After the relatively flawless day we had yesterday our luck was to change somewhat and so too was the wind direction unfortunately for us.The heat and speed of the winds had picked up dramatically
The wind was no longer blowing from west to east pushing us on but from north to south.One may ask the question why would this effect us as we are going east?True but not completely.Today we were forced to go north as there were literally no towns on the interstate within a reasonable distance.So,to the unknown of the backroads it was.
After cycling 30 miles east along the I-90 where the wind didn’t cause too many problems apart from Eoin nearly falling into the ditch and a couple of punctures, the fun and games began when we departed the I-90 at a town called Viviane and hit the “backroads” or “frontage road” north through Fort Pierre National Grassland
For the next 30 miles we averaged a pathetic 8MPH and just 14 MPH on the downhills.Even McNamara ,famous for his downhill speeds felt that had he not pedalled downhill he d be pushed back up the hills by the strong gusts.We had been literally battered by the headwinds for the guts of a demoralizing 3-4 hours where there was literally nowhere to cover despite trying to draft. We hadn’t experienced winds like it before.At one point I was practically forced to persuade Kerwin and McNamara from flinging their bikes into the ditch and walking the remaining 25 miles
Even the support team-member, driver Donal Lucey summed up the sheer ferocity of the winds when he was quoted as saying he “thought he had hit a deer” when driving against the full force of the wind and he was was forced to vary his driving style from the usual 1 hands to the more sensible 2.
After taking the battling through the winds the remaining milage was plainsailing in comparison and we arrived approximately 6pm a long 11 hour day cycle.
On a positive note we are now today approximately halfway across the U.S.A. which is an achievement in itself in terms of distance and days cycling .Also,upon arrival in Pierre which is South Dakota’s state capital a quaint sleepy town of approximately 18,000 inhabitants we were advised to swim in the Missouri River and duly did.
What better way to relax the tired legs,and a lot cleaner than the river Liffey