Where to start about today…In short, today was hard work. We managed to get a fairly early start after a quick breakfast at the Econo Lodge. It started raining lightly as we left so we all donned our rain gear. Maggie’s bike seemed to be running quite well on Brian and Maggie’s repair job. I’m still impressed. The morning ride was not too bad even with the light rain. We had planned to stop in Towner (Cattle capital of ND) for a quick snack – 20 miles. Just as we were pulling into the gas station, the rain started coming down hard so we ran fast for cover. The rain stopped while we enjoyed some drinks and snacks so we headed off for Granville where we would stop for a late lunch. The wind had picked up to around 20 mph so it was late when we arrived at the War Veteran’s Memorial Diner (45 miles) in Granville, a very small town. The food in the diner was great. Just like real home cooking. We even took a few minutes outside in the sun to digest lunch before heading out again for Minot. By then, the wind had really begun to blow – 25 mph or more. We tried to do some serious drafting, especially for my benefit and we were somewhat successful. Brian says the wind slowed down our speed to 6 mph. Chicago may be the windy city but ND is the windy state. We tried to make light of the wind but at times all you could do was put your head down and try to pedal.
As we neared Minot (about 10 miles out) dark clouds came in and with them heavy rain. Brian, Maggie and Zach were ahead of Jake and I and took cover under a semi trailer over to the side. I barely heard Maggie calling to me, and Jake didn’t hear so he kept peddling over the hill. Fortunately, the rain stopped almost as quickly as it started so Maggie quickly caught up with Jake. We took a quick pit stop for drinks and to catch our breath. Brian assured us we were getting close so we headed off on a rural road to Minot. The wind was so strong, that we had to shift down to pedal down hill. I thought a couple of times I was going to have my bike blown right out from under me. We made it to the Super 8 after 69 miles and had to carry our bikes up to the 3rd floor, as there was no room for them downstairs. We then walked up behind the motel to another hotel (Grand Internationa) for a great dinner. Now to get some sleep and get Maggie’s bike to the shop tomorrow to finish the repairs. We are taking tomorrow off as the winds are forecast even stronger than today. My knees and quads are happy with that decision.