A Flèche is a 24-hour ride held in the spring. The traditional event date is Easter weekend, but it can be held from one week before Easter until seven weeks after. Flèches are regional events where teams of cyclists all head to a common destination from various starting points. No individual entries are allowed. The RBA in each region establishes the finishing destination each year. Each team must start its ride between noon Thursday and 10:00 AM on Saturday. The minimum distance required for the 24-hour period is 360K (224 miles). No rest stop may exceed two hours in any one location. Each team is limited to a maximum of five and a minimum of three members. The ride is patterned after the Flèche Vélocio held by the Audax Club Parisien (ACP) in France.
We left St. Joe in the rain, which continued until just before we crossed the Missouri River into Leavenworth, KS (2nd control). We also had an 8 to 10 mph wind out of the SSE. Spencer had three flats just before the river. They appeared to be caused by road debris.
Brian began to slow on the hills between Eudora and Wellsville because of knee pain. He decided to abandon in Wellsville. He made a wise decision because even though we soon turned east and only had a crosswind, there were several long, uphill pulls. This was the toughest part of the ride for me. The sky was completely clear, and the temperature had risen to about 76 degrees. While that temperature will not seem very hot later in the summer, it was too hot for me on Friday. I was glad when we pulled into Louisburg, KS for a break.
We made good time the rest of the evening and into the morning. The temperature stayed in the 60s the remainder of the ride, but whenever we stopped I would get chilled and bundled up in all the clothes I had. Of course, I would warm up again when we started riding and had to take clothes off. We pulled into the 22-hour control in Odessa just after 2:00, which gave us to two hours to rest before riding the final 25K (about 17 miles) into Grain Valley. Spencer had a pinch flat that he fixed before we left. We pulled into the Casey's at Grain Valley about 5:30. Brian and Arlys Minear showed up a short time later, but we had to wait until 6:00, when the Casey's open, before we could go to breakfast at IHOP, complements of Bob Burns.
I did not have any mechanical problems the entire ride, and my new, homemade LED light worked great.
More pictures and video from the ride taken by Spencer.
Flèche Lives at the start:
Spencer, Brian, Bob & Ralph
Photo by Arlys Minear
Brian & Spencer heading south out of St. Joe
Fixing one of Spencer's flat tires
Crossing the Missouri at Leavenworth, KS
Heading east out of Drexel