|Gravel City 2017|
|Shake Down Ride with the King, Dan Hughes|
|Good Advice Always, but especially at 2 miles to Go|
But I am not there. I will spend this weekend painting my house, patching window screens, and rehabbing my rotator cuff. I'll watch the social media posts about DK200 slowly drip in on Saturday afternoon. I will eagerly search for my friends in the results, wondering what adventures & misfortunes they endured. The leftover Kanza excitement might propel me on a long dirt road ride Sunday. I figure 80-90 miles of New Hampshire dirt roads is plenty for me right now. Still it's not the same as being back home on the prairie.
I expect that I will race the Kanza again, next year if I'm lucky, but certainly another year soon. Perhaps skipping a year is a good thing, like leaving a field fallow for a season so that it can revive. Yet something about the deep blue Kansas sky and the vast stretches of tall grass haunts my dreams. When I close my eyes I see a narrow strip of gravel cutting through endless rolling hills. The cows look bemused as I ride by under the bright sapphire dome. You can take the boy off the prairie, but you can't take the prairie out of the boy. Kansas winds drive the grit under your skin and the sun bakes it in. No amount of scrubbing ever gets it all out. So I'll likely always have that itch, the notion that I ought to be out riding the Flint Hills this time of year. Maybe next year I'll get another scratch at it.