Sunday, June 28, 2009

2009 Tour de Kota Day 4 – Gregory to Chamberlain

Leaving Gregory you instantly start climbing with some decent rollers. Again I got a late start from camp, but at least I was out by 8:20 or so and I wasn’t the last one to leave camp. I caught many people on the rollers north of Gregory and some were walking a couple of the tougher rolls. If they knew what was upcoming, they probably would have sagged in right then and there. When we turned back towards Platte, the real climbing fun was about to begin. There were a couple of hills before the river that had me in my lowest gear (36 x 23) BEGGING for a couple more gears. Uphill at about 6.8 mph and about 40 rpm’s is not my idea of fun. They were definitely a couple of long challenging hills. The sad part is that it was hard to enjoy the decent on the other side due to the cross winds whipping through the valley.

I caught up with quite a few familiar faces at Snake Creek across the river and rode with Tammy W. all the way to Academy. At Academy I hooked back up with CDV, Triple G, and Duane B. It started to spit a little rain at us again and it was still a little chilly but we found refuge in the middle of a long stretch of lonely highway with a stop on a gravel road that included grilled burgers and watermelon. I fueled up and we were off to Puckwana. We had a brief stop at the side of the road where we were QUITE pleased that one of the ladies there had decided early in the day that it was cold so she grabbed the church coffee pot. A couple cups of coffee and we were off on the last stretch into Chamberlain for the night.

Laura had called me on the road somewhere after Academy telling me that she was sick of being cold and wet on this trip. That, and remembering how cold the wind could be at the campground in Chamberlain by the river, the thought of camping didn’t excite her. Taking the hint well I told her to check into rooms at Chamberlain. She found a Best Western that had reasonably priced rooms and would take our little dog and….wait for it…had a hot tub!! Sold. We picked up a room for CDV as well.
When we pulled in we got unpacked and headed for the hot tub to get our core body temperatures back to normal for the first time all week. After getting comfortable in our room, CDV and I discussed that we too were sick of the rain and cold. Looking at the weather it appeared that more of the same was on the way. There was talk that if the weather was bad in the morning of forgetting the rest of the tour and going home. Luckily the weather was better, albeit cool in the morning.

The funny story of the day was when I walked through the lobby and noticed that the breakfast room didn’t open until 6:30am. Knowing that many bikers would be getting up early and be gone by that time due to many people choosing the century (100 mile) route to Pierre, I called down to the front desk to ask the possibility of opening a little early due to the fact that most of us would be gone. The kid at the front desk seemed less than willing to make a command decision, or work at all for that matter, and said that it would be better if I talked to the lady who came in at 10:00. So I did.

I called down at 10:00 and explained our plight and she said that nobody would be in until 6:30. I thought all was lost. Then she said the most amazing thing to me: “…but I can just give you the key to the Breakfast Room if you’d be willing to set a few things out and watch over the place a little and drop the key off at the front desk.” That’s right, somebody delivered the key to the Breakfast Room to me. If I’m ever in a need for a room in Chamberlain in the future, guess where I’m going! Many bicyclists got a chance to eat before taking off and it was a super cool gesture on the staff’s part.

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