Those of you who are familiar with Sioux Falls, SD may know that the city boasts and extensive bike trail and greenway system. Of all the amenities in the city, my wife and I enjoy this one during good weather the best. Perhaps what you didn’t know is that the bike trail forms a loop of 19.45 miles around the city. There are a couple spurs also that add even more length to the trail. The 19.45 mile loop is uninterrupted by traffic in only two places. Additionally, since the loop essentially follows the Big Sioux River around town, it is more or less a water-line route with only one hill even worth mentioning.
The Sioux Falls bike trail offers a place for a reasonably casual bike ride or one really nice place to train for a marathon. During the past few years, that pleasure has been interrupted by construction on the city’s sanitary sewer infrastructure and flood control projects. I’m happy to tell you that the trail is now in as good of shape as it has been in the past 3-4 years.
So on to my training run. Yesterday. I started out at 1PM and the winds were already blowing out of the southeast at 10-15MPH, which is not a lot of fun, but at least the temperature was in the low 60’s, so clothing was not really a concern. I started out at Elmen Park Trailhead on the west side of town, heading north, under the Ellis and Eastern Railroad and over north of the airport and through Sioux Falls’ industrial park.
I was unaware that the public restrooms along the trail would be closed. I rely on these during long training runs to refill my Amphipod water bottles. By the time I got around to Falls Park, my bowels were in full G.I. distress mode. Luckily, the public facilities were open at Falls Park. But I found them closed at all the stops farther down the line. This meant I carried a total of probably 28 ounces of water that had to last me 19.45 miles. Didn’t happen.
I always carry my some cash in my Amphipod belt, so I was able to buy a couple two liter bottles of water at Taylor’s on south Cliff Ave, which is right off the trail. But by that time, it was too late and my body was already dehydrated.
That resulted in some cramping in my calves a couple more miles down the trail. But things began to look up as I turned north. The wind was at my back and the bottled water began to work through my system.
Overall, I’m pretty happy with my outing. I was feeling down about the cramping, but thinking about that, those conditions won’t exist in a competitive environment, because Brookings Marathon provides water stations every few miles.
Also, a word to those in training int he Sioux Falls area. Try the bike trail. But verify about the facilities first. And to those thinking about trying the Sioux Falls Marathon, you’ll get a good look at this bike trail if you enter this early fall marathon. A healthy portion of this event is run over the bike trail in Sioux Falls.