In the final hours of the Great Cycle Challenge, I completed my goal of riding 160 miles in the month of September. Not bad for a guy in his early 50's but I'm sure 20-something me would have been able to reach this total in half the time it took. But the truth is I probably worked harder for these miles than anytime in my life given my current weight and all the windy days I rode.
Thanks to the charity of others, I raised close to $300 via their donations plus the additional $100 of my own money giving a grand total $400 to the Great Cycle Challenge. My personal thanks to all that gave financially to help fight kid's cancer. More importantly, my three coworkers and I raised through our team a total of of $1757 and rode over 440 miles on the Sioux Falls Bike Trail System (sometimes together and most times virtually).
According to the latest email I received from the Great Cycle Challenge, riders in this national charity event clocked a total of 5,384,317 miles in the month of September and raised $14,490,872 (so far) to give these kids the brighter futures they deserve. This is a worthy charity and given how many events have been cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic, I am personally grateful to have had the opportunity this year to both exercise on my bicycle and raise awareness of this cause.
Ride 7 - Sep 30, 2020 - 21.9 Miles (Total: 142 Miles)
My seventh and eighth bicycle rides were similar tours so you can consider this the summary for both rides. Cold, gusty, and the occasional sprinkles created an environment where I was one of the few riders on the trail for both days. I was so alone on the trails that the only a single e-bike rider passed me by on the trail.
For both of these rides I drove my bicycle in the truck bed to an entry point for the trail as I had serious doubts that I could end my final miles of the rides climbing elevation to get back home in western Sioux Falls. The only real difference between the two rides were my starting/ending point so I could vary the length of the ride and ensure I reached my goal of 160 miles by month's end.
With 15 to 30 MPH winds from the north gusting up to 40 MPH, there is only one favorable direction to take the city park loop...counter-clockwise. That's because the east side of the loop (where you head north) is sheltered to block some of the wind while the west side of the loop is open fields. While the climb up the spillway on the east side of Sioux Falls is no fun to recreational riders it's all worth it when you consider that you can ride on the west side like a bat-out-of-hell due to the strong winds behind your back. I usually don't ride my bicycle when the weather is this poor but it was a new challenge so I was inclined to make the effort in order to reach my riding goals.
Ride 8 - Sep 30, 2020 - 19.3 Miles (Total: 161.3 Miles)