WORST: Last nights sleep, probably the worst I have had. Besides being hot, the birds were singing at 2:00 a.m. and the cars that went by the campground didn't have mufflers.
MOST UNEXPECTED: Seeing what my hair looks like after wearing a helmet all day.
On the road at 6:00 and it was around 70 degrees. Took a picture of my shadow on the hay fields as we started riding. We stopped at the Little Bighorn battle site at 7:30 only to find out it didn't open until 8:00, and we couldn't sweet talk the workers into letting us in early. It was great seeing the actual location and following the brilliant Colonel Custer's route as seen from the last stand location. (Custer: "Okay guys, lets run down to the river, get overwhelmed, retreat as we get shot up, and then climb to the top of the hill where we will be surrounded') Oh, and by the way, Custer was offered Gatling guns to take on his expedition but thought they would slow him down too much. Six of us stayed until the National Park (it is a national park and has an active graveyard for service veterans) opened and then had to catch up on the ride.
This was the single hardest day so far. After leaving the Little Bighorn, the temperature rapidly rose, and so did the winds. A very strong HEADWIND for 40 miles and the temperatures went up to 100 degrees. We were living from check in point to the next to get water, and struggling to make progress. I rode in a group of four and we ended up trading every five minutes in front to try and conserve energy. Finally, after mile 65, we got into Wyoming which welcomed us with open arms with a very slight downgrade, and a favorable wind. Just before mile 65, just to make it more interesting, we hit a climb, so we were hot, tired, thirsty,and struggling to get up a grade we would have had no trouble on day 1. Very happy to be done with today so I can look forward to the 112 mile trip tomorrow. Temperatures are expected to only reach 91 tomorrow. (our final temperature today was 103 degrees).
Oh yes, we reached the 1000 mile mark today. I wish I could be more clever today, but quite frankly my brain has shut down. The bright spot of today was that after finishing today, my confidence is much improved on overcoming significant obstacles on this ride. We paid a price for visiting the battlefield because the wind increased as did temperatures because of our delay, but we knew this going in. I made a conscious choice to gain an experience I would probably versus paying a price physically on the ride.