21 July 2012

Beaumont Gravel Loop (Now Less Diabolical)

I was out of water.  164oz in me.  Forget the fact that I was 7 and 1/2 miles from the car and 3 hours in, I'm terrified of running out of water.  I was in the Flint Hills where anything can happen and I was a little concerned.  My left quad had been having spasms for the last 4 miles and I knew I might be in trouble.

What started Monday and Tuesday as a quest to find a good graveller from Cassoday had led me to Wednesday Morning at 7:00am in Beaumont KS.  I had used every available tool to me to make sure that these were open roads.  I felt confident that I had a good route and so I set out.  Then just around 3 miles in I came to a gate with a padlock.  No sign, just a padlock.  Due to incredible frustration, and weary of all 4 resources telling me this road was open, I jumped the fence.  I wound up jumping 3 more before I found my road and I'll tell you something, I'm never going to do that sort of thing again.  Imagine that around the time of the Romans, a group of them built a road.  Then it was abandoned, forgotten and fell into disuse.  That's what Township Road 499 reminded me of.  I rode through tall grasses, woods, giant rocks, up and down gulleys, and even forded a small creek.  It was two miles and it took me all of 35 minutes to get through.  My bushwhacking days are over, that was definitely enough for me.  Unless you care to join me that is!

Being keen of nose and direction though led me smack dab at the intersection I needed to be on.  Thanks also go out to Google Maps for keeping me in line.  Began one of the better sections of road and felt great having not to think about where I was going to turn.  The roads were heavily disused, grasses sprouted from the middle of the road.  Then I started due east on the county line road between Elk and Greenwood counties.  This road was a thrill!  Scrub grass a few inches high covered the road and the grass in the middle got to the middle of my top tube.  Grasses and wild sunflowers encroached my path on either side, leaving little more than 6 inches to ride on.  This road is so disused I saw fossilized animal poop, not much else a few bugs but not a damn thing else.  Eventually I came to a screaming, haul ass, butt puckering descent.  I grabbed the bars, centered my gravity and fell like a stone.  Quickly delivered to my turn on Road 14/9, I was greeted by a WHOA MOMMA! road.  Two barely visible tracks in grass to the top of my stem. I screamed through this grass until I got to a big fucking gate half a mile in that said no trespassing.  I was forced to back track to the next road to the east.  You have no idea how disheartening it was to be on a "normal" gravel road again.  A few miles later and I was at the intersection of 14/9 and Rock/Crisco.

I had made it this far and was so pleased to be on the downhill slide.  Just one problem, the wind that was howling out of the South began howling Southwest.  Directly and indirectly slowing me down at the same time.  There is no cover on this road and it is wide open, a whole lot of suck.  Then you realize that the hills are getting closer and you no longer see the road going up them.  Just over a rise you see a glimmer to your right, its Crisco.  Bobbing up and up and up bisecting the wind farm.  This road is tough, you climb and at the top you just level off, no descent.  There is one descent, delivering you to the bottom of the big climb of the day.  Looking ahead of you are three humps rising equal and higher each time then the last and fourth little hump beckons.  Again it just flattens out and you are stuck just grinding along.  Thankfully I got to the Latham/Beaumont road and a little bit of a tailwind.

The rest of the trip was pretty uneventful.  The giant wind turbines were pretty cool to drive through until I realized that this stretch of road was a tourist area!  Caution Caution Caution.  I got back to Beaumont at around 1030, and headed straight to the cafe.  Closed until 11, crap!  Those tourists I just spoke of?  They too were looking for a hot meal and we struck up a brief chat.  Guy's car was littered with marathon stickers he seemed concerned when I asked him for water and told him I ran out 8ish miles ago.  He carries a 5 gallon of water for his dog and he filled me up.  I was so grateful, I jumped right back on the bike because it would be really embarrassing to be seen sucking down the water so greedily.  I got back to Brie's car and cranked the AC.  I was super excited she let me borrow it. 

At your own risk.....


1 comment:

  1. Report those non-public roads to Google (via the "Report a problem" link at https://maps.google.com/). They'll fix 'em...