I'm wondering how a cyclist from Kansas knows that he's a strong climber. He surely didn't figure that out in Kansas!
There's two kinds of climbs the touring cyclist needs to worry about: (1) 20% grades for a quarter of a mile (e.g., in the Ozarks, New England or Appalachians) and (2) 6 to 8% grades for 30 straight miles (e.g., the Rockies).
Its obvious you have never ridden in Kansas. Believe it or not, Kansas is not flat. The eastern third of the state is mostly rolling hills. The western half is undulating. 1/4 to 1/2 mile long rises and then about the same declines. Over and over and over and over. Eastern half of Colorado is like that too. Always rolling up and down mile after mile. 1 mile long climb, 1 mile long descent, 3 miles flat, repeat over and over. Bigger hills in eastern Colorado than in western Kansas.
You will have to tell me where these 30 mile long climbs in the Rockies are. I've ridden all over Colorado and never found any climbs that long. All the mountain climbs I found in Colorado were about 7 to 10 miles long. Then you go over the peak and go down for about the same distance. Never ever 30 straight miles of climbing.