July 7th Statistics –Williston to Minot, ND:
- Today’s Biking Distance – 122.9 miles
- Today’s Average Speed – 15.4 mph
- Today Ascent – 2,827 feet
- Today Descent – 3,010 feet
- Today’s Ending Elevation – 1,418 feet
- Total Trip Biking Days – 16
- Total Trip Biking Distance – 1,405.5 miles
- Total Trip Average Biking Distance/Day – 78.1 miles
- Total Trip Ascent – 49,399 feet
The longest ride of my cross-country tour (and life) has been conquered – 123 miles! Time on the bike saddle today (7.9 hours) was actually a little less than yesterday because of riding faster – I arrived in Minot a little after 5 pm. I think I had enough energy and sunlight left (but maybe not enough tolerance for my neck pain) to ride another 50 miles – a great feeling. Jim, Doug and I, again, were the only bikers to ride the entire day’s distance – Diane and Dale never thought any of us would actually ride the entire 123 miles in one day. The sky, humidity, and temperature were perfect. While I had a headwind in the morning (4-10 mph), I had a tailwind by the afternoon (4-10 mph). Additionally, while not perfect, North Dakota roads were much more biker friendly that Montana’s roads from yesterday. Unfortunately, haze diminished the longer views for the first time on the trip.
Dinner at Applebee’s in Minot was great (it was the 4th highest rated restaurant in Minot according to Trip Advisor) – but I suspect that after 123 miles any food would have tasted great, particularly with the Samuel Adams Summer Ale I ordered. Unfortunately, I am not going to see much of Minot (downtown is about 3 miles away from our Comfort Inn) on Sunday as I must do laundry, put new tires and tubes on my bike, replace a pedal, clean and oil my gears and chain, clean my bike, and purchase some supplies.
Today was the second century ride (103+ miles) for the trip. Fortunately, compared to yesterday, the headwinds were manageable (4-10 mph) and I was able to bike 12.8 mph. As I mentioned in my prior blog – this was a long day in the saddle – but the temperature great for biking and the wind kept me cool.
There was a lot of apprehension about the ride today due to the numerous warnings about traffic volume (due to the Williston oil boom), trucks, narrow shoulders, and road conditions/construction. The published bike route across the norther tier was rerouted this year to avoid going to Williston due to the concerns (but it added 150 mile and required 50 miles riding on an interstate highway).
I am very glad to say that reality did not match up with the warnings. We did not see any significant traffic until the last 25 miles (especially the last 10 miles outside Williston) when we entered North Dakota. Fortunately, the road conditions in North Dakota were much better the Montana – wider and smoother paved shoulders. Surprisingly, most truckers were far more considerate that we expected and moved to the left when they passed us to minimize wind on us. Additionally, the road changed to four lane divided before reading Williston.
Williston was exactly as described – a boom town with more traffic than I see in Philadelphia. Every other vehicle is a commercial truck. Construction of hotels, temporary housing, commercial establishments everywhere. I went to a convenience store to get a Red Bull, but gave up due to the 15 people in each of two lines waiting to check out. The first restaurant we went to for dinner had a long wait (first time this has happened for the trip) so we went back to our hotel for a mediocre dinner – we didn’t want to wait since we had a 120+ mile ride the next morning.