Range Roaming – S Dakota 2013 – Day 32

That climb out of Blue Bell: Hot Springs to Custer

Thursday May 16, 2013, 40 miles (64 km) – Total so far: 1,308 miles (2,105 km)

Some days you amaze yourself with what you can do. And some days you just meet your expectations. I think today was a mix of both.

I’m out of breath and feeling unfit before I even get out of Hot Springs. There is a short, steep hill on the way out of downtown that kicks my butt before I’ve even had time to warm up. But, luckily after this, it’s just a long, gentle, continuous climb to a gap, before descending into Wind Cave National Park. Read more

Range Roaming – S Dakota 2013 – Day 34

Just a quick hop up the road: Custer to Hill City

Saturday May 18, 2013, 19 miles (31 km) – Total so far: 1,383 miles (2,226 km)

After a week or so of good weather, the forecast is pretty awful. After this morning, it looks like there is going to be at least 2.5 days of very poor weather. My plan is to just do a quick ride up to Hill City, positioning myself to make a run up the Mickelson trail from there once the weather clears. Read more

Range Roaming – S Dakota 2013 – Days 35-37

*&@#!!! Waiting out another cut-off low pressure system: Hill City – May 19-21

Sunday May 19, 2013

Before this ride, I don’t think I’d ever heard the term “cut-off low”. Or if I had, I’d never paid much attention. It is a term I am now all too familiar with. It refers to a low pressure system that gets cut off from the jet stream and therefore doesn’t go anywhere. It just sits and spins in place, whipping nasty weather at whomever happens to be on the back side of the anti-clockwise winds. It will sit in place until another, stronger pressure system finally moves it on. Read more

Range Roaming – S Dakota 2013 – Day 38

The soggy, recently-graded Mickelson Trail: Hill City to Spearfish

Wednesday May 22, 2013, 62 miles (100 km) – Total so far: 1,445 miles (2,326 km)

I know they’ve been here. I can see their tire tracks softly indented into the surface of the trail. I can see their footprints in muddy sections. Between Mystic and Rochford, there has even been enough of them to have the trail compressed into a fairly hard surface. But in all the miles I ride today on the Mickelson Trail I do not see a single trail-user, except for one guy in the parking lot at the trail’s high point. Read more

Range Roaming – S Dakota 2013 – Day 39

@&#*!!! Waiting out a high wind warning: Spearfish to Spearfish

Thursday May 23, 2013

I’m not sure where I built up the bad karma. But here we are – on hold in another weather delay.

I will consider riding in a high wind advisory (sustained winds 25 to 38 mph – depending on direction and consistency of the wind, and amount of traffic and width of shoulder). But my personal feeling is that there is no good reason to ride when there is a high wind warning (sustained winds over 40mph), unless you are on a deserted road way out in the middle of nowhere. Read more

Range Roaming – Reflections on Nebraska and South Dakota

Here is the email update I sent to family and friends:

My spirit smouldered for the past few years, but it has been reignited. First, it was just a lick of flame threatened by the rain and cold of Illinois and Iowa, but now, closing in on Wyoming, my spirit burns with the life and energy of a wildfire that can’t be contained. It’s as if a symphony is playing ‘Ode to Joy’ in my heart and pumping it into every cell in my body. There is nothing more pure or simple than feeling so full of life. Read more