We avoided a bonk and made it to the end of our century, thanks to a little shade.

To bonk or not to bonk? Most cyclists definitely do not want to bonk. When a cyclist bonks, he or she has depleted all energy reserves and has difficulty pedaling down the road. A bonk can be attributed to various causes, including an empty “fuel tank,” heat exhaustion, and dehydration, to name only a few.

As we rolled up and down the hills along Isabel Road during our Gyp Hills Century, the wind blew at our backs and thus did not cool us down. Subsequently, my wife, Kathie, almost bonked. She became fairly desperate for shade and wasn’t sure she was going to make it. I asked her if she’d like me to call friends back in Pratt to come our and pick her up. Her reply was simply to keep pedaling onward. Fortunately, some shade soon arrived—along with a flat on my front tire—so we had a good excuse to take a break along the east side of a tree line at the Cargill Ranch. The ranch headquarters borders the north end of the Flat Ridge Wind Farm, which is easily visible from Highway 281 south of Pratt. The folks at the ranch were very obliging in allowing us to linger while I fixed the flat and Kathie lay down with a water-soaked headband on her head. Ranch operator Chad Cargill even came over and asked if we needed any help. When I said we were doing fine, he replied, “Just holler if you need anything,” before driving off in his enclosed four-wheeler/golf cart.

After the Cargill Ranch stop, the remainder of 100 mile day went better, especially as our tires hit the smooth pavement of Highway 42, and we headed through Isabel toward Sawyer. After arriving back in Pratt, we polished our century a lap with a lap at Lemon Park.

All in all, we survived, if a little sun-burnt and sore. We look forward to our next long ride as we continue training for an upcoming ride in North Dakota.

I’ll close this with a plea to anyone who rides a bicycle. In September, the MS150 cycling event will be based out of Pratt, providing an opportunity to ride, more or less, the route described in the last two blogs. It’s a great opportunity to raise money for a great cause. Visit http://bikeksg.nationalmssociety.org/site/PageServer?pagename=BIKE_KSG_Wichita_Ride to register for this fun and well-supported ride!