Did some recon for the aforementioned KINGSoftheVILLE ride, and nobody wanted to join me. Despite colder than forecasted temps (30°F, 18mph winds), lack of sleep and poor nutrition (shoveled some eggs and oatmeal down 20min beforehand), I figured I could knock 60miles solo out w/no issues. The winds ended up breaking me quickly. By the time I reached Kingsville (25mi) my legs were feeling it. Then headed South directly into the headwind and ran into a 2mi and another 4mi stretch of freshly graded gravel that nearly forced me to want to walk the bike. I’d cross a paved intersection thinking “just turn right here and cut the ride/pain short”… but I knew if I’m having these same mental battles out in the Flint Hills during the Dirty Kanza, this would mean a DQ. So I pressed on. Couldn’t get comfortable on the bike – feet, back, hands, forearms, neck along with the weakening legs all wanted to just lie down on a massage table for 2 hours. Once I finally had a tailwind it was hard to enjoy, but it expedited my trip home. Found some packed gravel and made it back home eventually. It’s been a while since I’ve felt that shitty on a bike – which was probably a good humbling thing. Always important reminder to appreciate good health and not take the gift of physical ability for granted. We’re not getting any younger. So I celebrated by enjoying some date-time with my Lady down on The Plaza and blew through some long-held gift cards at Brio. Calories replenished. Ride yer bike! And keep pushing a little farther when your mind and body tell you to pitch it into the ditch and phone home.