Kansas Waugh


What’s your name, nickname, age, birthplace, hometown?
Kansas Waugh | Kans, Kazi, Kaz, Bubbles, Mango, Vog, Spidey | 33 | Born Jan 27, 1976 in Boise, ID | Grew up on the ranch near Eskridge, Kansas.   

Favorite phenomenon?
Drinking water when utterly parched.
Eating fruit when famished.
Laying down to sleep when completely exhausted.
The sheer size and power of the sun. Patterns in nature. Laughter. The ability of humans to communicate with language. 
How do you like to tell stories?
In person, in the eyes. Words and composition, for sure.

Pivotal moments in life?
Birth of youngest brother. Realizing that multiplication is one number times another. Finding a bright, white Schwinn World on Christmas day. First day of newly changed elementary school.  First day of High School. Moving to Portland, OR. Joining a mutant bike club. Meeting my love. Moving to NYC. My first USCF bike race. The birth of my daughter.

Why/how did you start riding?
My brothers and my parents and I lived on a ranch near the Flint Hills, in northeastern Kansas. My brothers and I would ride dirt bikes on rough dirt roads and around our gravel driveway, building ramps and racing bikes against the go-cart and riding lawn mower. At some point I saw road bikes and became obsessed. In addition to the Schwinn that Christmas, I also got a Coca-Cola racing cap and sweatshirt featuring a huge illustration of a road racer decked out in a Coca-Cola jersey. Totally unclear to this day how that happened, but there’s a picture somewhere of me in both items, standing with the bike. I was 12. I got pissed because it was deep winter and I couldn’t ride. Lame. But Spring came and I started riding, a mile to the neighbor’s place and back. In the summer I rode for the first time to town, 10 miles away, where I met my dad. By the end of the summer, I was allowed to ride to Topeka, about 30 miles, and that was a pivotal moment, arriving at my friend’s house in an urban neighborhood.

Family life, or home life; kids, wife, girlfriend, pets?
Beautiful wife and daughter (age 1).

What’s your special talent/gift to the world?
I think you’d have to ask my wife.

What’s the continental project mean to you?
Hard riding, pushing through, finishing strong, going fast, in a group, sharing the euphoric experiences on the road and at rest. Sharing is big. Selfishness and selflessness balanced.

Why are you interested in documenting rides?
Routes, for sure. I’m mostly amped on sending people out to experience the rides for themselves, but sharing stories (in all ways) is how to start the fire.

What do you want a riding guidebook to feature (what’s missing from what currently exists out there), and how will you contribute to that end goal?
The tiny, significant, unique things. I would experience and then recommend/dissuade. DON’T order the BLT at the deli at mile 70. DO stop for an empanada (with red sauce-ask for it) at the left turn at mile 90.

What’s style mean to you?
I think the best styles – my favorites — are those which are displayed by individuals engaged in substantive, REAL acts. The surface can be painted, but if there’s nothing significant in the core, it’s just paint. Not everything you see glitter is gold.

Who’s your favorite local rider and why?
Ohh. Lot’s of guys come to mind. Hmm. I gotta say Paul Rauen. Just doesn’t stop. Doesn’t race a lot, but doesn’t stop riding all year–it’s a deep love of riding. Powerful, like I imagine a weathered Belgian Kermesse racer, but then he shows this fantastic grace and handling. He’s building bikes now too, with deep focus and dedication. Rides on a tandem with his lady. Goes on rides with his family.

Where in the world would you like to ride next and why or what group ride if you could do any would you do?
Cols of Italy, roads out of Zurich, Basque region, Col d’ Aspin. Would love to ride Classics routes in early spring. Nasty. Tour Mongolia with my family. Wabaunsee County: Eskridge to Alma to Keene. Would ride anywhere with the Continental.
You need anyone reading this to know…?
To get it out of the way: Yes! Most of those scars on my legs are bike related! (one is from a road flare, though)

Why cycling and not, running or shot put or speed skating?
C’mon son.

Your favorite ride/moment ever, just the details?
…Well, it happened rather recently. Continental Ride from Laramie to Saratoga, WY. Started late in the day. My riding had been up and down for days for some reason. Felt ok on the flat approach to the mountains, even in a torrential rain storm that rushed up after we watched it approach for miles ahead of us. Felt less than so-so on the longer climbs. Was seeing nature everywhere that seemed extremely remote and strange — a wandering moose, a lone, dead porcupine on the side of the road, silent swarms of mosquitoes. There were very few other people or cars. Very quiet. By the time we reached a stopping point, looking down at Bellamy Lake and up at a small mountain range, the sun was setting and it was getting cold. We still had a ways to go, so we descended. Fast and cold. A long time tucked, snot running, feeling the slightest drop in speed and then pedaling until we reached another stop point, where we grabbed a little more food and drink for the last leg. That’s when it really kicked off. Began to feel a high burn of strength and focus. Started singing out loud to myself. Hit a dirt road. Felt fantastic. Flatted. Pulled over, changed it, told everyone to keep going–it was about to get really dark. Dave C had his car, fortunately, so I asked if he would drive behind. Started it back up. From there on out, it was just other-worldly. Night was falling behind, and I was riding into a burning red and yellow sunset in the West. The plains opened up on all sides with fields and mountain prairie. Going as hard as I possibly could and felt like I was flying. Didn’t (couldn’t) look at the computer. The road was well lit for only 20 feet in front, but all chips were in–just kept the throttle at full and reacted to whatever appeared. Went through a section that appeared to be from medieval old-Europe, a mud road worn by wagon wheels and cows walking single file. Rolled up and over, down, up and over, and would loose the back wheel for a split second then recover, stand, and ratchet it up. Birds were diving into view and then pulling up and zipping out into the dark. At one point I flew past a group of deer standing in the ditch not 3 feet away. It lasted a second. Suddenly a cow grate appeared at a fence crossing and I hopped and cleared it. Then another, trying to leap as little as necessary, remembering that I’ll go faster on the ground. The road turned to pavement and in the otherwise pitch black landscape ahead, a town’s lights appeared nestled in the hills near the horizon. Pushed harder. Huge potholes appeared in the patchy road. Climbed out on top of the tallest hill overlooking the town and drained the tank all the way in, until I was rolling under dim street lights and pulling onto the sleepy main street. Easily. Easily the best riding experience to this day.

What’s your job all about, why does it fit you?
Kinda rough question to follow the previous one. But, to answer it: my job is about, among other things, growing relationships, thinking creatively, organizing time and work, and meeting expectations. I’m into all those things, I’d say.

What’s your program, like who and what and where is your world?
My world  is my wife and daughter, at the core. My own, internal world? It’s naturally intertwined. If it was like an onion, there are a million layers, but after my immediate family is my extended family, my friends. My interests? How I spend time? Cycling and riding is life-long deep. From racing at 5:00 AM to cleaning chainrings quietly at night. But there should be more hours in the day and night. I would have more time to translate Greek or play violin. I would get back in the shop and weld the new bike I have in mind–the one with the stereo system and BBQ grill. But I’m not complaining. It will happen when I will it and DO it.

Where you live and why it suits you?
Brooklyn, NY, in a perfect neighborhood for our growing family. I have brothers who live within walking distance. There’s good fresh food nearby, and friends can visit easily. There’s a park at the end of our street with a pier and a rugged little beach (ha). There’s good coffee around the corner. Our neighbors are wonderful and interesting and there are children of various ages all around. I also get to ride my bike to work every day across the Brooklyn Bridge. Not bad. Actually fantastic.

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