John Dilsaver and I drove out to Council Grove, KS, on Friday to ride the permanent on Saturday with Spencer Klaassen, Kent Fulton, Jack Romans, Arlys Minear and Brian Bettis from the KC area. The route is an out-and-back to El Dorado primarily on KS Highway 177. We met up with everyone, except Kent, a little after 8PM at the Corp of Engineers campground along the lake north of town. It took a while to get to sleep with the bright moon shining down and the occasional vehicle roaring down the highway about 1/4-mile to the east. I was concerned about mosquitoes because we were right on the lake and they have been so bad in Springfield, but they were not a problem.
We were up by 5AM and headed into town to the start at the Short Stop c-store. Kent arrived shortly after we got there, and we were soon off into the dark.
The route took us through the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve just north of Cottonwood Falls. There was a large stone house and barn that now serve as the visitor center. On the way back, we saw quite a few visitors.
With a slight tailwind, we made good time and arrived at the control in El Dorado at about 10:30AM. The only delay along the way was when Spencer had a blow out in Cassoday and had to replace his tube and tire. Most of the group bought lunch at a Dillon's grocery store in El Dorado, while I went across the street to Taco Bell and John started back straight from the control because he did not want to tighten up during lunch.
The ride back took a little longer. The headwind picked up to 12 miles per hour with gusts to 20. We rode in a pace line, but I started to slow down, which I typically do after lunch. My rear tire also began to go flat just south of Cassoday (a popular place for tire problems). I pumped it up a bit and eased into town. The tire was in pretty bad shape. The thread was thin, and there was a groove down to the casing along one side as if something had rubbed against it. Fortunately, Brian had a spare tire to replace it, and we were back on our way. I was riding better with a fully-inflated tire, but I began to feel extremely sleepy after we left Cottonwood Falls. This is a re-occurring problem that I have not been able to solve. We got a little strung out towards the end, and I rode into the Council Grove control with Brian and Arlys about 5:30PM. We had a good dinner with the group at the Hays House restaurant before driving back to Springfield.
Overall it was a great ride. We got to see some different scenery and ride with a great group of randonneurs who worked together to make the ride successful.
Getting ready to ride
Heading out of town in the dark
One of 3 Rivendells on the ride
Stone one-room school house
Stone barn at Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve
Chase County Courthouse in Cottonwood Falls
Me, John and Arlys taken by Spencer
Lunch outside the Dillon's in El Dorado
Pace line against the wind on the return
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