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Bike across Kansas 2013 final thoughts.

Bike Across Kansas 2013 from Casey Bieker on Vimeo.

BE SURE TO MAKE IT FULL SCREEN.

I started training for BAK 2013 in just January of this year, I would recommend starting much earlier unless you want to suffer more. I did it as motivation and a goal to strive towards and it definitely helped me lose weight and get back into fair shape. I have ridden BAK 3 times previously so I knew what to expect but I was in much better shape and my last one was in 2009, so it had been awhile. I feel that it is a well run event and it’s always fun to get the story of other riders and where they are coming from. I don’t think that I am the only one that felt like a rock star riding down the main drag of Ark City or Sedan, KS with people cheering on both sides of the street upon your arrival.

I know that not everyone has a fantastic time on BAK and I think it is what you make of it, if you expect to have a miserable time because of the milage and wind, then you probably will. Knowing that I was not as in good of shape and heavy going into this years ride, I felt pretty negatively about it and I think that is the attitude that I carried for several days rather than just enjoying the ride. Towards the end I was realizing my mistake, made somewhat of an attitude adjustment and had a lot better time. Unfortunately by the time I had reached Sedan where I was feeling pretty good, my right achilles tendon really started to act up and I made the decision to stop there rather than temp injury and stop any activities for a lot of the summer. It stinks with only two days to go and a sense of failure definitely creeps in, but I think it was the right decision and I am hopeful to ride BAK 2014 much lighter and ready to hit it with a much more positive perspective.

I believe there were more first time riders than I have every seen on BAK this year and whether you made it or not, Congratulations! It’s a tough ride, don’t let anyone tell you different and now that you have done it, you are probably addicted to the people and comradary that comes with it! So I hope that you had fun and that you can drag someone into the fold that has not had a chance to experience Kansas the way we have.

Some suggestions for those contemplating a ride such as BAK:

1. If you will be riding in the wind and heat, train in the wind and heat. There is no substitute!

2. It is NOT a race, don’t miss out on conversation just because you want to blow a slower riders doors off.

3. Learn the skills within cycling. Find the experienced riders and learn a new skill like drafting properly and communication within a group of riders. It will go a very long way on a 25 miles stretch into a 30mph wind. Believe me!

4. Be comfortable on your bike. If your butt and wrists hurt you bad on a one day 60 mile ride, it’s not going to be better for seven days straight. Find a saddle, shorts and gloves that you are comfortable with, get a professional bike fit. We are talking 500+ miles in a week here folks so any discomfort that you might feel is going to be magnified exponentially by the time you are done.

5. Have front and back lights on your bike. I took mine off thinking “why would I be riding in the dark?” Leave them on because when it gets 100+ degrees by mid day, you will want to leave early enough to get most of your riding done before the heat kicks up. That means potentially leaving before 6am while it’s still somewhat dark. So make sure cars can see you for a long ways.

Until next year, keep riding and I hope to see a lot of you again! Be safe out there!

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