The Hilliest FLATS Ride is 7, 27, or 52 miles of rolling hills and beautiful landscapes.
The Hilliest FLATS Ride was held on Saturday, July 6. We had a nice turnout and lovely weather. Bicyclists chose between 7, 27, and 52 mile routes. Those who rode 7 or 27 miles were back in plenty of time for the Pancake Breakfast (included in the registration), but those who rode 52 miles had to leave early and pedal hard to get pancakes!
We had a few bicyclists from out of town. A couple bicyclists each brought an out-of-town brother on the ride. One bicyclist came from Columbia, MO, because he is training for RAGBRAI, a famous bike ride across Iowa, which is in a couple weeks. He had found out about the Hilliest FLATS Ride on the RAGBRAI forums.
The 7 mile route features the three trails in Kirksville: the old Wabash rail-trail that runs alongside Osteopathy, the YMCA trail that goes on past the school, and the Steer Creek trail that parallels north Cottage Grove behind Hy-Vee. A couple younger kids rode this with their parents, but another youngster tackled the 52 mile route!
Some older folks enjoyed the ride too, not just the 7 mile route but a sturdy 75-yr-old was one of the first to finish the 52 mile route. (It's not a race, but try telling him that--or the young man who eventually caught him.)
The folks who rode the 27 mile route mostly stayed in a pack and swarmed the pancake breakfast at the end. "Maybe we could have a special table in the shade for the bicyclists next year," one of the event organizers speculated. I know the bicyclists would appreciate the shade, and everyone else might appreciate keeping the sweaty, smelly bicyclists at a separate table.
I started out on the 52 mile route. I visited with the volunteers at each SAG stop. It's been a cool summer, so I wasn't used to the heat and humidity, and at the 3rd SAG stop I opted to ride in a SAG car the rest of the way. We picked up another rider on the way who also had problems with the heat.
There were two highlights of the ride for me. The first was pointing out the old Lincoln School on Wabash St. It was the school for blacks when the schools were segregated. It's an important historical landmark, although sadly it is not on the city or national historical registry. I led the ride, but jumped off my bike at the school to point it out to the other riders.
The second highlight was writing one check to FLATS and another check for the Community Fireworks Show. Registration for this ride is only $10, which includes admission to the Pancake Breakfast, and the Pancake Breakfast benefits the Community Fireworks Show. Thanks to our volunteers and our sponsors we are able to keep registration low.
Our sponsors this year were Hy-Vee, Kirksville Family Medicine, and North Missouri Sports Medicine.
Our volunteers and partners were Kirksville Area Motion, Forest Lake Area Trail System, Pedals & Spokes, Kirksville Multisport, Missouri Bicycle & Pedestrian Federation, the Food Bank, and the City of Kirksville/ Tourism.