Once in Deadwood, we met up with a long time friend, the "Princess", to start pedaling on to Edgemont, SD, 109 miles away on the former railroad bed that is now the Mickelson Trail. We were off and pedaling at 7 am, right on schedule.
The morning went along smoothly, with the majority of the big "climbs" in the first half of the ride. I say climbs in quotes, as it is a rail-trail, so none of the climbs are much over 4% grade. Not steep, but some of 'em get kind of long, 7+ miles isn't uncommon.
We stopped just outside Rochford, SD for quick break, with my cousin and I about 100 yards ahead of my uncle and the Princess. After everyone gets what appears to be ready to roll, we roll out. Unbeknownst to me and my cousin, the Princess has a flat tire and he and I have the only pumps. We are cruising along at over 20 mph. After about 3 miles, I hear my uncle yell my name. I stop and he says she flatted back where we were stopped. CRAP! I turn around and hammer back to her only to find that some other guys had stopped and helped her out. I am glad she got rolling, but I didn't need to add another 6 miles to my ride.
Long story short, we roll into Hill City (around 50 miles in) about an hour after we had planned because of the flat and a couple other minor mechanicals. After eating, my cousin declares he is done and needs to go home. I wasn't surprised or shocked by this. He did GREAT, as this was his first year riding. My wife and son had met up with us and had lunch, so they took him home.
The remaining three pedaled on, past the monumental (pun intended) Crazy Horse, through Custer, and on to Pringle, where my uncle had pre-planned to be picked up. The Princess and I pedaled on, into Edgemont, just on time for our shuttle home from my wife and son. 116 miles for me in one day!
What a great ride. We went through a very beautiful piece of the Black Hills, one that not everyone gets to see, or at least see very often. And even though it was a long day in the saddle fun was had by all. I would be rude not to mention my wife and son, who are definitely enablers, helping me with meeting us for lunch and picking us up. If it wasn't for them, our ride wouldn't have happened.
I can't wait to do it again!