Wednesday, March 31, 2010

mount sunflower

Biking Across Kansas starts this year in Goodland, KS, 18 miles east of the Colorado border on Old Highway 24, just north of I-70. There is an "official" early start on Friday afternoon at the border, with the regular start in Goodland on Saturday morning. Or, one could just ride to the border on Saturday, snap some pictures, and turn around and ride to the first overnight spot in Colby. Even doubling back would only make 
the first day 72 miles.                                                                                                                                   
I've driven past this area a few times. A couple years ago I met Bruce in Colby, left my car at a motel, and we took his van to Gunnison for crmbt. Other than that, the towns were just markers that we were nearing Colorado. So now I'm going to get a chance to see more of Kansas up close, the right way: on a bike.
What's western KS like? For starters, Goodland is on the eastern side of the high plains, at 3638 feet in elevation. Twenty-eight miles to the southwest is Mount Sunflower, not really a mountain, but the highest point in KS at 4039'. Admittedly, Colorado's high point, Mt. Elbert, is a scant 10, 401 feet higher, but still. Mount Sunflower is on private land, but the owners welcome visitors to a spot with a sign, picnic table, sunflower sculpture made of railroad spikes, and a plaque that states "nothing happened here in 1897".
Starting near the high point should make most of the trip downhill, right? Now we'll just need to see what the wind is like in Kansas in June.   :)

Pics of Goodland Van Gogh, Mt Sunflower, and Mt Elbert borrowed from Wikipedia.

Friday, March 26, 2010

here comes the sun

It seems like years since it's been here.
Southerly winds at about 15-20 mph warmed things up a little and got us to about 60 degrees this afternoon. They also made it a no-brainer to ride south on the way out and have the wind at my back coming home. I got out of work a little early and spent an hour on local bike trails. The county has done a nice job of expanding the trail system. I can get on a few blocks from home and ride about 20 miles, one-way, without crossing a street. I like to start out on the trails in the spring, working my way up to longer rides which take me out into the countryside. In a few places I've noticed these:
I don't know what you would call them, maybe suggestions? As in, "If we ever have some extra money to add a link to this trail, I think we should go off in this direction". I like the way they think. Ten weeks until BAK. :)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


If you know what this represents, you'll know what I'm planning to do for about 12 hours tomorrow.
Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

Monday, March 8, 2010

bak 2010

I'm going to Leavenworth! No, not the federal prison.

I signed up today for Bike Across Kansas 2010. This year's route runs from Goodland, KS (and an optional start at the Colorado border, 18 miles to the west) to Leavenworth, KS where the Missouri River is also the border. Colorado to Missouri in  494 miles.

I've wanted to do this ride for a long time. When I first started doing week-long tours I did the Tour de Kota in South Dakota a couple times, and that is held the same week as BAK. From east of Ottawa to Eudora will be on roads I've  ridden. Usually that's the far end of a 50ish mile loop. The rest of the ride will be new terrain for me. It should be fun to spend the week riding across the state I've called home for 22 years. And it should be a nice warm up for the CRMBT in August.