Tour de Kota team logs 478 miles
By Master Sgt. Sara Hilmoe, 114th Fighter Wing
/ Published July 11, 2010
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- A blur of red and blue bikers whizzes by onlookers of the 2010 Tour de Kota. Airmen, spouses, and friends of the 114th Fighter Wing made up the group of fourteen riders during the six day tour June 6-11 encompassing the regional states and over 478 miles.
The long journey culminated months of training and encouragement from each other to get ready for the tour. It was greatly needed as day one brought excessive headwinds coupled with many hills over the first 82 miles. It challenged not only their strength and endurance, but faith that they would make it.
"We were not fighting the 30 mile per hour wind maybe only six of the 82 miles," said Ariel Keating, laughing. Her friend, Liz Johnson, rode with her for the tour. Arriving at Tea, S.D., the first day Ms. Johnson said, "I got here and thought I could do two more miles, but then I thought, 'I don't need to be a hero'."
Marcus Brandenburg volunteered to help the riders by driving the Air National Guard truck and trailer with their gear throughout the trip and keeping them in good spirits.
"I stop every seven to ten miles for them to get water or an energy drink," Brandenburg said. "It's been a lot of fun. People are asking about the [Air] Guard, which is great."
The riders appreciated the help and Brandenburg even rode with them some on Thursday. Despite crazy weather conditions throughout the week, nothing kept the riders from having a good time and finishing strong.