Alzada Mt to Rapid City SD
Travel Time 11 hours
Saddle Time 8:20 hours
Gained. 6,432 feet
Week 3. 520 miles
Total to date 1,502
Woke up at 4am knowing I had to break down tent and wanted to be on road at 5am. The wind was at my back so I made it to the 45 mile town Belle Fourche in good time. I was finally out of Montana after 13 days, flew thru Wyoming, and was in South Dakota before I knew it. I then started calculating that I can make it to Rapid City by 2, which would be long before the bike store closes at 4. I wanted to get the bike tuned after 1,500 miles!
For you golfers out there, you know how you don’t want to birdie your first hole. Well, in cycling, if you have good start, you know something is going to change.
I knew Rapid City was on the outskirts of the Black Hills where Mt. Rushmore is. I just assumed I wouldn’t hit any major hills in the Black Hills. I was approaching the area and asked a young man with a bike on his bike rack, for directions. He said that after Deadwood and Lead, I would hit a bad hill, Strawberry Hill. He said it was over a mile of 12% incline. He said I would probably need to walk my loaded down bike up this hill. I continued cycling towards the Black Hills. I should have know there was trouble ahead when I saw signs stating ” Winter Activities next few miles”. Well there was a hill just to get to Deadwood. It was 12 miles long of 3-5% incline. That isn’t too bad if you know it is coming. But when you go around each turn hoping it is the end, and it just keeps going, it is really draining. And the guy that gave me directions never even mentioned it! I make it to Deadwood and stopped for lunch. I asked the manager about Strawberry Hill. She says it is a steep windy 5 mile road and she would be more than happy to load my bike into her truck and take me to the top. I seriously gave it consideration because I was exhausted and I had 45 miles to Rapid City and I was starting to cut ETA close to 4 pm. But I decided to give it a try and hope the truth wasn’t as steep as the guy said and not as long as the manager estimated. I started the climb and about 2 miles into it I stopped to rest. The incline was around 6%. I had chosen to stop at a driveway because there was a railing for me to sit on. I didn’t know whether I should hitch a ride or not. Then I noticed people leaving the house I was parked at. I decided I was going to ask them how much longer to the top. If their reaction was negative and I still had a long way to go, I would look for a ride. Luckily they said the top was around the next bend. So I continued on my way and made to the top. Everyone said that once you made it to the top, it would be downhill from there. Well they lied. There were still many climbs ahead of me. I was racing the clock to get to Rapid City. My Warm Shower host had said he was walking distance to the bike store. I got to his house at 3:45 and threw my panniers and gear on his porch before I even met him, and rushed to bike store.
Well Cranky Jeff’s bike store was still open and they will tune my bike tomorrow and they hooked me up with a tour operator to take me to Rushmore tomorrow!