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 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 Unbound Gravel. Gravel routes are an option on all three days of the 2023 ride.

What bike should I bring? Are e-bikes permitted?

There will be both paved and gravel routes, so the bike you bring will depend on which routes you’d like to ride. Because we will be based in Council Grove the whole weekend, you are welcome to bring more than one bike and ride both paved and gravel.

E-bikes are permitted as well. You will be able to charge them at the high school, but plan ahead if you’re riding a longer route and need another battery mid-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 27, 2023 from Council Grove High School. The high school will be open after 6 pm Friday evening for those arriving the night before.

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 your registration options on BikeReg 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. Those bringing RVs will need to park on the concrete. Please note that there will not be hookups for your RV.

What should I pack?

The suggested packing list on the Packing List page has a list of recommended items.

What are the overnight accommodations?

Participants will be able to stay overnight Friday, 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 Lodging website.

Will there be a place to charge my devices?

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. Volunteers receive a free ride t-shirt and a catered meal for each day they volunteer. Let us know if you can help!

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

T-shirts are included in the full, three-day entry fee. You may also purchase extras (especially if you don’t plan to do the full three days). All t-shirt orders must be received by May 1, 2023. T-shirts can be ordered during the registration process if it is before this date.

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 catered meals on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday 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 website.

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