Completing a ride of 100 miles or more is no mean feat for any cyclist. It’s easy to forget this as we plan our trip and gaily announce that we have to slot in a 100+ ride because of hotel/motel availability. But every time we pop one of these puppies out, we’re tired for a few days afterwards, and remember why it’s a much better idea to keep our rides below 70 miles whenever possible. Today we got away early, and were lucky with the weather for our 104-mile ride from Medora, ND to New Salem, ND, but it still seemed to go on forever! So long, in fact, that we crossed over today from the Mountain Time zone to the Central Time zone, putting us just 6 hours behind the UK.
The day started with our US cell phone getting a little ahead of itself and setting off its alarm at 4.30am instead of 5.30am – it obviously thought it was in New Salem already. It didn’t take us long to realise that it was still dark outside, reset the alarm, roll our eyes and roll over and go back to sleep for an hour. So, we were up bright and early and got away at a decent time. Luckily the temperature was much more reasonable than yesterday’s 90C, and the wind was relatively kind to us with a kind of oblique tailwind… well, we were going East, and the wind was strongly from the NNW. And we mean “strongly” – it was pretty tough at times controlling the bikes with gusts of wind from the side, and we were both much more tired than we expected to be by the end of the day. When we looked at the elevation chart, we could see why. Although we have definitely left the liquorice allsort hills behind, it is still far from flat (check out the Garmin Connect Cycle Log)… over 2,000 ft of climbing today, in North Dakota. Who’d have thought it?
Tonight we’re just chilling out in our motel room, excitedly watching the Tour de France Prologue (Go Lance), and checking the World Cup and Wimbledon results… what a fantastic weekend of sport, and a whole month of the “Tour day Fraants” ahead... yay!! There’s not much to say about New Salem, except that the motel is much better than we expected (there were no reviews on the internet, which is usually not a good sign, but it’s clean and comfortable and just what we need) and it saved us from a 135-mile ride into Bismarck. Oh, and there is a huge statue of a cow on the hill opposite the motel. She’s called “Salem Sal” apparently, and Kat thinks she’s kinda cute. We’ll have to try to remember to take a photo before we head off to Bismarck tomorrow morning.