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Day 12 - Murdo, South Dakota to Mitchell, South Dakota
143 miles
1690' climbing


I started out the morning taking an energy tablet, a lot of iron, and vitamin C. I had been taking ginseng too, but I'd heard it cancels out the vitamin C, which I decided I needed more. Yes, I had now joined the ranks of Team Pharmaceutical. Between what I was using for saddle sores and taking for colds, and of course the ibuprofen, my little bag of drugs had grown considerably.

I did feel a lot better. This was to be a pretty dull day, mostly frontage road near the interstate, mostly flat, but a visit to the Corn Palace at the end of the day would be a great reward. Richard and I rolled out together, and warmed up gradually. Richard's wife was back home running their inn on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. He had abandoned her during the height of the season to do this ride. I'm sure she was eager to have him finish the ride and come help mind the business. His entire family was very supportive of his efforts, and very proud. His son in Seattle had started the ride with us, and his daughter would be meeting us when we were in the Chicago area. By the way, Richard doesn't restrict his cycling to this long distance stuff. He also told me about his gold medals in the state senior games. He was skipping the national event in favor of PAC Tour though.

I later joined up with a small contingent from Team Extreme. Sally had just started having knee pain. In fact, lots of people on the ride were. There were evenings when ten or twelve riders would be sitting against a wall, all lined up with ice on their knees. Sally, who lives in Denver and trained in the Rockies was a surprise candidate for knee pain. She had said she wanted to take things a little easier and I tried to help enforce the "noodling" she said she wanted to do, but her noodling license had to be revoked as she soon began hammering again.

We met up with Lon and Rebecca tandeming again. I don't think Rebecca got to ride quite as much as she wanted to, but today's flat route was a perfect opportunity to get out and ride fast. The scenery along the Interstate left something to be desired, but at least the roads weren't rough.

We had one climb just before lunch, out of the Missouri River valley. The river was beautiful. No signs of flooding were evident, but it was clear from all the green that this area was not suffering from drought. Just before lunch a hungry Jim and Pete Penseyres blew past and missed a turn. I hollered out and used my air horn to try and get their attention. It worked and in thanks, Pete pushed me up to a paceline. I was riding behind Francine, when suddenly it appeared that she was peeing off the bike! I quickly pulled out of the paceline, and asked her how she did it. Actually she had lost the bite valve off her Camelbak, and it was at that moment that it suddenly began to flow. After she emptied it, we regrouped and continued along the way. I later gave her my spare valve.

About 20 miles from the hotel, Susan and Karen, riding a tandem together, pulled along beside me breathing hard. I guess I had been a carrot for a while, but they finally caught me. I enjoyed their draft for the next few miles. About 10 miles out, we saw a rider coming toward us. As she turned around, Susan said, "It's Debbie, let's drop her." And they were up and out of the saddle. Debbie is Susan's best friend and tandem partner. The four of us hammered the final 10 miles in. Debbie had crewed on the tour earlier in the summer and said she was now taking a couple of days vacation. Susan was going to have to go into work for the weekend, and Debbie came out to ride a bit, and then take Susan back home to work. Debbie's husband, Roger, would be filling in for Susan for those three days.

When I reached the hotel, I found a package from home containing saddles and a backup Camelbak bladder. My Miyata saddle is great, but the long steady days had caused me to compress it severely in the back, and I wanted a newer one. The new one really seemed to help. And it gave me a spare to try on the tandem again.

Nancy came in with a bright cherry nose, and face and hands and arms. I asked if she had lost her sunscreen, but she said she'd been using 30. We later figured out that the antibiotics she was taking for her saddle sores and colds had made her photosensitive. She changed antibiotics, but this stuff would be in her system for a while and the burn would make her even more sensitive. While at the drugstore, she also got some solarcaine, which she sprayed on her fingers every 10 minutes throughout the night, some Aloe, some zinc oxide for her face for the rest of the trip, and some white fingered gloves to ride in the next day.

As I mentioned earlier, the highlight of the day was the Corn Palace. Really! About a dozen of us filled two vans and drove down to see the world famous Mitchell Corn Palace. It really was a cool place. It's a concert hall that was built to host cultural events. And it is decorated with corn. There are murals all over the inside and outside made of corn. Each year, after the harvest, new designs are drawn, the corn is cut, and a new theme decorates the building.

After touring the building, Pete, with a nose for ice cream found a great ice cream shop that specializes in Mix-ins. They have a machine to grind up and mix ingredients into vanilla ice cream. It was great. Pete, by the way has a passion for ice cream almost as big as mine.