Monday, July 15, 2013

The Straight Shot!

Monday - July 8th

"We going to do what they say can't be done"

With the Elite National Championships and Madison, WI behind us we set off on a 15 1/2 hour trip all the way to Spearfish, SD.  Frankly the trip up to this point had been a bit of a disappointment.  Illness and injuries had plagued us all making team morale hard to maintain with expectations unfulfilled despite the circumstances we were trying to overcome.  I was reminded by a new friend from Milwaukee that when you don't succeed, you gain experience.  With that said, we put as much space between there and our first stop as possible as we made our way towards Bend, Oregon and the Cascade Cycling Classic.

After 10 mind-numbing hours of driving along Interstate 90 through Minnesota and South Dakota with little to entertain us along the way we arrived at our destination.  The turning point of the trip had begun at Badlands National Park.  With this park being unrestricted, the terrain became our playground as we tossed dried dirt clods at each other, hid in jagged edges in the earth, and climbed wind-eroded mounds of clay.

Everyone was a bit taken back with the view.
Wind erosion has made the Badlands a baren yet beautiful site. 
Keeling and Sam - Unrestricted Access at Badlands
Kevin the roamer is on a plateau in the distance.   
A rainbow for good measure.

Next up after the scenic drive through Badlands was Mt. Rushmore.  It was close to 11:00 PM and the lights that shine on our Founding Fathers was about to turn off.  This couldn't have worked out any better.  We were able to enter the park for free, walk right up to the Lincoln amphitheater uninterrupted, and take in the monument for all its impressiveness before finishing the long-haul to Spearfish by 1:00 AM where we crammed six of us into a room at the Holiday Inn.

Right before the lights went out.

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