After a weekend of wind, followed by two days of rain, a sunny day with mild wind was too much to pass up, so Reed and I took a little field trip to lovely Miami County, Kansas (with a side trip across the state line to Missouri).
We parked in Louisburg and headed east on Highway 68. Thankfully, the traffic was fairly light, as this section of road has no shoulder. But still, after being passed by several trucks in 4 miles, we were glad to cross into Missouri and head south on MO Route D.
Even after the road surface turned to hell (way to keep up with road maintenance, MODOT), and we realized there was a noticeable headwind, we were still happy, because the day was bright and beautiful, the countryside was scenic, and there was very little traffic.
It was a nice ride to our first pit stop at the Casey’s Store in Drexel, Missouri, and a short break before we were off again. The route took us due west on 359th Street, into the southwesterly wind. We soon crossed paths with the Cider Mill Century route, catching it at Jingo road and following it west to Block Junction, where we took another short break. Once stopped, the wind didn’t feel like much, but it definitely got your attention when you were pedaling into it.
Soon enough we reached Osawatomie and made our way through town to the Whistle Stop Cafe. This is a great place to eat in Osawatomie, with a lunch buffet with really good fried chicken.
After eating our fill we were off once more, heading north on Old KC Road, once again on familiar roads. We took Old KC Road Up to 327th, east to Hospital Drive, then north to 311th Street and back east towards Louisburg.
This is a road I’d ridden before, but it was new to Reed. As we crossed the flat Wea Creek valley, I said to Reed, “Ready or not, here they come.”
“What,” he asked.
“Hills,” I replied, grinning.
The first few hills weren’t too bad, but they just kept coming. For the next 10 miles or so, one after another, with a couple pretty healthy ones in the middle. Not granny-gear tough — I was able to stay in my middle chainring — but tough enough.
And traffic, on this straight-but-hilly backroad, while not exactly heavy, was more than I expected. As always, most drivers were polite, but there’s always a few that push the jerk envelope, in a hurry to get somewhere fast.
After eight miles of up and down on 311th, we headed north on Metcalf for a few more hills and a few more miles, until we arrived back at the truck with right at 60 miles under our wheels. I was surprised, when I entered the mileage into my log later, that it ended up being a 15.2 MPH average. With the wind for the first half, and hills on the last half, it didn’t seem that fast.
But it was a great route, one I’d like to do again sometime. Once in a while it’s good to get yer butt kicked like that.