go with them. They were a good group of people over there.

Maui Showers were nice. I'd never used them before. Not as good as a shower at home, but definately better than a locker room.

Note to Culvers: Don't tear down your stand until after dinner. Sometimes people really do want ice cream, just maybe not *IMMEDIATELY* before dinner. That was a huge bummer to finish dinner and still be a little hungry and looking for dessert, with ice cream in mind. If you run out, just go and get some more.

71.82 miles, 13.6 mph Avg, 5:17:16 ride time, though we got in around 1:30 p.m. after starting at 6:30 a.m.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Picture Taken by Laura Neel, Argus Leader

Laura Neel, a photographer at the Argus Leader was nearby as I was coming out of cycling mode in Highmore. I was worried about looking dumb. Well, sillier than most road cyclists already look anyway. :D I think that it turned out pretty neat. I may have to order a reprint of this one. I even remembered to use my last name. When I got interviewed by KDLT I was saying in my head, "Don't say Hamersma, don't say Hamersma." It's like, "Don't look at the blinding light..." And then you do. And it's not really that big of a deal, except that your husband who's last name is Sievers is right next to you. :D D'oh!

Lara Neel - Argus LeaderMelissa Sievers of rural Beresford takes off her helmet at the Highmore campsite at the end of the June 10 Argus Leader Tour de Kota ride from Chamberlain to Highmore.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

TDK: A Brief Synopsis

Day 1: Nick and I camped in S Falls the night before. It had rained, I was cold. It stopped by the time we were packing up. I was interviewed by KDLT.

Trip to Mitchell with Cycling Cathy went well, and without incident. Jim, a Lanehog from Platte, caught us at a rest stop and rode with us into town. Mitchell was pleasant. A train went through at 4am. I was already awake because I was FREEZING.

Day 2: I will post corn palace pictures later. Lost Cathy as soon as we turned west. She is a speedy lady. I met a gal named Brittany and rode with her to Mt Vernon. The night before my front tire took alot of air. Shortly outside Mt. Vernon i discovered a flat. I had hoped that was why I was so slow. But fixing it still didnt boost my speed much beyond 8 or 9 miles an hour. I wanted to pick away at the miles, but wanted to enjoy camp too. Somewhere between Plankington and White Lake I began looking at the SAG wagon like a dog looks at steak. I saw a replica of my bike at White Lake and was very happy to have found Cathy. The waiting list for the SAG was long and it helped that Cathy and Co.had a plan. It made the choice a no brainer. Read her blog.

Day 3: I met up with Bonnie and Mary Jean to tackle the hills to Highmore. There were loads. We didnt walk up any of them. We made it in decent time. We were even greeted at the edge of town with a lady holding out popcicles. When you've just climbed however many feet (check Biking Brady's Blog) you dont want to stop. But it tasted good. Highmore really rolled out the welcome mat. Yummy pie. Great entertainment. It did get super windy and I kinda thought the tent would blow away. I wore several layers of clothes and at least stayed warm.

Day 4: slept in until 6. Wind started from the east, which is the direction we were heading. I met the ladies and we were rolling at 8. Bad news, it had started to rain. We tried a small paceline. Stopped about five miles out. Considered calling it quits and going back to highmore. Rain was stinging my eyes even with glasses. We got 6 more miles to the stop at Ree Heights. Pushed on to Miller. The rain let up and the wind started to switch. Mary jean's hubby picked her up. It was nice ish out so Bonnie and I went on to Wessington. Bonnie wiped out outsode of St Lawrence. More on that later. She is fine, she collected herself and we did get to Wessington. Her chest was sore and something felt kinda tight. Mary Jean and her husband picked her up. I kept going since there was only 30 ish miles left and we had been enjoying a tailwind. I've gotta say that I dont care much for this Hwy 14 route. There are EMS vehicles posted every few miles and a HyPo sweeping it, but there is still a lot of traffic. I got in to Huron by 3:30 and am camped in my tent inside of a building. One one hand its kinda loud. On the other, I will be warm tonight. Ive gotta go get my ear plugs.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Tour de Kota

On the left is a picture of Cycling Cathy and I, nearly finished with the first century of last year's TDK. This Sunday I again start the Tour de Kota. It should be a good ride. Might get a few showers, so I and the bike will either be sparkling or even more dirty. I don't feel like I have enough miles in. And I really don't. I have maybe 448 ish miles, trainer miles included. Though I did okay running consistantly over the winter and spring, though short distances.

Anyway. It may take me awhile to complete the rides, but I should be fine. My goal for the tour is to not walk my bike up the hills around Chamberlain and Highmore.

I'm trying to decide whether or not to post pictures of last year's tour. But... I suppose I will in an effort to show why I won't be attempting the century. If all I had to do was 100 miles, I'd be fine. I'll only be saving 25 miles and a couple days later we'll have an 88 mile day, so that may as well be a century too.

But, I promised to not do it. You see, I did the century the first day last year. I contend that I was fine. Though I perhaps hadn't logged enough miles to do it comfortably and then proceed with a multi day tour. The next day I was tired and sore. The third day my friend Angie and I were riding and decided that we could try the century that day and SAG in if it proved to be too much. We're stubborn ladies and kept picking away at the miles, knocking them down one by one. Then, around Crooks we were 91 miles into the ride, still some distance from Dells. I didn't know that it would be more like 114 miles either. I saw railroad tracks at a considerable angle. I thought that I was approaching them at a perpendicular angle. Something made my tire slip, my tire was caught between the plate and track, so down I went.

So, this year I feel even less prepared on the bike, though I'm confident that I'll be fine. My husband feels that I was fatigued and perhaps misread the situation and that may have contributed to the fall. I don't know. I wasn't the only one to fall there. I just know that I need to try not to make any stupid mistakes this year and try to watch out for potentially dangerous things a little bit better. Accidents happen, it's true. But I've already broken two bones. If I crash again, I've been threatened with a melted down bike. :D We shall see. Just call me paranoid.

In the spirit of being a member of the Lanehogs: Team Roadkill. I will post my roadkill photos.

I'd never had a stitch before. I think that I got like 3 in my elbow and maybe 5 or so in my knee. I don't remember. I was supposed to update my tetnis shot before the Tour. I wanted to wait until I got back. Yeah, the people at Dell Rapids Avera poked me with a needle several times. And no beer to be had there! My clavicle seems to have healed pretty well.

I still don't really know how I ended up with such a flesh wound on my right arm and left knee. I must have bounced off my bike once I hit the ground. Eesh. Angie and I never really could piece together those couple of minutes. I do have the Lanehog group picture from Dell Rapids, but not yet available digitally.

Tis but a scratch. I got better. I feel happy! I feel happy! I think I'll go for a walk. * Name the weak movie reference.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Our Menagerie

We've got quite the crew of mouths to feed around here. Nick gets a kick out of having animals to care for. I think that it's cool too.

Seven chickens roost in our barn. We got 10 of them a few months ago as chicks. Sketch likes to hunt mice typically, but was thrilled to find food catered for him. Thus, only 7 now. They're getting bigger and will likely soon lay eggs. The rooster is getting quite cocky and keeps his hens in line.


A few weeks ago, about 70 cows here, 35 mommas and 35 calves, lived here. Those have gone to pasture, but Nick brought home a little red holstein steer. He named him Joe. I had been calling him Lunchmeat, I don't want to get attached. Nick says once I have to chase him around the yard a few times, I'll be ready to eat steak. He's already stepped on my feet a few times while I feed him. When he puts some weight on, it's going to hurt. And he gets feisty when he wants his bottle. It's not wise to hold the bottle in front of one's stomach, or I suppose groin area. He'll thump the bottle up with a bit of force.

While I was working in the strawberry patch, I found a lot of earthworms/nightcrawlers. Here's the longest worm that I've seen. And here it's not even all stretched out.

And here's the domestic pets. Ruby and Sketch have become quite the twosome, following each other around the farm. Though Sketch finds it a bit problematic to hunt with a big obnoxious dog on his tail. Occasionally they'll both meet me on the driveway when I come home from a ride.

Photobucket Photobucket Napping Buddies

Pixel and Ruby have become quite chummy lately too, though she's been careful to not allow photographic evidence of such activity.


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Here it Goes

Alright, so I'm addicted to reading the blogs of my cycling friends. I really do enjoy living vicariously through them if I didn't happen to get out for a ride. Even some of the more 'mundane' activities are really fun to read about. Maybe I'm just a voyeur.

I blog occasionally on my page. I also have a facebook page. I know, I don't probably need another thing to check. However, this way I can just post a link to my blog on both sites and people can read it at their leisure.

At any rate, I need to have an easy way to elaborate on next week's Tour de Kota. If nobody reads it, oh well. And, I like that I could post pictures here with my blog and use it as a photo essay occasionally. The Myspace blog doesn't seem to facilitate that just yet.

Stay tuned for cycling stories, discussion of projects at home and quite possibly a story or two about our dog, two cats, seven chickens and one calf named Sloppy Joe.