Having just completed the DK50 in June of 2017, a 50 mile bike ride in the Flint Hills, my friends Steve, Allyson and I were confident that riding the 75 mile option in the September Pony Express ride was doable. So, we signed up for it and we even got in a 50 mile training ride in the weeks before we left for Marysville/Marshall County Kansas. My paternal family is from Marshall County, so riding my bike there was especially appealing to me.
Now, for all of you out there who truly believe that Kansas is flat, I urge you to hop on a bicycle and ride around the eastern part of our fair state. Flat it is not. The first big hill we were faced with was a 17% grade. 17% doesn’t sound like much, but it looks as steep as the stairs in an old farm house. I made it to the top, still on my bicycle. Even now, I’m certain the only way that happened is because I had no idea how to stop on a hill that steep and dismount!
There were more hills, I forgot my cue sheets so I didn’t know which way to go at the intersections, Steve had 3 flat tires and Allyson struggled with the headwinds. But, the scenery was amazing!
We finally made it to the halfway point. there was a large group to welcome us and congratulate us on our progress. There was food and water and porta-potties. I’ve never been so happy to have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, pickle and a porta-potty!
Allyson decided the headwinds were too much and she was done riding. Steve and I refueled and continued on. We missed turn, had an almost ride stopping moment of dehydration, thankfully Steve was over-prepared with the Gatorade, and experienced some of the stupidest mountain biking terrain I have ever seen. My bike and I had a nice walk through that section. As we came out of this particular area, there was another hill, not as steep, but much farther into the ride. If you make it to the top on your bike, you get a free beer at the end. Steve got the free beer. I did not.
It was brutal and I hated a lot of it. But, I also loved it. I finished, so I consider it a win. After a shower and few beers, Steve and I were discussing the ride and I believe it was Steve who said “Don’t you think this was harder than riding in the Flint Hills?” I agreed that it was, he then said “So… if we can do 75 miles up here, riding the DK100 should be easy, right?” Clearly we were both delirious, because I agreed. Easy, we both said and we signed up for that one, too!
Stay tuned for that story, soon!