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Sunday, December 4, 2022

2022 Black Hills Bounty (Day 3) - Active Recovery

Ooh, that's why I'm easy,
I'm easy like Sunday morning,
That's why I'm easy,
I'm easy like Sunday morning.
Easy, Lionel Ritchie (1977).

Life is light and easy on the Mickelson Trail.
(photo by Lane Bergen)

Back on board after yesterday's near mutiny, the crew is clearly looking forward to the promised "active recovery" of Day 3. Just to reach the extended, modest gravel section of the planned Day 3 recovery ride, however, requires climbing the challenging 10 miles that we did not yesterday. Today is not the day for that.

So, after breakfast, we re-group to consider options. With our Pringle campsite just off the Mickelson Trail, Jeff Bloom suggests the obvious solution of simply riding 32 miles to Edgemont on the Mickelson. Nothing could more "active recovery" than an easy, generally downhill spin on a rails-to-trails path to a town with every bikepacking amenity. All quickly hop on board that train.

Starting Day 3 with a fresh start after a tough end to Day 2.
Craig Groseth, Jeff Bloom, Kevin Fox, Jon Naaf, Lane Bergen.

For once, a day on the Black Hills Bounty is as easy as advertised, maybe easier. It's like tubing down a slow moving stream. A little bit of effort greatly increases speed, but what's the point? To sit an extra hour in Edgemont? 

Clear skies, little wind, moderate temperatures, consistently gentle downhill, smooth crushed limestone. This is more "recovery" than "active." But I hear no complaints.

Easy-peasy spinning south out of Pringle on the Mickelson Trail.

After 16 peaceful miles, we stop at the Minnekahta Trailhead. No real reason, other than just to stop. We meet some other cyclists on a day ride and chat for a bit. They are more anxious to keep moving, so we retire to the shelter for a late morning snack.

It doesn't seem possible that our day's ride is half over. I think we're taking recovery ride to the next level.

Approaching Sheep Canyon trestle on the Mickelson Trail.

It's still late morning when we spin into Edgemont and head for the Edgemont City Campground at the south end of town. Passing a couple of motorized campers, we stake out a site with a picnic table under a big shade tree. But all the sites are pretty exposed to the elements and all are just a decent frisbee throw from a serious multitude of heavily trafficked railroad tracks. This is not a picturesque National Park campground nor a remote dispersed campsite. It's the right place for us tonight.

More to the point, this city campground offers a hot shower, our first of the trip, power to recharge devices, abundant fresh water, and a picnic table in the shade. We leisurely set up camp, clean up, and organize gear. Eventually, we amble over to the Victory Bar for burgers and refreshments. But the biggest hit with this crew was a Dollar General store for re-supplies for the remaining two days of the trip. Bikepacker priorities.

Lane checks out Sheep Canyon.
(photo by Jeff Bloom)

I'm not sure our "Active Recovery" was all that active, but the hot shower, cooked meal, and ice cream dessert sure helped us recover from yesterday's draining ride. 

A nice, easy day ends with a nice, relaxing evening. We should be fully charged for tomorrow.

Easy, Commodores (live, 1977)

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