Chamberlain, South Dakota: On this 25th day of TransAmerica 2010 and with a tinge of sadness, today we passed the halfway point on our journey across North America. I have cumulatively cycled 1,892 miles and climbed 64,000 feet and have difficulty registering that I have already cycled halfway across a continent. It’s a weird sensation, because this trip is flying by quickly — yet in slow speed, as I pedal mile by mile.
Yesterday we crossed several milestones. We crossed the Missouri River and in so doing left the West for America’s Mid West. We also crossed into another time zone. Today, en route to the pleasant tiny town of Chamberlain, we followed the Missouri on the historic Lewis and Clark Trail. This part of America is surprisingly beautiful as I explore South Dakota from the saddle of a bike. I can only imagine what Lewis and Clark experienced when they explored the Dakotas in 1804 from the saddles of horses.
Today’s ride was an easy 83 mile jaunt and we made it to Chamberlain in time for lunch at Indulge, a local bakery and cafe. Yesterday’s 117 mile ride to Pierre (plus some extra credit mileage as I went to see the South Dakota State Capitol Building) was much more demanding. For much of the ride we were pummelled by a strong cross wind, which required strength and concentration to not topple over. For 21 miles we also had a nasty, full frontal head wind, which required double the effort to go half the speed. Wind is like an invisible mountain. The wind was howling and unrelenting, and with fellow cyclist John from Ohio, we just plowed through the wind, powered by Gu. Given all the energy expended on this Century plus ride, last night a few of us opted for a steakhouse dinner to get a good protein fix. We went to the Cattlemen’s Club in Pierre, and I had the best meal yet on this trip with a generous piece of Dakota prime beef.
Speaking of protein, I also want to note the roadkill which we frequently see on the road shoulders. Part of my cycling day involves avoiding roadkill, which varies from deer to birds to snakes. I even saw a turtle roadkill in Wyoming. What was amazing about yesterday’s roadkill collection were thousands of grasshoppers, dead and alive, we cycled through. At times it felt like a grasshopper epidemic, and they were jumping around and hopping on my bike and my body like popcorn in a popper. It was intense.
Days 24 and 25 summary:
Days 24 and 25 Route: Wall to Pierre (Day 24) to Chamberlain (Day 25), South Dakota
Days 24 and 25 mileage: 119.81 miles (Day 24) and 84.58 miles (Day 25)
Cumulative mileage: 1,892.10 miles per my odometer
Days 24 and 25 Climbing: 5,500 feet
Cumulative Climbing: 64,500 feet of climbing
Terrain: grasslands and rolling hills