I have occasionally heard rumblings about my blogs being long – which I have typically ignored. However, if this one turns out to be shorter than normal, thank Dacia. She provided a very nice account of our trip to South Dakota – and, with a few exceptions, very accurate. The only thing she didn’t say much about was the race – so I’ll start there.
When we pick our races we look for good organization and reports, places we haven’t been before, and, most of all – a pretty, scenic course. This might be downtown Chicago along Lake Michigan or, more likely, in a scenic area of mountains, lakes, red rock formations, forests or vistas.
Several stand out, among them Estes Park, Valley of Fire, Canyonlands, Traverse City and the Adirondack (but there are many more). We can now add another to the list: The Mickelson Trail in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
The Deadwood Mickelson Trail race immediately appealed to us based on the course comments and the scenery. It did not disappoint. The trail follows an abandoned railroad grade through the heart of the Black Hills.
It has forests, meadows, lakes, mountains and vistas, not to mention that for the half-marathoners, 12 of the 13 miles were downhill (although at 5200’-6200’ in elevation)! The race and trail ended in Deadwood – known in its day as a lawless mining town and where “Wild Bill” Hickok was gunned down and laid to rest – now next to Calamity Jane – also of Deadwood fame.
Now a restored tourist town, it was fun and I had perhaps the best prime rib I have ever tasted at the Buffalo Saloon and Steakhouse. But back to the race, it was well-organized and supported, with a good Expo and pretty good post-race food. It would easily have been another PR for me – probably by 20-30 seconds – if not for a tweaked hamstring in the last mile which stopped me momentarily and definitely slowed me down the rest of the way. But that notwithstanding, it was a great race and setting.
It was also great to have Dacia and Ellie with us. (She indicated she backed out of a previous race; she was right about the Disney World part, but the race was in Mississippi, not Georgia.)
One particularly pleasant surprise from this race was trip planning. I invariably do that (out of necessity) – but in this case I gave Dacia all the literature, asked her to develop a plan and coordinate it with Karen – and she ran with it!
She came up with some great ideas and we did almost all of them.
Jewel Cave, Sylvan Lake, Cathedral Spires and drive, Custer State Park, Mt. Rushmore, the alpine slide, Storybook Island and the Spearfish Canyon drive were all amazing. (I WILL take credit for the Little Devil’s Tower hike which was spectacular.)
Devil’s Tower National Monument was a great way to end – although I don’t know where Dacia came up with everything being flat around it. Not. Beautiful forests, hills and valleys surrounded it on every side – although it still “sticks out like a sore thumb” as she so eloquently put it.
Okay – so maybe this wasn’t any shorter than usual, but South Dakota, as State #41, was definitely one of our premier trips and destinations. Thanks for going with us, Dacia…..even if you didn’t do much for the “daughters’ track record” of not making it to the race until I have already finished! Thanks for the planning and it was fun having you.
3 years ago