On August 22nd, the Cycle of America 2010 team reached South Dakota’s premier tourist attraction, Mount Rushmore National Memorial. The heads of 4 U.S. presidents – Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt – are carved in granite on the rockface.
Watch the lads as they pose for photos, attend a presentation and suggest a future addition to the mountain.
Jesse Ziebart organised a fundraising pancake breakfast for us on Saturday morning, August 21st. Cyclists from the Spearfish area were invited to cycle up to Jesse’s Rimrock Lodge in Spearfish Canyon, receive a wonderful breakfast, meet the COA team and make a donation to Livestrong.
There was a fantastic turnout, and we got to meet a lot of great people. Thank you to Jesse and Andi for making the whole thing happen, and thanks to everyone who turned up on the day!
Another day along the Highway 14 began at the later time of 7.00am as young McNamara in his own words” required the extra 30 mins beauty sleep”.Cylced through Cavour ,Iroquis,de Shmet .Hardly metropolises but nice all the same as we are still in the agricultural area in South Dakota “the real America”
These are parts the average visitor to states would not see and the people could not be any friendlier.
When you’re biking along the i-90 its best not to know of the monsters that are coming within inches of you. We see trucks carrying houses(no jokes),aeroplane parts, We ve had many a near encounter with them but generally they overtake us on the other lane if there is enough room.
In short ,pretty much a boring day cycling,Today was one long long day ,we rose at the ridiculous hour of 545 and were on the road for 630 ready for the long day ahead. we met the support team twice today.We followed the highway 14 (not the I-90 thankfully).The road itself was painfully boring,and straight as an arrow
Young McNamara was hoping for a dog attack to mix things up a bit. No punctures to report and no wind ,which was a relief positive After passing through the likes of Blunt,Highmore,Miller, and Wessington where many a quick break was had we made a final stop at Wolsely before finally rolling into Huron ,South Dakota some 12 hours at approximately 7pm. After that all I can remember is I slept like I haven’t for as long as I can remember ,despite the incessant bear like snoring of room-mate Kerwin
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
The usual early morning wakeup call from the human alarm clock that is William Kerwin arrived at 5.50am. “Leonard, find out do they do breakfast across the road and get Macker up”
With the healthy option consisting of hash browns, bacon and sausages in our bellies we were on our way just an hour after rising and back on the dreaded interstate road I-90 which we have been following virtually every day of this cycle. Each day we leave as early as is possible to gain the advantage of the cooler temperatures Rather than launch into a William Kerwin–esque rant on the day in question, today was just as the song goes “a perfect day” all things considered. At the same time, today was quite an eventful day.
The temperature although warm was a great deal cooler (just in the 80’s ) and for the first time on our cycle we had the wind at our backs which made a huge difference and allowed us to keep an average speed of approx 18 Miles Per Hour and a record breaking 46 M.P.H. on the downhill. Not a puncture was had between the 3 of us which was a first and just what the doctor ordered. We also crossed the time zone and have clocked up approx 1,600 miles ,which was another landmark and are now just 6 hours from Irish time.
What’s more for the first time on this cycle we came across a fellow cyclist on the interstate which broke the usual boredom of the long day of cycling .On first sight young McNamara couldn’t believe his eyes and dismissed the dot on the landscape of the hard shoulder as a “motorbike”.The cyclist in question was a Scottish gentleman by the name of Dan , whom has been travelling to the U.S each summer for the past 12 years from Edinburgh to “bike for fun” all at the young age of 65 would you believe.He was a joy to converse with and we cycled along side him and before we knew it we were at our final destination of Kadoka, where the COA team joined Dan for luncheon . An inspirational character and it was fantastic to exchange war stories about our respective trips.
On the 20th of August we crossed over into our fifth state, South Dakota, amid rolling countryside and the occasional red, rock mesa which gave way to the larger, forested hills around the town of Spearfish. We made for Rimrock Lodge in the idyllic Spearfish Canyon, where we were met up with Jesse Ziebart who runs the lodge, and her friend, Andi. They whipped us up a tasty, home-cooked dinner of stuff peppers. We spent the rest of day preparing for the pancake breakfast fundraiser at thelodge the next morning. That night we drove the nearby historic town of Deadwood where we handed out flyers for the fundraiser, collected some money and even sampled the local nightlife!
The next morning we were up early to drop the cyclists into town. We headed to the park and met John from the Spearfish Bicycle co-op and a large group of local cyclists who had come for our charity bike ride from Spearfish City Park out to Rimrock Lodge. So, we cycled with the group out to the lodge and got stuck into the pancake and bacon breakfast prepared by Laurie and her husband Richard, along with Jessie and Andi. We chatted to the friendly locals who had come to the breakfast, and local reporter Kaija Swisher who was covering the Cycle for the Black Hills Pioneer paper.
After the breakfast the first official premiere of the Cycle of America movie was shown on a projector, to the hopefully fascinated audience! We answered questions from the audience, then said our goodbyes as the event wound down. We’d like to thank all the local businesses who donated goods or money to this event, it would not have been possible without their support. I can’t emphasize enough how grateful we are to Jesse Ziebart for the huge amount of work she put into organising this event for us. Thank you Jesse!
The hard work done, we relaxed at Spearfish Water Park to escape from the 40 degree heat!
Thanks again to Jesse, Andi, Laurie, Richard and everyone else who helped out.
We haven’t got the final tally of money raise yet, but it’s definitely over $500! Woohoo!
After a nice rest day in Spearfish, we hit the road on a hot Sunday morning. Although the distance was not too demanding, today was a scorcher. The temperature topped out at 105F which equates to 40.5C. Ouch. We’re lucky we invested in good suncream.
Arriving into Rapid City, we checked into America’s Best Value Inn and headed straight for their outdoor pool. Needless to say it was a huge relief to get in the water on such a scorching day.
That evening we drove to Mount Rushmore to get a few snaps of the famous faces. It’s a impressive place and has an interesting history.
Will, our human alarm, had the cyclists up early again today and within minutes we were on the road.
Today was a hard day along the I-90 again. The first half seemed to be all climbing with some really long uphill drags. The heat again threatened to top 100F.
We stopped in Sundance for some lunch, and after that thankfully the downhills came along and it was easier to make quick progress. 8 miles from our destination, we crossed into South Dakota which means we now have crossed four States! Woohoo!
We arrived into Spearfish and made our way to the Rimrock Lodge owned by South Dakota’s greatest good samaratin Jesse Ziebert. After a snooze, Jessie and her friend Andi made us a dinner of stuffed peppers, spuds, peas and mango. Yum yum.
Afterwards we drove to Deadwood, a popular town 40 miles away, to promote the Cycle of America’s Pancake Breakfast the following morning, and to indulge in a few glasses of water. Deadwood is an historic Wild West style town with gambling the activity of choice. We did most of our marketing in a cool bar called Saloon No 10. We handed out flyers and got nearly $70 in donations.
It was early to bed however – Jesse has organised a 8:30am charity cycle to the Pancake Breakfast which we are going to participate in. Even our rest days involve cycling!