So just how difficult is this ride? Should a beginning cyclist try this?

Yes! The Cottonwood 200 is a ride, not a race—cyclists of all ages can complete it with the different route options (both gravel and road) we’ll have available this year. You’ll have the option to do shorter routes or take a rest day if needed, as we’ll be based in Council Grove for the whole weekend. If you’re up to the challenge of riding longer routes, we’ll have those available as well.

What about the hills/elevation changes?

While Kansas does not have mountains, the heart of this ride goes through the Flint Hills, which can be surprising in their gradient and length. In addition, Kansas weather can add difficulty – late May can be hot, and there is always the strong possibility of wind. While the exact direction and strength of wind is impossible to predict, it is likely that you will have at least one day with a headwind and one with a refreshing tailwind.

Is this a good training for other rides later in the season?

Yes! The 3-day length of the Cottonwood 200 makes it a perfect warm up ride for those planning week-long rides such as the Bike Across Kansas and other cross-state rides. Besides the physical training, the Cottonwood 200 can help you test gear and refine your packing list. The ride’s terrain and date on the calendar also makes it a great training ride for those planning participation in other Flint Hills rides such as the Dirty Kanza. Gravel routes are an option on all three days of the 2020 ride.

How many people will be on this ride?

The Cottonwood 200 is limited to 300 participants due to the accommodations available in Council Grove.

Where and when does the ride start?

The ride will start Saturday morning, May 23, 2020 from Council Grove High School.

I can’t ride all three days. Are one and two day options available?

Yes! Both one and two day options are available if you can’t ride the whole weekend. See our register page for more information.

Where do I park and is it safe to leave a vehicle?

You may park your vehicles at our home base (Council Grove High School) throughout the weekend. It is a safe place to leave your vehicle and will give you easy access should you need to drive anywhere throughout the weekend.

What should I pack?

The suggested packing list on the Ride Guide page has a list of recommended items.

What are the overnight accommodations?

Participants will stay overnight Saturday and Sunday in the air-conditioned gym at Council Grove High School.  This is “indoor camping” – bring a sleeping bag and air mattress or other padding. Those wanting an outdoor experience can camp on the grounds of the high school, while still having access to the restrooms, hot showers, and a common area. Those wanting other accommodations can find lodging options at the Council Grove Dining and Lodging website.

Will there be a place to charge my phone and lights?

Yes. Charging stations will be available at the high school in Council Grove.

Are non-riding participants welcome? Can they volunteer?

Yes! Non-riding partners and friends are welcome. You can purchase extra meal tickets and/or t-shirts for them. If they have some free time and are willing to volunteer during the ride, we would welcome their help! Please contact us at kvbctopeka@yahoo.com for more information on volunteer opportunities.

Can I buy a t-shirt or jersey to commemorate the ride?

T-shirts are included in the full, three-day entry fee. You may purchase extras (especially if you don’t plan to do the full three days) for $18. T-shirt orders must be received by April 30, 2020.

Jerseys are produced for each five year anniversary of the ride and the next jersey will be available in 2021.

What meals will be available?

During the ride, we will have SAG (rest) stops with food and water available to riders. There will also be gas stations along the routes where you can purchase additional items. We are also planning some catered meals that are included with registration, so stay tuned for more information on that. If you are interested in Council Grove’s area restaurants, check out the Council Grove Dining and Lodging website.

Further questions? Email us at kvbctopeka@yahoo.com.