Let's get the numbers part out of the way, shall we?
7,000 ft. of climbing in 126 miles. That's quite a bit.... but not as much per-mile as my monthly ride --- hoo, hoo, hoo.... my kind of scum. Fearless and inventive.
Uhh, WHAT? Dude, focus.
Ok... the best 200K EVER?!?! Possible!? Well, that's a bold statement, but I'll start by saying this was the best I've FELT before an event like this, the most prepared I've EVER been, the most well-trained I've been, the strongest I've felt, and it's the WARMEST a brevet here has EVER started, to my knowledge. Above average temps greeted FORTY FOUR riders on a dark Saturday morning outside the Liberty Perkins. Awesome turnout, awesome weather -- even a few sprinkles were welcome, because the forecasts for steady rain were being abandoned in lieu of "partly cloudy" skies. Excellent weather! For the first time in years, I'm able to start the first brevet of the season WITHOUT something covering my ears for protection.
I was all smiles!
It wasn't going to start off without SOME level of panic or hardship, however. As I pulled the bicycle off the roof rack, and inserted the wheel, I started to do what I ALWAYS do -- put the front wheel on. No biggie, right? Okay....
I use bolt-on skewers -- its a commuter-thing. Quick-releases are "too easy", and anything that will complicate the theft of a front wheel is a welcome addition --- however, today, I'm not commuting. Still, it's there, it's ALWAYS been there, it's just a bolt.... but like ANYTHiNG metal, it apparently has a service life, and this one's service life was exactly six years. This is the skewer that came with my Dynohub that I bought back in early 2002. I guess THAT'S ow long those last.... hmmm... As I twisted the trademark C'Dude finishing-torque on that old front skewer... PING!!! The bolt head twists and seperates from the rest of the shaft. Uhhhh.... ok. NOW WHAT???? This is one of those things that is SO reliable, that it's really not even worth mentioning. Wheels come with them, you use them. You usually end up with a few extra in the parts drawer in the garage ... which is a good place for them when something like this happens, right? Calmly, and not prepared to have my day ruined by this development, I wander into the Perkins where the bulk of todays riders are still shovelling in pancakes and coffee, and just ask the question: "ahem...Anyone got a spare front QR?"
"yeah.. I got one. You ready?"
"yup." I subtlely sigh, and follow my savior - Steve - outside to his truck, and after a little fishing around he produces a Spingery quick-release. Thank the maker, and thank Steve for keeping a parts bag in his truck --- something that will likely be in MY aresenal until the end of time, from now on. Of all the spare tubes, spare spokes, spare tires, spare gloves, spare this-and-thats I have stuffed into my seat bag, there is always ONE thing that you just don't think about bringing along. I've often said that I learn something new on EVERY long-distance ride I embark upon... Let's have THIS be the limit of it today. Whew. Steve -- thanks again. I'll find a way to get this back to you.
My ride saved, it was time to get the rest of my stuff ready to roll.
The route - the same as always, and safely memorized in my head -- a day without wrong turns and cue-sheets flapping in the breeze. I love this ride -- it's simply a great route, save for a few state highways we'll get to later on. I had been chatting for two weeks with Dale ---- yes, ANOTHER Dale -- NOT the Warbird that is mentioned here often, but a new Dale, we'll call hime Dale II. That'll work. Also not to be confused with Del, aka Ort. What is it with me and guys with "D" "E" and "L" in their names? Dale, Del, Dale II. Weird. But, once again I find myself with a riding partner whose name I'll likely never forget how to pronounce.
ANYWAYS... Dale II and I meet up, and quickly realize that we had already ridden together many times at the Grandview ride, and we just both happened to work at the same company -- I think Spinman gave him my name or something -- but it's all good. Dale II was turning his attention from racing to distance, and was looking for advice. I was happy to offer it up, as always - and cut to now, here we are, ready to ride with 126 miles ahead of us!
Usually it's a hard thing to stay with someone during an event that is so individual, as far as pace, method, etc., but Dale II and I are pretty well matched on speed for this time of year. We post up, listen to Bob Burns remind everyone twice that this is NOT A RACE. What? IT'S NOT A RACE! Ok. Weird how that falls on deaf ears sometimes. Hey, guilty --- I have blown myself apart a few times trying to hammer this whole ride, and MAN -- one does indeed pay the price.
The opening gun sounds, and the parking lot begins to empty. A lot of racers getting their bases, and a lot of equipment-savvy randonnuers. Spencer is here on his fixed-gear Gaansari (GORgeous machine), there is a Riv Romulus, an older Tankara, a Fuji touring, I think even a Ramboillet in the crowd - but a lot of modern stuff, too, carbon this and that, late-model Treks, etc. Always a good tiem for a bike geek to browse the tools of the trade.
I knew it was going to be another one of those days, as my conscious gets the best of me after the first mile. Putting along, and just about to climb the first hill of the day, the huge pack begins to spread out a little, and then POW-HISSSssss s sss s s s......
Dale II has a flat within the first mile. 23C rubber on wet pavement, and likely some stray glass. I ask if he's okay, and he says that he is -- but the previous two-weeks of advice and chats online float back thru my head, tales about his being run off the road accidentally by another cyclist on the KCK Brevet two weeks earlier, and spending the entire day off the back, solo... I'd been there before. I stop and turn around to offer a hand -- randonneur spirit WILL get you!
After a few minutes wrestling with a Vittoria tire, we're back on the road, and dead last in the pack -- which, for this not being a race, is fine. We chat it up, and negotiate the first few turns thru town, and finally reach Liberty's edge and slip out of town on highway "H". I love this road -- pure country, with gorgeous rolling hills, old barns, and practically no traffic, as usual. These first few opening hills tend to thin out the pack a little, but we weren't seeing anyone up ahead yet. Again, since this was the first time in memory the temperatures were above freezing for this ride, I was actually able to lift my head and look around at the endless vistas and fields of cow grazing in the early morning light, and was noticing things that I hadn't in past years, either from sucking someone's wheel, or keeping my watering eyes out of the wind. The lack of cold air, however, makes something else apparent -- the smell of the country is THICK this morning, especially with the heavy rains that had fallen earlier in the week. Whoooooo-nelly!
Dale II and I, again, are pretty well balanced on the roads -- it was becoming apparent that I was a little better of a climber, while he was much stronger on the flats. I'd make a little headway on the hills, and he'd catch up quickly on the other side. It was working perfectly, and without having to give it much thought we were sticking together as a team quite nicely, clipping along at 15-17 MPH, with a little hint of a tailwind to help out.
Crossing thru Prathersvilleburg-whatever-that-town-is, we turned west and then north to cross US-69, and then continue north onto Cameron Road, one of my old favorites, where I reminiced that in 2003 it was a HORRID stretch of broken pavement - now a glass-smooth blacktop. Up ahead, a peek of bright safety orange. Bob, and RUSA for that matter, have REALLY stepped up the safety of randonneuring -- they figured that if people weren't going to do it for themselves, they'd just make it a regulation. Now, the road is alive with bright orange vests, now a requirement in low light and otherwise murky conditions. Still, some take this "rule" lightly in the name of racer fashion -- but I'm here to tell you: on the roads, it's the difference between a vague shadow on the roadway and a definte PERSON on a bicycle. I take no chances these days, but I can't wait until my British-style sash arrives, which will not only be more visible, but far more comfortable than the pull-over vest I'm wearing today. Still, it's also a good thing for "rabbits" -- and I spot three of them up the road from us. Our first catch of the day.
Although we make no tactics to catch them, we are making headway Dale II and I. By the time we reach 164th Street for the turn west, we have caught them - but they are stopping for a stretch and a snack. We wave and exchange good-morning's while we continue onward. The hills on the way to Kearney are coming!
Skip forward a few miles, and we spot three more as we bob and duck under hill after hill near the Jesse James Farmstead historic site, and soon we are making our way to highway "C" on the other side of Kearney - and I take a nature break on the other side of my usual hill. Afterwards, we are on my "favorite" highway. Highway "C" this morning is uncharacteristically slow, not a lot of activity has Dale II wondering what my problem is -- I tell him to wait about 7 hours. He,he.
Soon we are making our way onto Highway "W", towards Smithville Lake, and we still haven't caught our next three rabbits. Again, it doesn't matter at all, but there is something comforting about NOT being the last one on the road. On the acsent of the dam on the other side of Smithville lake's western arm, I reel in rabbit number four, and focus on five and six on the road leading up into Trimble, MO. On 169 highway, we bridge up, and it's good timing -- traffic here is also full of shock-factor after being safely tucked back on the rural roads along for so many miles. Safety in numbers, Dale II, me, and our two captors -- clearly seasoned randonneurs -- climb the final hill and then turn right onto "Z" highway towards our first little stop in Edgerton, MO.
After a quick snack, we head out of Edgerton and towards highway "B", and more troublesome hills -- but they only feel steep because of the stop. After warming up again, the constant rollers on "B", and then "E" are handled in succession without any major issues. The tailwind that was helping us along on the ride up "H" earlier was beginning to show it's might as a headwind now, as we made our way farther west.
Quick snack, by the way -- I have to smile and think of Ort, and previous advice and curiosity about my seeming inability to remember certain things about certain foods. At Edgerton, I grab a pint of Chocolate Milk. Whooo.... tasty. But, man what a gut bomb. I feel a little chill, and a shudder - and it sits HEAVY for the first five miles afterwards. Ugh. Moron. Chocolate Milk is the BEST THING IN THE WORLD --- **AFTER** A RIDE. ***AFTER***. I'm writing it down, Ort. I promise. Yeesh. It wasn't even that hot yet, but man... for a few miles there, I felt like blowing a dairy product slick on the road. Yummy.
I will RE-affirm that Fig Newtons, however, ARE the best thing in the world. Dang tasty, and good fuel. Hard to eat and chew while riding, though - assuming you also want to BREATHE. Recommend consumption while OFF the bike. Although, random fig newton crumbs vs. 15-mph spokes is quite comical. POOOF!!! Like a wood chipper with the safety guard removed, I snarf a few bites and a big chunk falls off and turns into wheat-dough aerosol in the whirlwind of my front wheel. he,he. It's so cool I do it again on purpose. Dale II thinks I'm nuts.
Oh, yeah ---- PEANUT BUTTER CRACKERS!!!! In this enviroment of high gas prices, it's easy to get excited about a good deal on fuel of any kind. I'm talking about the old stand-by, Lance Brand Peanut Butter and "toast" Crackers, in the thin little six-pack. 36 CENTS. That's *IT*?! I buy two, one for me now to wash down the chocolate milk -- strike that..reverse it... -- and one for the back pocket. Little protein, a little salty crunch, and surprisingly easy to eat while riding, assuming you stick to one at a time. Best thing EVER.
Ok, where are we now? Oh yeah.... he,he.... I tell Dale II... "ok, everything between here and Platte City I affectionately refer to as "the fun part".
We were about to enter the outskirts of Camden Point, MO. My favorite little town.
For HILLS BABYYY!!!!!!! Aw, it's sick these hills. Just sick.
We hit the first three before even getting to town, on the eastern bluffs of what was once the Platte River, maybe 100 years ago. It's moved a little since, apparently. After that, we hit a plateau and then fly down into the town itself, and then KAPOW!!! I start laughing out loud as we climb another one, and Dale II askes if I'm psyching myself out or not... I'm not sure. Then, there it is: the crown mommy of the hills so-far. Welcome to Camden Point, you sorry bastard. Shift down, or forever hold your piece. It's a bottom gear grunt-fest, but it's over fairly quick -- All I want for the holidays is a camera mounted at the top of this hill so I can capture the agony. Sweeeet.
On the other side, the LONG downhill that leads away from the monster, and to Interurban Road --- the longest road in the world. Well, at least on this ride.
It seems like it is, anyways -- no climbs, nothing fancyto look at - just a long, diagonally oriented pice of pavement that runs to the outskirts of Platte City, so locals have an option besides using MO-371. There's practically no traffic here. Dale II and I chat it up some more, and soon WE are caught by two riders that we'd seen at Edgerton -- on whose name I can't remember, who was only doing the 200K and thought we were all silly for considering anything longer, and one - whose name I can't remember, either...(I suck at this game)...who WILL ride the longer stuff, and formerly rode a Softride, which I get the impression he wanted to rename the "crotch-boot" from his description, now mounted on a full carbon standard double-diamond frameset. We approach the second half of "the fun part"... "HH" highway. Which I'm pretty sure stands for "holy hell".
It's a PAIN, this road. The final link to Platte City, it's one of those roads that make one wonder about the limitations of old-school highway engineering. Maybe there was a sever shortage of explosives or dredging equipment. Yeah, I REALLY REALLY hate it when a city bulldozes a perfectly good hill, and I prefer it when roads follow the countours of the land -- but this road clearly is a bad joke for some psychotic group of civil engineers. One way to keep a clamp on over-development in a region? Design the silliest, hilliest, most ridiculously steep roads. Opon the first turn off of interurban, you are headed UP. Fast. It's at least 9% for about a mile, and then you level off onto a nice ridge -- face full of wind later, and you are decending, only to climb something else ridiculous. Then, after a few more absolute bottom-gear grunters, and a REALLY nice LONG downhill at 40 MPH+, THEN, there is ONE MORE mutha of a hill... with a aptly-placed "Welcome to Platte City" sign... as if to say, welcome to Platte City. If you can't handle this hill, we don't even want you here. You might as well man-up or turn around.
Good gawd, I never do really remember accurately how nasty that last hill is.
The Warbird never got a chance to experience this hill - he would have laughed about it. the three or four times we did this 200K ride together up here, interurban road was still being BUILT, so we were always routed around this hill via MO-371, in AND out of Platte City. 2005 was the first year it was back on the maps, and ever since this brevet has been a little bit harder. After climbing --- nay, surviving --- the Welcome-to-Platte-City hill, you are rewarded with a MONSTER downhill into town, and after a few more turns, we're at the Caseys - the first and only official checkpoint.
The details of the control are un-important -- just know that in twenty minutes time I consumed fig newtons, corn nuts, water, V8, and more peanut butter crackers, changed headgear, washed my face, "used the facility", and removed a couple more unneccessary layers of clothing. Feeling good, it was time to roll out -- Dale II was right behind me. There were a few more rabbits on the road ahead of us, but I was surprised to see how many people we had "caught" still at the halfway. For stating off at the back with a flat and losing maybe 10-15 minutes, we weren't doing too badly, and our average was a solid 16.0 MPH. Not bad, honestly, for this route -- not my best time, but that was a long time ago. I'll be there again someday. It's gonna take a LOT more training, and some more weight loss, to get back to the speed neccessary to arrive at Casey's before the checkpoint officially OPENS. THAT was a fast day! :) Anyways - back to today. Not getting ahead of myself, or wallowing in the past - today is only the first stepping stone to a long rebuilding path that WILL get me back to that form.
Dale II and I are working our way back to MO-371, for the leg north to loop back thru Camden Point. We stick together, again yo-yo'ing a little as I work the hills, and Dale II hammers the flats in the aero-bars. We arrive at the turn for "U", which turns into "E" after climbing up over I-29. I smile as I remember the 13-mile detour the Warbird and I took once, totally missing this turn. "was that big thing there before?" referring to a gravel conveyor that crossed over the highway. "uhh....no." he,he.
The other best-part of this day -- no rain. My previous post talked about rain being pretty much a guarantee, but so far there had only be a few VERY short periods of sprinkles, and now the sun was casting our shadows on the roads. It was a great day, but then I started to wonder about instability and heating possibly turning those chances of rain into reality.
As we reached the western edge of Camden Point, I should have had the foresight to turn around and bid farewell to Dale II, because when he was in front of me for a bit on the road over I-29, that was the last time I'd see him. The day we beginning to take it's toll, and that first massive hill leading back UP the Camden Point Monster was the nail. I turned around, and never saw him coming. Fearing my own leg-lock and fatigue, I had to press on -- so, here's a glass to ya Dale II.. I hope you had a good ride after that, and I'll talk to you Monday!
After sweeping up another rider up the monster, I flew down the other side to meet highway "EE" -- or Bob Dylan Road... (read: "EEeeeeeeee!!!!") .. another fave set of hills, just for the scenery. Roller after roller after roller, and the green green grass of spring with all the rain and early heat, it looked like mid May already. It was gorgeous. Flying down hills, and up, I exchanged directions with a fast rider that passed me to ask for directions at the next turn, and then oddly I passed him again and didn't see him again for several hours. The best part of "EE" was coming up, the big golf-ball of the Doppler radar assembly up on the big hill. Awesome...
The turn onto "Z" -- ahhh.... that much closer to being "done", I suppose, but also a good slice of road. I hunker down into a good gear, and it's apparent that the headwinds are now here to stay as I take up the drops. Still, it's more of a crosswind - but it's howling. The final turn south later on is gonna SUCK!!!
Finally reaching Edgerton again after a few more hills, I am actually feeling so good in the saddle and strength-wise that I elect to skip this usual re-supply and rest spot. I re-check my bottles to be sure, and do a little mental math on how far away Plattsburg is, and point the bike north on highway "B", and bid farewell to Edgerton's little c-store until next year. I have more fig newtons in the back pockets, and a full-flask of Hammer Gel as well. I'm good for at least 40 miles on that combo, and Plattsburg is only about 14 away, give or take.
Highway "B" is another "man-I-wish-I-lived-up-here" road, with endless vistas of rolling hills and farms, old barns, sheds, feed silos and livestock dotting the green pastures. It's so inviting, it really re-affirms my loathing for modern suburbia, and the rapid real-estate business in general. Sadly, it's only a matter of time before all of this beauty is squandered to pad someone's property-value day dreams. For now, and hopefully for the next 40 years, it's just picture perfect.
"I think I'll live in Montana, and own a ... how you say? ... recreational vehicle."
Tasty dreams.. I have images of a long driveway, far off the road, right off some perfect bike route, with options.
Powee, I'm back to reality as a couple of riders meet up with me from behind. We chat for a bit about the weather, and compare "worst-brevet-ever" stories -- easy thing to do when the weather is SO good there is practically nothing else to talk about! They advance on up the road, working hard together, and soon we are only a few feet from the turn onto MO-116, and a new set of nasty rollers - some of my favorites, and I always forget how challenging they are. This is an exceptional route -- but man, you better bring your "A" game. It doesn't suffer the unprepared kindly!
After the sixth monster hill, and subsequent monster high-speed downhill, we cross US-169, and I am only a few meters behind my passers-by. In fact, for the next 6 miles into Plattsburg itself, we will change places on the road at least five times at varying paces, with a little smile and howdy each time. Good people out here today. We finally hit my decided checkpoink, the Phillips 66 station midway thru Plattsburg, MO. Awesome! A full complement of breveters are there, in typical pose: seated. Spencer is there, and a few of his day's companions, some other riders, and the two with whom I'd ridden with in some fashion since highway "B". There is nothing quite like the scene at a gas station when riders are on brevet. Smiles, tales, food, water, the clicking of cleats and the zipping of seatbags, shuffling of receipts and the clicking of computer buttons to see "how far it is until _____". I love this sport!
I head inside for my final refuel session of the day. Water, V8, fig newtons, corn nuts, and PEANUT BUTTER CRACKERS! BOOOOOO-YAAA!!!! I'm such a happy camper, and I eat until I almost can't chew anymore. The tank is full, fill those bottles and get back on the road before you cool down -- a call home to the wife and kids, and I'm back in the saddle, only a couple minutes behind the rest of the groups that had left a shortly before. The gas station isn't cyclist-free for long, tho, as I pull out, two cyclists right behind me pull in -- we exchange waves, and I'm back on the road, on to highway "C" (ugh) and the final turn south. Right into the wind, which was now howling at 20 mph SOLID, with gusts. Crap.
I placed my bets and settled on 10 mph average. I'm pretty much a realist about this stuff. I know my fatigue, I know the winds up here and the roads ahead. While others were talking about maybe another hour and thirty to complete the last 26 miles, I knew. We're 8-miles past a century already, and those that aren't used to riding after this much time in the saddle are going to start to feel the day -- and I had experience on my side. Two hours, maybe more. It was 2:45 pm. Let's get this done.
On my way out of Platypusburg... er, Plattsburg ... I came across that rider that had asked for directions back on Bob Dylan road (EE..eeee!!!!!!!) and he was propped up at the little corner gas station on MO-116 and "C". "you know the way back?"
"yeah... but I can't guarantee anytihng, speed-wise -- it's windy!" He agreed, and I started to pull him out of town. Now, yeah, it's WINDY, but this guy has a reputation of being fairly fast. I knew that eventually he'd simply pass on the right and be on his way. The first part of the southbound run on "C" wasn't too bad, but then we came around a bend and into a facing clearing, and WHAM -- the wind was just brutal. Again, 20 MPH solid, and a little gust extra in there every 15 seconds or so. Flags were whipping, trash was blowing around, and the trees were singing. I looked down, and I was doing NINE MPH. Holy crap, this is gonna take all day. Two hours? Who am I kidding?? I'm not sure what the guy behind me was thinking, but he wasn't coming around so I just kept on pedalling. We climbed a few hills, and on the subsequent flats I was starting to get whipped, so I turned out a little to see if he'd come up for a pull... and he wasn't there. Not only that, he wasn't anywhere to be seen. He either turned around to wait for someone stronger or faster, or he was having THAT bad of a day. He's a strong looking rider, and I dropped him at a whopping 10 MPH pace? Geeeez. This sucks. Head down, knowing now that I wasn't gonna get a break, it was time to suck it up and just let time pass.
Ten MPH is fater than three, so I'd eventually get there. Work it out. I suck down another electrolyte tab and some water and gel, and put my head back down into the gale.
I hate "C" Highway, and it never disappoints. Traffic was again a bear. What's the freaking deal with motorcyclists? Nay, NEWBIE HARLEY RIDERS?? Seriously, if you are a hard-core, I-can-kill-you-with-my-stare kinda motorcyclist, hat's off. Keepin' it real since the Carter administration, am I right? No, I'm pissed at these freakin' tax attourneys and PC-techs that wear Dockers while riding their Fat Boys to work. For crap sake, get some manners. You ain't hard-core, and you don't need a full lane. Why is it these freaks on the weekend version of Easy-Rider-Gets-A-Day-Job have to clip bicyclists so close??? My favorite is the little wrist-flick pipe-shot they feel neccessary to add on when they fly by. Ease up there, Chet. You can't finance toughness. Tough guys are only tough when they need to be. You're out here on the highways of America pimping out attitude like you own this thing, and you don't even know the difference between a Cafe bike and a Night Hawk. Grow up. Putting this in perspective, earlier in the day on "W", going past Smithville Lake, I got a very short little "beep" of a horn from 1/4 mile behind me, and shortly after a younger kid on a Yamaha sport-bike zipped past me, WAY over in the opposite lane, and with a friendly wave afterwards as he used his SIGNAL to get back into the correct lane. You older morons have a LOT to re-learn about courtesy -- if ANYone should be a prick on the road it's the sport-bike crowd and its younger demographic - but no, it's you OLDER jerks. Why don't you just buy a condo in St. Barts like all the rest of the 50-something washouts, and give me some freakin room on this road? By the way, while I'm at it: My DAD rode REAL bikes. A MODERN Harley isn't a real bike. It's a real EXPENSIVE bike. Get a CBR-750, or an old Triumph, and stop being a prick.
Ok, I'm done.
So, back to my EXCELLENT RIDE... wheeeew!!! Tangents are a bitch, aren't they?
Occasionally I look up to see my progress, waiting for that familiar narrow water tower to appear on my left, indicating that I'm at least HALF-way done with this gawd-forsaken highway. That's when I start to see it -- cyclists, that I'm about to pass! Let's be clear here... I was not passing them because I was faster. They were stopped, and safely off the road in the ditch, some of them looked like they were asleep. Others were fumbling with cell phones with frustrated looks on their faces. As I passed, I offered a thumbs up in question, looking for a similar response - and I consistantly got it. No mechanicals, no flats -- just plain WHIPPED. I passed no less than SEVEN riders in the next 12 miles. I was starting to feel pretty good about my stamina, if nothing else, becasue each check of the computer revealed the same thing -- about 10-12 MPH, maximum - slower on the hills.
But, I was moving. Those that had hammered hadered than me earlier in the day were now paying their own price. It all averages out in the end.
Finally, I arrive at the turnout for Plattsburg Road off of "C", and bid farewell to my "favorite" road. Ugh. Now, on to my ACTUAL Favorite road... Plattsburg Road is THE road, baby. Hilly, technical, sweeping downhill corners, scenery - and TREES, finally some minute shelter from the wind! Ok, it didn't really make a difference, but I'll take the mental advantage. Only a handful of miles left from here, which is good because the wind is taking it's toll. It's like a 26 mile climb, all the way back from Plattsburg itself. More fuel, more water - the fueling strategy was working out nicely, and I was never really at a loss for calories, never felt dried out, never cramped. Wow. Come to think of it, I don't think I had ever finshed a brevet this strongly, save for possibly 2003 (again with the past. I'll get there...there are PR's to break.). Still, Plattsburg Road, while devoid of the traffic density of "C", had it made up for in hill quality. They were longer, steeper, and more numerous per mile. One by one, though, I checked them off and started to make note of the decreasing address numbers. 174th Street..... 164th Street.... 144th..... 132nd ..... 119th.... and there it was... the humm of I-35's traffic was fianlly close enough to be heard over the growl of the wind. I was within 4 miles now!
The frontage road, much the same as always, was there to have it's words with tired cyclists that had forgotten about it. The home stretch is not exactly kind, but the long, fast downhill on Clayview Drive is always a treat. Finally, the parking lot!
YEAH!!!!! Inside, card signed, turned in, and a large chocolate milk to-go. Awesome! Spencer was there, reclining by the side of the building eating a muffin, and contempating the day and the wind, and looking forward to a good push home towards St.Joe later that night. Lucky man... I oft wondered what it would be like to ride home from the brevet, but the constant and consistant south winds of spring nearly always talk me out of it. I would not want to slog the extra 50+ miles south to Olathe after THAT.
Another great 200K, despite the hardships.
But, I'm putting regular QR's back on the bike now - new ones.
Aside from that, I'm not sure I'd change a thing. A really good day!
And that afternoon warming and thunderstorm activity I'd wondered about?
It happened on the drive home. Good timing, nature... thanks!
The only thing that would have made that slog home on "C" into the 20 MPH headwind WORSE, would have been a thunderstorm - and I was spared. It can indeed ALWAYS be worse.
I'm looking forward to the 300K in a couple weeks... more later!
Thanks for reading!