Don’s Blog: July 14: Yee-haw─It’s the Rodeo
Onward we pedaled today, 72 miles from Chamberlain to the town of Mitchell, South Dakota. The good news was that a nice gentle tailwind helped push us down the road. We were moving along at a nice 16 miles per hour without a huge effort. The bad news was that a myriad of physical discomfort made the ride less enjoyable than it might have been. My right knee, which has been bothering me on and off since Monday, was acting up again. Applying full force on the downward pedal stroke was not possible without pain, so I had to modify the pedal stroke to accommodate the knee. In addition, my butt was so sore I could simply not remain in the seat for more than a couple of minutes at a time. I am hoping the day off in Sioux Falls on Sunday will help with both maladies.
At least we were able to finish off the 72 miles by noon, after starting at about 7:00 a.m. That is a good idea in these parts, since after late morning the temperature soars and the misery index is off the charts. It was over 100 degrees F by early afternoon; even walking across the street to a restaurant for lunch was draining. That is it until the sun sets, when the mercury finally drops to tolerable levels.
Despite the weather, several of us took the opportunity to attend the professional rodeo, which as it happens was in town on this night. The event started at 7:30, so it was not too uncomfortable, especially after the sun went down at about 8:30 or 9. I had never been to a rodeo before, and was excited to see it. I must say I was not disappointed; they put on a nice show. Starting with bronco busting riding, the program included steer wrestling, calf roping, and a favorite, “mutton busting.” The latter featured young children with helmets riding sheep for as long as they could, most for just a few seconds. After dropping the kids, the sheep would run to a corner of the stadium to gather with the other sheep and bray.
All in all, it was a fun evening. Unfortunately, the bike riders in attendance, about a dozen of us, had to leave early, since the next ride was scheduled to begin at 6:30 a.m. Saturday. I had hoped to immerse myself in the local culture as often as possible along the route, without tiring myself out too much, and this proved an excellent opportunity to do so. One more day until the much anticipated rest day in Sioux Falls, Iowa.