Today was a much needed rest day in Sioux Falls. I got going by hand washing yesterday's bicycle clothes, and once they were hanging out to dry, I went down for a nice breakfast in the hotel breakfast area. Several other early birds were out and about, so it was very nice. I joined Tom Zack and Gerard Davenport for an early foray to Wal Mart. We each need a flashlight for a few days from now, when we will be on a rails to trails route with 3 tunnels long enough to be very dark. We each spent $1 on a top of the line model. I cleaned my bike, and spent the morning watching the British Open and Tour de France while reading the Sunday papers. I had a nice lunch with Tom and Dan, and then have basically frittered away the afternoon. Hopefully, all this rest will pay off this week.
I will start the day off rider introductions with two terrific gents who are leaving the trip in Sioux Falls, after being with us from the beginning. They are Howard Beane, our senior rider at 79, and Bob Erickson, 64. They are from Camp Hill, PA and Bloomington, MN, respectively. They met on a cross country trip in 1996, and have done a long ride I believe every summer since. They have cycled in Spain, Italy, New Zealand, Australia, and elsewhere, but the one I thought was most interesting was a 2600 mile ride from St Petersburg to Instanbul.
Next we have Beth Laber, a 50 year old nurse from Boulder, CO. She likes to do what she calls "her ride", which may have her in a group, or maybe on her own exploring. She has done the Bicycle Tour of Colorado (BTC) several times, and was first on the scene in 2006 when the rider was killed coming into Pagosa Springs.
Sandy North (52) from Berthoud, CO and Leo Anderson (63) from Austin, TX, lead a group they variously call the Bad Pennies, or Loose Change. They met in a most interesting way, again on a BTC ride I was on, I believe in 2005. The indoor camping was a tent the first day, and the tent was basically set up in a gully. It looked like rain was coming, and the person Sandy was with was complaining vehemently to the volunteer that she was not staying there. The volunteer was Leo's wife, and she said why don't you stay with us in our condo. They did, hit it off, and have gotten together for other rides.
I will finish with Howard and Shirley Uehle from Cedar Falls, Iowa. A very nice couple, they typically stick together and ride their ride. Not the fastest, but far from the back of the pack. Shirley seemed a little apprehensive about the ride before we started, but has handled every obstacle beautifully.
We hit the Minnesota state line about 25 miles in tomorrow, so stay tuned!