Yesterday morning I had the pleasure of taking part in the Tour de BBQ with a buddy of mine. Tour de BBQ is a 62 mile bicycle ride, benefiting the University of Kansas & Children's Mercy Cancer Centers. I love riding my bicycle, I love eating BBQ, and I really hate cancer (I mean really, really hate cancer, I don't think you fully understand the hate I have toward cancer), so this ride seemed like a natural event to take part in. It was extremely cold at the start of the race and didn't warm up much as the day went on, but it was a fantastic ride anyway!
A 62 mile ride, 6 BBQ stops, 8 hours to complete (although we did not need nearly that long).
It was 39 degrees when I walked out my door and got on my bike to ride down to the Power and Light District (where the ride began) at 6:40. All I could think about when I was zooming down the hill, and the wind was so cold that it was making my eyes water, was "I wonder how much convincing it would take to talk Dan (my buddy) into just coming over and hanging out instead of riding today", but our hatred for cancer prevailed.
The ride began a tad late (at about 7:15 AM, which does not change this post at all, but wanted to make not of it so no one judged us for riding the first few miles super slowly).
The Stack (Mile 10; 7:40 AM): The Stack, formerly Smokestack BBQ (started by the same family as Jack Stack), provided BBQ chicken wings. The Stack is now under new ownership that has completely overhauled the entire menu from the restaurant's Smokestack days. I have yet to visit this restaurant, but I can tell you that their chicken wings are awesome! I am not a huge BBQ chicken wing guy, if I am going to be having wings, I prefer them buffalo style, but the stack is working on changing that. The rub, combined with the small bit of caramelized sauce on the outside of the wing, were perfect. The wing was juicy and if I return to The Stack anytime soon, it will be hard for me to order anything but the BBQ wings.
Gates (Mile 15; 8:00 AM): I do not know what Gates provided for the ride, as they either forgot that they were providing BBQ for the ride, or we just rode too fast and got there before the BBQ was ready. Lots of "Hi, may I help you?!" jokes were made and Gates received no red star from Tour de BBQ (these jokes will only makes sense to those who frequent Gates, if you don't get them, go to Gates and you will understand).
Jack Stack (Mile 23.4; 8:34 AM): It is a well known fact that I think that Jack Stack has the best beans EVER (not just in KC), I would swim in a pool full of Jack Stack beans if I could, but today the Jack Stack sausage was the star of the show. The sausage was great, as always, it is no secret that Jack Stack has great BBQ. If you have not been to Jack Stack, join the 21st century and go give it a try.
The Burnt End (Mile 33.25; 9:20 AM): I had not tried The Burnt End before Saturday, whom ironically did not supply their namesake burnt ends, but instead provided shredded chicken sliders. Their shredded chicken was very tender, pickles were very good, and the sauce was a tomato based sauce (not dissimilar to Jack Stack's). I would definitely recommend adding The Burnt End to any SOJOCOer's BBQ rotation.
R.J.'s Bob-be-que Shack (Mile 55; 11:00 AM): Yet another stop on the route that I had not tried before, R.J.'s was surprisingly awesome! The pork sliders were great, crunchy ends on the tender strands of tender pork combined with a tangy sauce (my favorite sauce of any of the stops) was a perfect combination. I will definitely be returning to R.J.'s with my wife SOON! Also of mention: everyone at every stop was as nice as could be, but the people at R.J.'s were in a league of their own (it is unknown if they were R.J.'s employees or Tour de BBQ volunteers, but just wanted to make not of it).
The Afterparty (Mile 62; 11:45 AM):
The Ride Home:
After getting cold from being sedentary while eating my final BBQ, having a couple beers, and watching the band, my muscles had time to get stiff from lactic acid settling in. Combine this with a full belly and an uphill ride home; the ride of less than a mile from the Power and Light District to my condo was much harder than the previous 62 miles I had ridden that day.
All of the BBQ that I had was great! The roads were not closed for the ride, but the route was reasonably marked. It was extremely cold, but we had a good ride anyways. I would recommend taking part in this ride next year to anyone who loves riding bikes, eating BBQ, or hates cancer. They even have 15 mile and 35 mile rides for anyone who is not quite as intense as my buddy Dan and I are.