|I passed this strange looking remnant. Looked like a fire place, but I'm not sure.|
The stranger back in Council Grove said I wouldn't find much for gravel "out that way", but I certainly did. Actually, it was some of the best I had ridden all day long. There were some tough climbs, amazing views, and a minimum maintenance road that proved to be a challenge that even the DK200 riders didn't have this year.
You might notice through all of these "DK My Way" posts that I haven't mentioned much about the weather. That is because it had been a non-factor. Just when it felt like it was about to get hot, the clouds would thicken. Just when the breezes became a headwind to contend with, the wind would suddenly die down. It was uncanny. It probably was, and will forever be, the best weather I will experience riding in the Flint Hills.
|Typical Flint Hills view from a hill top. This was shortly before getting to Americus.|
|Most structures in the Flint Hills are not made from wood, which makes the area have a very different feel from that of Iowa.|
|The last MMR of the day started out fast and dry.|
|Then it got worse!|
I tried not to get my Terrene Honali tires too muddy, but even judicious test rolling to see how the dirt/mud mixture might be like caused a lot of mud to pack up on the tires. I didn't press the issue, but a clean up would be required once I knew I had cleared the mud and wet dirt. Fortunately, my good friend Mike Johnson had supplied me with his homemade mud scraper tool which worked really well.
|This special mud scraper is made from a BBQ skewer!|
|Another cemetery. This one is straight West of Americus, Kansas.|
No need to worry too much, and of course, it stopped raining the moment I reached the gravel again. Wouldn't ya know?! So, that was fun and made for a different experience than I had been expecting. Now it was just time to grind out several flat miles to Americus and then have a beer.
|Beer time in Americus|
Not many moments after I took the image of my beer I was reminded of how fortunate I had been. I received the following text at 3:44pm.
"I'm down town at the finish line."
I thought that was a curious place for Tony to be, but I had lost all sense of time as I traveled. Had I noted the time of day, I would have realized that there was no way on Earth that Tony would have finished at that time of day. Not 200 miles. I answered with the following.....
"Okay, I am in Americus. I've got about 7.5 miles to go. Having a Bud heavy at Casey's"
So, Tony fired back that his bike was trashed and his helmet was toast. It was only then that I realized something was amiss. I then snapped to. Oh no! Was Tony wandering around with a concussion? How badly was he hurt? Now I was worried and wanted to get back to town, clean up, and find him. All I could think of was that Tony was wandering around aimlessly and no one was looking after him.
|The total for the day.|
Just about 200 yards before I hit the first pavement coming back to town my computer ticked over to 100 miles. I was happy, but no time to celebrate. I headed back through town from the West on 15th and then on to Emporia State's campus and to the residence halls. The ride was over. A quick image of the computer and then I was off to get a shower and go find Tony.
I went down town and found Tony and he was banged up for sure, but he was definitely okay. We ate some food and then hung out until about 11:30pm to greet finishers and chat with those who we knew down there. Then we cashed it in for the night to get up the next day early for the awards ceremonies.
I'll do a postscript on the ride, but at the end of the day, I was tired, ready to get off the bike, but I was super happy with my century. I felt great for the most part, I had a lot of fun, and I met all my goals. The weather was perfect. I kind of wish it hadn't been then I would have had a bit harder test. But as it stood, I had nothing to be upset about.
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