Jul 9th, Day 21: Lusk, WY to Hot Springs, SD: 93 miles, 2,882 ft. ascent

Today we added a fourth state to our states-visited list as we crossed over the state line into South Dakota. We were pleased to be greeted by an officer of the law as the local sheriff's deputy (Steve) turned up at a refreshment stop.

Chris and Al with the sheriff
"I did not meet the sheriff, but I did meet his deputy"

Over the past 3 weeks we’ve been refining our approach to each day’s task of getting to the next hotel as painlessly as possible. Mostly this means going to bed before 9pm, setting an alarm for 5am and having a pre-ride checklist to make sure we have route sheet available, Garman charged and loaded, GPS tracker charged, water bottles filled, sun cream applied, etc, etc. But we did just want to share a short list of other things we’ve found useful (most of these learned in the time honoured, hard, way).

  1. Pre-open the energy bars in your back pocket so that you don’t get distracted opening them while riding. You need all your concentration to avoid roadkill the size of a small pony that obstructs the shoulder.
  2. When ordering a Thai Curry the evening before you spend yet another long day on a very hard saddle that’s making itself known to your undercarriage, be sure to check how many chillies are marked against the curry you select. 
  3. Minimize the amount of time spent at refreshment stops and keep riding so you get to the destination in time for lunch. This way you can savour a well-deserved Adult Beverage with your sandwich, in the sure knowledge you are not contravening strict no-alcohol-while-riding rules.
  4. Use the Masonic Suncream Application Method. I.e. roll up the legs of your Lycra shorts before applying the cream as the shorts will inevitably ride up while you’re pedalling, which leaves newbies with unattractive and painful red lines between the bronzed lower leg and pasty white upper thigh.
  5. Do not let Steve King take the front of a paceline when there is an uphill gradient anywhere in sight. Otherwise the line will disintegrate within seconds and no-one will see Steve again before the hotel.
  6. If there is a laundromat at one of the refreshment stops then bring your dirty washing with you.

The final tip above is really only for Steve himself. On one of the days he did actually leave the start last, made a 45 minute stop at the refreshment point to do his laundry and still arrived at the destination hotel first.

In yesterday's blog we forgot to mention that the town of Lusk, plays host to a charming annual celebration: The Legend of Rawhide. The precise origins of the tradition seem to be lost in the mists of time, but enquiries with the locals suggest it commemorates a gratuitous murder, followed by the culprit giving himself up to be flayed alive by the local Indians. In any case, fellow rider Marty got some good pictures of the parade!