Peggy Schuelke, a nurse practitioner for Avera Medical Group Revillo, completed a 300-mile bike tour across South Dakota. She participated in the 5th Annual Ride Across South Dakota (RASDAK) from June 4-10.
Schuelke, and nearly 220 others, endured the week-long adventure in celebration of bike tourism in South Dakota. Riders, ranging from teenagers to 82 years young, began in Rapid City and rode east to their final destination in Sioux Falls. Schuelke said, “The best part was going through the Badlands. I had never seen that area from the slower pace of a bicycle. It’s impressive. I also realized, there are a lot more small towns in South Dakota than I thought.”
Schuelke is not new to biking. She began touring across the state in 2006 when the events were called Tour Dakota. “I only missed one during that time,” she said. Since it’s changed to RASDAK, she has ridden in three of the five events. Former Milbank doctor, Peter Reynen, encouraged her to start bicycling. “He was big into bicycling, and he encouraged me to give it a try, so I did, and now I’m hooked.”
Each year, she begins training for the ride around the first of April. “My goal is to ride 100 miles a week and as many days a week as possible.” For the most part, she trains alone, but feels it is best to have a partner. “Riding with someone else, you tend to push yourself more than riding alone. If anyone is looking for a partner, I would love to join them.”
Schuelke encountered heat, headwinds, and hills on this year’s trip. She cycled 300 of the 520-mile route, because of other obligations the first and last days of the tour. “Each day got hotter with stronger winds,” she said. “I really struggle with the heat. It takes a lot out of me so my pace tended to decline throughout the day.” She consumed about two quarts of water between stops to stay hydrated, and said the hardest stretch was towards the end – she took in nine quarts of water in just nine miles because of the heat.
Along the way, the cyclists were treated to food and entertainment. “We camp indoors at schools along the way,” she said. “This year, the organization created a $500 scholarship to give to the best overnight program. It’s fun to be able to vote on who gets that scholarship.”
This year was also the first time there was an accident during the tour. Just outside of Phillip, a vehicle hit a cyclist. Schuelke said that won’t deter her from entering a tour, though. She and her tires are already pumped for the next one.