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Faces to the Falls
Mar 28, 2013
I suspect many of us have driven the length of the state by car. You’ll have your chance to do that by bicycle this summer. The first annual Faces to the Falls ride is set for June 9-14, kicking off with a party in Hill City the evening of the 8th.
The tour covers an average of 81 miles per day with planned refueling stops at convenience stores or fundraisers held by local community groups. Kasey Abbott, Faces to the Falls president, says you need to eat quite a bit when you bike that far, though it is possible to gain weight. “You end up eating every 10 to 15 miles because you don’t want to turn down a church lady’s homemade pie,” he laughs.
Cyclists will overnight in Hill City, Hot Springs, Martin, Winner, Pickstown, and Freeman. “Our plan is to camp on high school football fields or soccer fields and use the high school showers,” says Abbott. He hopes participants will explore the communities they overnight in and gives suggestions for sightseeing on the ride’s website.
The Sioux Falls resident is organizing the ride along with Marilyn Zimmermann, Jodi Erickson and several volunteers. The group often discussed a statewide bike tour during their years biking the Argus Leader Tour De Kota. Tour De Kota’s switch from a 6-day tour of southeastern South Dakota to a weekend tour of Sioux Falls provided the catalyst.
“Originally it was just going to be a few of us,” Abbot says, “but it just snowballed.” They set the participant limit for the inaugural ride at 100 riders. 80 have registered as of yet from as far as Wisconsin and Montana.
Registration is $150 if you register by April 15. The fee covers camping, luggage transport, pre-ride and post-ride party, and SAG support. I had to ask Abbott what SAG support was. It’s for those “sagging behind” because of mechanical or physical breakdown. Wind and heat can be a challenge, so there will be several cars following to make sure cyclists are doing OK.
The ride ends in Sioux Falls’ Falls Park with water, snacks and discussion on how to improve the ride for next year. “Mostly we’ll celebrate that we survived a 488 mile ride across the state of South Dakota!” Abbott says. For more details visit www.facestothefalls.com.