Day 21 was 91 miles, from Lusk to Hot Springs, SD. Though we had a crosswind most of the time, we did pick up a tailwind part of the time which really helped. I averaged 16.4 mph which was pretty good given the climbing and winds. The ride out of Lusk was very scenic with a climb to a ridgeline with views of valleys on both sides. The first two pictures give you some idea of the views. I had one interesting moment coming down from the first ridge in the mid 30s mph, I saw three male deer with antlers near the highway. I watched them very carefully as we have had two riders already almost hit deer who jumped on the road almost coming out of nowhere. I was pretty comfortable as I could see them all the way. Two went into the valley but one jumped onto to the road and then scampered off. I could hear the rider behind me yelling deer. (One of the riders who almost hit a deer was actually in more danger because after missing her, it was hit by a truck going the other way and she was afraid it was going to be knocked back into her. She was still shaking at the next rest stop).
The next picture is me at the South Dakota border followed by the climb into the Black Hills. A four mile climb that was pretty tough. There is also a picture of Anne and Leslie as they went by me.
This is not a race but a tour and all riders are just trying to get through each day and get ready to ride the next. I would classify riders into three groups -- fast, in the middle, and strongest. I am somewhere in the middle, sometimes closer to the top, sometimes closer to the bottom, some riders who are very fast, like Anders and Jan from the Netherlands take a lot pictures so they may past me 10-15 times in one day. For me the strongest are the riders who are out there the longest. Some of the strongest may be on the road for 1-4 hours longer than the fast riders. That is strong to me, both physically and mentally. They enjoy the moment and are ready to go the next day.
I was hungry when I got in today, but two bottles of low fat chocolate milk (recovery drink), a chocolate extreme blizzard, and a buffet supper has left me very full.
Tomorrow will be both difficult and scenic as we ride through the Black Hills from Hot Springs to Rapid City. Scenic as we will ride though the Hills by both Crazy Horse and Mt Rushmore monuments. Difficult as there will be a lot of climbs. Also, the forecast is for scattered T-storms so hopefully we will dodge them.
PS The last picture is of Kim and me on our anniversary dinner. I forgot to include yesterday.