BY JUDI TABLER
While at an auxiliary meeting a few days ago, Dru Dougan stopped to visit with a group standing near me.
My first compulsion was to ask her if I could feel her thighs! She stood about a foot from me and while she was visiting with a group of women I asked her THAT question.
Of course, I was being capricious, but when she didn’t answer, and didn’t seem to care, I felt her rock hard legs.
“Yup,” that’s exactly what I thought”, I thought to myself.
Dru is 63 years old, a mother, a wife, and a grandmother. She is trim, and cute, and full of sparkle. And on top of that, she just completed a 513-mile bike ride in the latest Bike Across Kansas event this year.
About two years ago, Dr. David Sanger, the organizer and motivator of BAK participation in Larned, invited several on Facebook to take the local spin class.
Dru thought, “Sure, why not?” and even then wasn’t sure she could do it. Spin class is strenuous and challenging. But Dru was willing to try. She had been running in 5K races, and this sport was beginning to take a toll on her joints. Bicycling is much easier on the body. She took the class. And she did just fine.
That was the start.
BAK was next.
One always feels some apprehension when faced with a new challenge, and the best way to conquer those feelings is to begin training.
With Dr. Sanger as the coach, the Larned group would take long bike rides to gear up for the BAK week. One day, the group biked to Hays. Just a few 60 miles, that’s all! Those training times prepared the mind and the muscles for the anticipated challenge ahead.
The first year, Dru signed up as a part-time rider in the BAK,. But with the encouragement of Dr. Sanger, this year she took the plunge and decided to go for the entire 499 miles total.
She wasn’t quite sure she could do the whole enchilada, but Dr. Sanger assured her that “If you can’t do the entire ride, it’s fine. You are under no obligation if you decide to only do a part of the ride”.
In other words, “go for it” he was implying.
So she did.
“My first thought when I decided to peddle across Kansas was how will I do my hair and my make-up every day?”
My mother even asked me how I would keep my hair looking good. Of course, you don’t keep up with the make-up after a few days of cycling, and the hair goes ballistic under the helmet, but I found a little cap that I would put on my head after pulling the helmet off. It covered my hair, and I was happy with that!”
(Writer’s comment: If there’s a will, there’s a way!”)
The trip is 499 miles from start-to-finish.
But in order to get a Century Patch, the biker must ride 100 miles in a single day. The day that the route was 86 miles, she and some others mapped out a 14-mile route at the end of the distance to make 100 miles that day.
Now she was officially qualified for the “Century Patch”. There were four who accomplished this feat — Dr. Terry Smith, Shawn Harding, Dr. David Sanger, and Dru!
Dru commented that every one involved in the BAK event does not necessarily ride every day, nor finish the 499 mile trek.
Many BAK participants are first-time riders. Some are very experienced. One can sign up for just a day, or three days, or whatever works.
Everyone cannot BAK the entire time, but anyone who has trained, paid the enrollment fee, and gets out there every day gets credit for participation. This participation takes nothing away from their efforts and accomplishment.
To me, this stamina, spirit, and enthusiasm is contagious. It is so totally out of my range of comprehending, but I feel much admiration and respect for each Larned participant who pedaled their heart out in this sometimes grueling endeavor.
“For example, one day the wind blew at 30 mile gusts, and only a few rode that day., she explained.
It sounded brutal to this reporter.
But then, I, Annie, am a wimp with flabby thighs!!
“A Woman’s View” is Judi Tabler’s reflection of her experiences and events. She is a wife, mother, writer, teacher, grandmother, and even a great grandmother. Contact Annie at pprarieannie@gmailcom.