“I have been slowly piecing together a bike for the next few years, thinking that it’d be awhile before I looked at a gravel ride because of my complete distain for cold. When the opportunity arose, I was excited for my swiftly planned Kansas Day Adventure… There was a fury of boxes that showed up at my house within the last couple of weeks. Seat post collar, saddle bolts, bottle cages and di2 wires.
Us Topeka folks went down to enjoy some of the finest gravel that there is to offer on something I later learned was _actually_ a common route. I showed up and realized that it was cold, windy, and my brifter was loose…. Not a great sign but an indication of my rush-job to get this bike set up. A shakedown ride is a curious thing, you don’t know if it’s the bike, the parts, the fit or you until about 15 miles in. Well, those 15 miles were in the flint hills, and the opportunity to fail as your own mechanic is sometimes magnified by the Flint Hills. This situation is pretty common to me, as I’m always fiddling with bikes and setup. Di2 11Sp w/50t chainring, a trusty Mavic MTB wheelset, a Brooks and some CowChippers were the hodgepodge of parts that I’ve managed to hang on my new to me frame.
The gravel rode well, the bike performed beyond my expectations, and it wasn’t long before I was lost… This is where the bonus miles come in. I’m not really one to follow routes, also as someone who rarely rides with groups I tend to enjoy pedaling on my own. After a few quick Facebook message conversations, I realized that there was actually a map for this route. Some quick math helped me realize myself and the lovely riding partner I went adventuring with were about 4 miles off the route. We added about 1k feet of climbing in the 4 miles, thanks, Flint Hills…
We caught a hellacious tailwind and managed to speed back up and into Olpe, meeting up with our group. Zigzagging back up to Emporia, finding invisible walls of wind at every turn was an adventure in conditioning and determination. We rolled back into Emporia and I looked at my Garmin. 54 miles. Well, crap, might as well make it a 100k and get on the road to my cup this year. Putting my head down and fighting headwinds by myself made me regret my decision for the first few miles, but Emporia’s bike-friendly streets helped me ride into the adventure of obtaining a cup for 2017.”
– Kasey C.