I went up to Kansas City, KS, with Dan Pfaff to ride the 600K on May 22. We got blown out by the wind. The heat did not help either, although it only seemed hot because it has been so cool. The first 100K went well except that Dan got a slow flat before Wellsville. He pumped it up several times and fixed it in Wellsville. The tire was slit, so we put a boot in it. The 2nd 100K out of Ottawa was into and across a 25 mph wind with 35 mph gusts. We had to ride near the middle of the road to not get blown off the road by the crosswind. I got to the Emporia control 30 minutes before the close and realized I would have to ride the remaining 400K without stopping to sleep. I was exhausted. There was a tailwind out of Emporia, but it would be headwind on the way back. The wind was predicted to blow pretty strong all night. I decided to get a motel room in Emporia. Dan went on but turned back in Council Grove when he realized he also could not make the time limits if he stopped to sleep. He got back to Emporia about 1:00. We rode the 200K back on Sunday, so I got in two good training rides.
Bob Burns conducting the rider meeting
Heading out on KS 32
Stout's Corner Control
Crossing the Kansas River outbound
Guy & Mae's Tavern in Williamsburg: A/C and cold water
Dan Pfaff and I drove up to Edwardsville on Friday evening for the 400K brevet that started at 5:00 on Saturday, May 8. There was about 10 riders for the 400K. There was also a 200K starting at the same time.
We left Edwardsville under clear skies and a strong west wind (about 14 mph). The temperature was about 46 degrees, so I was a little chilly until we started riding. I hooked up with the front group of riders, but lost them before we reach Pocahontas because I ran out of gears. Regardless, I was in Pocahontas (24.4 miles) in 1.25 hours even though 3.5 of the miles was on city streets and the bicycle trail out of Edwardsville. I hit the bathroom, grabbed a chocolate milk and waited about 10 minutes for Dan to catch up.
We made good time to the controls in Breeze and Okawville and stopped to eat at a McDonald's in Pinkneyville. The temperature reached a comfortable 60 degrees in the afternoon. We really slowed when we made the turn west at Stein Road. Not only were we back into the wind, but there are a number of short, steep hills that appear to be the result of surface mining of the area.
I took a short nap at the control in Ava before we continued the leg west into the wind that was still blowing about 15 mph out of the WNW with gusts up to 25 mph. From Ava, I finished the ride with Dan and Andrew Radford. Andrew stopped to lay down when we finally turned north at Chester Road, but he caught up with us at the Sparta control. We left Sparta as it was beginning to get dark. Fortunately, the wind died down as the sun set, but it also began to get cooler. We stopped again in Coulterville after eight miles because there are no more stores until New Baden, about 30 miles further on.
As we continued north, we had several downhills that allowed Dan and Andrew to get some distance ahead of me. I finally caught up to Dan and told him that if they were going to rely on me to navigate the turns (neither of them had ridden this section in the dark), they were going to have to slow a bit, which they did. My main concern was the west turn at Stone Church Road, but we had no problems locating it. I had a little problem in Venedy when I was trying to watch a pickup truck approaching an intersection while making sure it was our turn. I plowed right into some gravel that pitched me sideways, but some how I unclipped and had my foot down before I fell. The near fall and the 6 miles on SR-160 got my adrenaline up (SR-160 is the last section of relatively fast traffic), so I picked up the speed the rest of the way into New Baden. Dan made a comment about how much I had recovered after complaining about leaving me behind earlier.
John Jost, the RBA, and Dennis Smith were still in New Baden when we arrived. Dennis was wrapping newspaper around his mid-section for more protection from the cold, and then they left. We stayed at New Baden for over an hour, napping some and steeling ourselves to go back into the cold. The temperature was about 45 degrees at midnight with a low of 42 degrees around 2:00. It probably seemed a lot colder because we were tired. For me, the demands of the ride were now more mental then physical. Eventually, we pushed on, winding our way in the cold through Summerfield, St. Jacob and Marine. In St. Jacob, I thought about trying to find a post office where we might take a break in some warmth, but the light in the lobby was off as we passed by, so I assumed it was locked up.
We pulled into the final control in Edwardsville at 3:50. We slept a couple hours in the car before Dan was ready to drive back. We were hoping to trade off driving, but I kept nodding off while Dan was driving, so we stopped at a rest stop so we could take another nap.