Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tour de Kota '08: Day 3 - Chamberlain to Highmore

Although it was a chilly day by June standards, it was a beautiful day to ride after being completely brutalized by the wind yesterday. The only problem, for those of you who know the Chamberlain area, is there are a couple of monster hills to deal with early on in the ride. After getting to the top you have the joy of all joys though: cannonballing at breakneck speeds down the other side.

I got into an aero-tuck position and decided to see what I could top out at going down the hill. Then a weird thing happened: I was flying along, catching a guy rather quickly and the whole front of my bike started to shake violently. I seriously thought that either my headset was loose or the tire was not on right. I was trying to brake fast but carefully. I seriously had the feeling that I was about to go down and it wasn't going to be pretty however. Luckily I got it back under control, but needless to say that I feathered the brakes all the way down the next hill which is shorter but steeper. I came to find out at the campsite that others had the same issue on that hill, so apparently it was a speed/road/wind combination or something of that nature. All I know is that I haven't been that terrified in a long time with a "non-cager" incident.

Hitting Ft. Thompson seemed way too easy after the windy day from hell just encountered yesterday. Laura was going to meet me there but was just leaving Chamberlian so I told her just to go on to Highmore and I'd roll on. I downed the rest of my Sugar Free Amp (yes Amp, another plug to your greatness, now where is my sponsorship?!?!) and after a brief chat with a local kid on his Walmart-special bike that was in awe of my "rad ride" I was on my way.

Leaving Ft. Thompson is a hill. Not a bad hill mind you, but a hill that you seriously questioned when the top was going to happen. It seemed to go on endlessly. After that were some pretty decent rolls all the way to Highmore and it was a good, short, but hilly ride today.

My rant of the day is a little more pointed however. I left a little late for me (7:10ish). I noticed I've been doing that a lot more on this tour and I'm sure part of it is that it has been a little colder. Anyhow I was getting increasingly annoyed with people I could see ahead riding 3 or more wide on the road, but not collapsing at all when there was traffic behind. When I could I was yelling "CAR BACK" to try to get them to move over which only worked with one or two set of riders. Even when I went by with an "On your left" was I rarely granted more space to pass them, often going out into passing lane to get by them.

After clearing most of the slower riders things seemed to be getting better. As I was picking up the pace with about ten miles to go I notice that there were three guys up ahead, all riding a decent pace as it took most of that ten miles for me to catch them and I was clipping along pretty good. Understand that this road is pretty much constant rolling hills and the guy in the outside seemed oblivious or just didn't care when a car would come up behind him while climbing a hill. I was getting increasingly upset as car after car had to wait behind them, whereas if they would have collapsed, these cars could have still given them room and passed safely. This was probably a motivational factor for me catching them because I needed to share my displeasure. As I was catching them just a couple miles out of town I realized that I knew the guy and decided that I would wait until I got into camp to talk to him, hopefully in private if possible.

Unfortunately he was by the beer wagon with other people by the time I loaded my bike on the van, but I didn't back down, I went and had a little discussion as calmly as I could. I told him that I like him a lot, but I needed him to understand that as we continue to fight for cyclist rights on the roadways with organizations such as the South Dakota Bicycle Coalition, that the damage he was doing to our reputations on the road is not helping to gain a "share the road" attitude. He didn't say anything at all, but I hope it sunk in a little. I really do like the guy and he is a strong rider for being fairly new to riding and I wish him well. I do need him to use his head a little better and that was my point. There was a TdK rep from the Argus there as I was talking and I discussed the need to find a way to make a safety briefing mandatory like the do on BRAN (Bike Ride Across Nebraska) to discuss such things. We'll see, I know that advocacy-wise that the TdK hasn't heard the last from me on this subject. There is another subject to follow that has quite a few of us upset as well (TdK-wise), but I'll save that for a later time. It will be quite the rant as well.

In other news, tomorrow is "Ride with thE kErnEl Day" so we are not leaving until 8 am and hitting a bar in every town. If that doesn't have disaster spelled all over it nothing does

5-mile Garmin splits:

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