BY JIM MISUNAS
LARNED — Dr. David Sanger practices what he preaches at Pawnee Valley Community Hospital.
Dr. Sanger, who practices family medicine at Pawnee Valley, signed up for Biking Across Kansas three years ago. He’s known as the biking Messiah for Larned, recruiting several family members for the 505-mile ride across Kansas. Larned is represented by nine full-time riders and several part-time riders.
The 2015 Biking Across Kansas ride journeyed from Jetmore to Larned, a 46-mile trip that ended at Larned Middle School for an overnight rest Monday. Many riders stopped at Fort Larned National Historic Site along the route.
“I knew about Biking Across Kansas for years and was it a goal of mine to participate,” Dr. Sanger said. “I wanted to motivate people to get in better shape. It’s been all good. We’ve had new riders every year.”
Dr. Sanger said he’s been impressed by how local riders have improved their fitness level from year-to-year.
“The people who have done several years in a row, I’ve been amazed at their improvement,” he said. “They are cycling faster and longer. Exercise is making a key difference in the quality of their lives. It’s great to see what amazing shape the riders are in.”
Weather conditions have been ideal for the first three days.
“We had a cheering group waiting for us to pass by,” Dr. Sanger said. “It’s definitely warm. The wind has been friendly so far.”
Larned riders include Dru Dougan, Cristina Goodwin, Darin Goodwin, Deana Peterson, Dr. David Sanger, Katelynn Sanger, Stacy Sanger, Dr. Terry Smith, Rachel Webster, Ryan Webster, Mark Slattery, Jeremiah Slattery and Kathy Tankersley. Debbie Tomlinson served on the support staff crew.
The 90-degree temperatures and light wind Monday was a sharp contrast from last year’s heavy rain, which caused a few injuries and subsequent trips to Pawnee Valley Community Hospital. Dr. Sanger was riding at 7 mph last year.
“It was the most riders they ever picked up in BAK history,” Dr. Sanger said.
Dr. Sanger also serves as medical director for Biking Across Kansas. He helps develop policy and his advice may be sought for a particular incident. But bike officials are quick to call 911 in case of an emergency.
The 41st Biking Across Kansas 505-mile ride started at the Kansas-Colorado line featuring 900 bicyclists and support staff. The initial 49-mile route ran from Johnson City to Lakin Saturday.
BAK continues through Hudson, Inman, Marion, Cottonwood Falls, Strong City and Osage City. Overnight stops will be staged at Sterling, Goessel, Council Grove, and Baldwin City.
The cyclists’ final night together will be in Baldwin City Friday. The following morning they will cycle to the Missouri border near Louisburg with a picnic.
Great Bend’s riders include Donna Krug, John Krug, Dean Chism, Robert Behrens, Dick Friedeman, Jay Knudson, Mike Kuharik, Pat Kuharik, Anthony Martinez, Alva McHenry, Kim McHenry, Donald Ronck, Gloria Siefkes, John Siefkes and Derek Vonada.
Other riders feature Claflin’s Rhiannon Becker and Joan Klug, Pawnee Rock’s Jared Gingerich, Hudson’s Shannon Bauer and Stafford’s Lu Brister, Marie Moore and Jan Turner.
Riders range in age from nine to 88 years old. Riders are enrolled from Ireland and 36 states, including New York, Florida, New Mexico, Washington, and California.
For information on Biking Across Kansas 2015, visit www.bak.org.
Thursday—Goessel-Council Grove (74)
Friday—Council Grove-Baldwin City (80)
Saturday—Baldwin City-Missouri (41)