Northern Tier 2010

July 30, 2010

Stuck in the Middle

Filed under: North Dakota, Section 04 — Henry Scott @ 8:00 pm


I applied my brakes hard enough, in a panic, to lock my rear wheel in a skid for the first time this morning. Not to avoid a collision with a motorist, but because what I thought was a prairie dog crossing the road from a distance turned out to be a skunk. Seth and I were sailing along with our first tailwind in days, and this could have made our day go very badly! Fortunately, we both stopped in time and escaped unsprayed. The day still went kinda badly, but for different reasons.

After that encounter we made excellent time to Rugby (60 miles from Berthold) before lunch and figured we’d easily cover a total of 90 miles yet still make camp early, thanks to accommodating winds. We’re both feeling good, but we decided to try to break our cycle of alternating long and short days and shoot for several says of medium distances. Our average is about 72 miles per day, but we tend to ride more like 90 to 105 or 40 to 60.


But, that wasn’t to be: instead we’ve hit some mechanical problems. Seth is using a road bike equipped with skinny, lightweight, low spoke-count wheels, coupled with a trailer. Frankly, the wheels are inadequate for what he’s doing, but he’s determined to make it work. To his credit, he’s very fast at making repairs (he is fixing a flat in the background of the flower shot), and since he tends to ride faster than me, his spoke and flat repairs have been a good equalizer.

However, today he had several flats before realizing that his rear tire needs to be replaced — the wire bead is pulling through, and even though a boot got him to Rugby, it is clear that’s all the further the tire will take him. We searched the town for a new tire, but were unsuccessful. In the process, I got my second flat in two days!

Remarkably, the folks at the tourism bureau went way above and beyond to help him out. One of the employees has a relative in Minot (the closest town with a full-service bike shop), and he made arrangements for the relative to pick up a tire and deliver it to us in Rugby later tonight. Amazing!


So, we’re camped in Rugby’s city park (with a shower), and we’ll get an early start tomorrow. Notably, Rugby is the geographic center of North America, so it’s an interesting place to be stuck for the night.

Ultimately, I think the additional rest will be of more benefit than making an extra 30 miles would have been. It is a bit painful to let today’s good winds go to waste, but if everything on this trip went as planned, it wouldn’t be much of an adventure, now would it? 🙂

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2 Comments »

  1. I love the flower pictures with the bicyclist in the background.

    Wishing you many more days of tailwinds,

    monika

    Comment by monika — August 1, 2010 @ 2:26 pm

  2. Thanks, Monika! I should acknowkedge, however, that the first of the two photos is essentially a copy of one printed on the Adventure Cylcing map for section 3 🙂

    Comment by Henry Scott — August 1, 2010 @ 11:40 pm


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