Big announcement time. I’m sure you’re asking what happened to the first one, and well, I may be switching jobs, so not sure if number one will happen or not. Here’s number two. Kansas needs a long-distance off-road bike-packing route. The Dirty Kanza is a great start, but I’m talking a multi-day, gravel-grinding loop that starts and ends here in Emporia. So on Tuesday I’m going to start mapping one. I hope to have the GPX file done by Friday, and then start working on cue sheets. I won’t be planning a race, at least this year, but will keep track of ITT’s (Individual Time Trials) for anyone interested, as long as they are verified by SPOT or GPS. The towns I’m planning on including/ going near are Emporia, El Dorado, Newton, McPherson, Salina, Abilene, Manhattan, Wamego, Topeka, Lawrence, Ottawa, Osage City, Eskridge, and back to Emporia. I’m also planning on including the single-track trails in Manhattan, Topeka, and Lawrence, so if you’re gonna ride cross tires, you might want to have some knobs on them. This route will be able to either be bike-packed with plenty of camping opportunities at area lakes, or you can easily “hotel” it as well. At least five of the towns have full-service bike shops, plus any other amenities that you may need. Don’t get me wrong, though, this route will have PLENTY of wide-open spaces where seldom is heard a discouraging word. I’m really excited to get this started!
What’s new with me? Not too much, really. Still on for the no-drinking thing, which for me is no easy task, but I made it through New Years. Heck, I even went to a bar on New Year’s Eve and stayed sober. That’s gotta be a good sign, right? I tell you what, I felt a lot better in the morning this year than I did last year, believe you me!
So I decided I was going to try to do the Dirty Kanza route on my fat-bike, on snow-covered roads, in January. I really didn’t plan it out, just decided the day before I was going to give it shot. I started out at 6, and it was fairly cool, about 15, but there wasn’t any wind. I got warmed up fairly quickly, but about an hour into the ride the wind picked up. It was fairly stiff from the south, which happened to be the way I was going. It continued to pick up speed, and then made a shift from the west about the same time I did. More headwind. I guesstimate it was about 20mph or so, and going up those hills into a headwind on a fat-bike made for a LONG ride. I got about 6-7 miles from Cassoday, which is the first checkpoint on the DK (mile 65, I think), and after a couple of flats, decided to turn around. My initial plan was just to backtrack along the route to Emporia, but along the way I realized I was only about 20 or so miles from Madison, which has a Casey’s General Store (gas station). A Casey’s General Store means one thing: pizza. That sounded good, so with the wind (generally) at my back, that’s where I ended up. I stocked up on pizza, warmed up with some coffee, and was getting ready to head out for the last 20 miles back to Emporia. I checked my phone, and had a voicemail from my Mom, who said she was in Olpe (about 10 miles away), and wondered if I wanted a ride. At that point, the DK challenge was already ruined, so I balked. If anyone ever asks if a Surly Pugsley can fit in the back of a Dodge Nitro, the answer is yes, if you take both the wheels off, haha. Anyways, I got back home, warmed up with a hot shower, and then went over to the parent’s house for some chili. My total mileage was around 107 for the day, which I was pretty happy with, given the headwinds, my lack of fitness, flat problems, my lack of fitness, and the snow-covered roads. Did I mention I’m a lot more out of shape than I thought I was? I’ll add that to the list of New Years Resolutions.
See you at the gym,