Back from the Black Hills....

We had a nice trip out to the Black Hills this week. My son was on a mission trip to Pine Ridge Reservation for the week, so Tara, Alexa and I used the week to head out for a visit. I had set the digital camera on the bench beside the garage door to remind me to pack it. About 50 miles after leaving home while doing my mental checklist, I realized that I forgot to pack the camera. RATS!!! My daughter got some pictures on her phone, so maybe I can download some shots to update this post at some point this weekend.

I managed to ride Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday which included a lot of terrain and surfaces ranging from pavement to IMBA built trails to limestone chip rail trails.

In reverse order, the rides were...

Thursday was a deceptive ride as I rode with my wife and daughter from Hill City up to Crazy Horse Monument (where we had lunch) and back to Hill City. I say deceptive because I thought it would be an easy recovery ride and found that it was 90 minutes of climbing on soft limestone chip gravel which - at the speed we were riding - took me out of the heart rate zone(s) I was hoping to ride at that altitude. But it was worth it and the ride back down the climb to Hill City was fast and fun.

Wednesday started off as a very cold day and breakfast at Mt. Rushmore with my Dad. The clouds cleared up by late afternoon, so I set off for an intensity session which had about a 20 - 25 minute paved bike trail warm-up from my Dad's house to the base of "M" Hill in Rapid City. I wanted to hit up all of the new IMBA built trails on M Hill and get some climbing intensity work done. I loved the switchback climb up the mountain on the east side of the hill. The corners were a little bit kitty litter which I took note of for my descents with the new Maxxis Aspen prototypes I was riding. The signage is not on the mountain yet, but I just followed all of the new trails that I could find for about 90 minutes and met some other riders who pointed me in various directions on the mountain. I rode some of the older narrow singletrack trails that I know as well. What struck me was how wide the IMBA built trails are compared to the singletrack I am used to riding. I know IMBA builds things "correctly" for sustainability, drainage, safety, environment, etc... - but man, they were wide. Oh well, it certainly meant an increase in speed both going up and going down. In short, "M" Hill is not to be missed if you are heading out to the Black Hills. I wanted to do more time, but headed back to my Dad's house to save a little bit in the legs for Thursday.

Tuesday was a family ride on Rapid's paved bike trail. We hit up the Farmer's Market for some coffee and split a scone between the 3 of us before continuing on down the trail. I think we rode a total of 95 minutes round trip at a pretty good recovery pace clip. I was still recovering from Sunday's race as well as being in the car all day on Monday. After the ride, we got showered and headed up in the Hills for lunch with my sister and nephew.

The rest of our time was spent visiting with family, walking the dogs, cooking and napping. Temperatures were in the high 40's to the high 70's - so the weather was very nice. The Sturgis Harley Motorcycle Rally was gearing up in full swing and HOGS were everywhere in the Hills as well as the ride to Rapid City from Iowa and the ride home. This is the 69th year of the rally - so you can imagine the t-shirts and slogans that were dedicated to play up the event. '-]

Now that we are home, we have tons of tomatoes to pick and can this weekend. I'll sneak off tomorrow for the rescheduled IMBCS #2 XC race at Camp Ingawanis outside of Waverly. Weather looks to be nice today and tomorrow, so the pleasant summer continues for racing.

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