Ah the Farmhouse Classic. A 100 mile ride in north western Missouri near the towns of Plattsburg, Lathrop and Polo. An “event” more of a “race” as Joe Fox of CycleCity (Parkville, MO) puts it on each year as a birthday ride starting and ending at his sisters farmhouse. After the ride everyone gathers for BBQ, refreshments and stories. A good time in the heat of the summer.
2011 – Last year was my first year riding on a bike of any kind since high school…1992. I had just failed at the DK200 as part of a relay team. I knew entering the 100 mile FHC was a mistake but I would be riding with friends so why not. Matt Kosinski promised not to leave me. Three miles in my chain broke. Matt tried in vain to help me and not leave me but without whats called a “master link”, the repair was beyond our ability. So I watched Matt ride off over the hill and I turned around to walk back alone to the farm house. I then sat by myself and drank beer and water for 6 hours in a lawn chair until the first rider finished the race. That was my first experience at FHC.
2012 – I think I’m still suffering from DK200 syndrome…just in a different way. I finished the DK200 this year and now feel like doing nothing. Post DK I maybe went on 4 rides. Maybe 100 total miles. We’ve been busy…blah blah blah. No excuses. So when Farmhouse rolled around I was relieved to learn there was a 48 mile Bail Out option for the 99 mile ride. Sweet. I can gut out 48 miles no matter how out of shape I’m in. Maybe I’ll feel great and knock out the whole 99 miles. Wednesday night I hopped on the exercise bike that i hadn’t ridden in 3 months and rode for an hour. That should do it. I’m good to go. One hour in basement easily equates to 8+ hours outdoors on gravel in 100+ degree heat.
Friday night hop into a truck with friends, Matt, Tim, Chaz and Jeff and head to a hotel in KC area. Good food and beer at Free State in Lawrence along the way and then we hit the hotel. I slept like hell. Nervous maybe but more about the likelihood of being eaten by bedbugs than the race. At one point considered wrapping my pillow in a t-shirt cause I kept imagining bugs running through my hair. AC unit sounded like a waterfall when it kicked on every 5 minutes for about 15 minutes. Fell asleep soundly around 3:30am. Up for good at 4:45am. Bad night. Bad breakfast.
Head to the farmhouse. Pass a gas station and reminisce about Tim’s 2011 best bathroom “showing” ever there only to now see a sign that says “no public restroom”. I’m sure it was not related. Joe Fox gave the rules. Don’t lose cue sheet and map. Only good for leg one where we’ll have a sag stop and get leg two map. Cool. Easy rollout on blacktop a few miles to town of Lathrop then back onto gravel and it’s a race. Cool. We’re off!! Easy rollout my cute rear end. 18 to 20 mph on pavement but I kept up. Hit gravel it was on!! For everyone but me… My head just was not in it. I felt like I weighed a ton. Around mile 10 I saw my cue sheet fly away. Instead of going back to get it I figured I’d just follow other riders until the sag stop at mile 35. Bad plan. After about 30 minutes of lost time due to wrong turns Chaz and I arrive at where the 35 mile sag stop should be…to find no sag station. Instead of staying put and calling we figure we missed it so we ride around. We knock on doors. Chaz gets invited into one house for bacon, eggs and pancakes…except the music coming out does not sound human so we ride away very fast. We ended up camping at a cemetery for about 30 minutes to gather ourselves and make phone calls.
Finally after 2 HOURS of overall lost time…we sync up with the sag crew and are ready to roll again with new maps. At this point its noon and there is no way we’re finishing this race in a respectable time. I decide to follow the Bail Out route and just enjoy the BBQ, beer and stories. End of my day was about 52 miles in 3 hrs 11 minutes with true ride time of just over 5.5 hours. Two hours and 15 minutes of wasted time lost and looking at maps. 🙂 100% my fault.
I had a blast though. Tim and Matt both finished in the heat. Awesome job. Next year, the third time will be a charm!!