I finished my 4th Dirty Kanza 200 inEmporia,Kansas this past weekend. It was to the biggest fanfare yet, but not sure it was the most satisfying. I did achieve my goals that I set back in January felt as good as the first time I rode the Flint Hills.
Saturday morning I rolled to the Granada Theatre withChadfor the start. Close to 425 riders were prepared to set out on an adventure that many won’t forget. The Routine Leg Work’s (RLW) Team lined up close to the front. After some start line greeting of friends, along with some laughs we headed out in the Flint Hills ofKansas.
We were charging hard down some road and for some reason I lifted my head as the group was passing a left turn onto E road. I yelled at my teammate Adam so we could get back on course. We quickly U-turned back to the missed turned and continued on our way. At this point, we met back up with the rest of the RLW team to head south towards Texaco Hill. On this section of road, I reached down to grab my bottle and it slipped right though my hands. As I turned to see if I should stop and pick it up, I saw a huge flash of water and someone yelled “don’t bother”. We sped on. I lost a two hour bottle of energy in one quick slip, which I paid dearly for later.
We continued our quick pace with a few stops for bladder relief and to increase tire pressure. I did make one unscheduled stop because my crank just froze up. A mild panic attack came over me as I thought my day was over. After a couple of tense minutes on the side of the road, I figured my lock ring had come loose. I hand tightened it and off we went.
We rolled into Check Point 1 (CP1) roughly 45 minutes behind our scheduled time. We were met by my lovely Wife and my awesome children. I grab some food, downed some water, and tightened my lock ring. Jason and Lee, from GS Tenzing and Austinites, rolled out with us. The pace was blistering as we were trying to make up some time lost during the first leg and CP. After dropping Lee, I could feel the effort. Then Jason dropped off, I knew I was about to implode. I felt strong for a good part of the second leg but that bottle lost during leg 1 got me behind in my nutrition. The last 15 miles to CP2 were just an effort to minimize loses and suffer as the RLW boys were still rocking it.
I rolled into CP2 just shattered. I had two choices: soldier on alone or try and hold the pace set for by my teammates. I opted to go it alone and grabbed my resupplies before heading out for some lonely miles trying to recover. I ate 4 GUs in an hour and half waiting for the RLW crew to catch up to me. Once the legs and head came around, I put my head down and pedaled.
I made CP3 in better shape than I left CP2. With only 37 miles toEmporia, I left with some hope that I could actually meet my 15 hour goal. This last leg was un-eventful as I just pedaled and kept checking over my shoulder for the RLW pain train. The two climbs challenged the legs but the spectacular views at the top made me realize why this event is so cool. I could have done without the smoldering wheat field a few miles from town, but rolling into the town ofEmporiawithout the aid of lights was simply amazing.
Will I be back? I have been the first Single Speeder across the line (2009), finished forth in the Single Speed Category twice (2008 & 2012), and finished in on a geared bike (2010). After four finishes, I will re-evaluate what is left for me to accomplish in the Flint Hills. Tandem anyone?
Memories that will last with me from this event:
-Sitting at the Pastapalooza with my family, thinking the gentleman across the table looked familiar but couldn’t place him. It was Bob Ostrom, an ex-Violet Crown member, whom I raced with inAustin.
-Riding with Lee Rusk and Jason Rivers, also both ex-Violet Crowners, out of CP1. It was good catching up on theAustinrace scene.
-The guy who was hallucinating greasy pizzas rolling into CP3.
-Catching up with my gravel grinding buddies: Skip, Steve F, Dennis, Adam, Steve M, Corey,Troy, and many more.
-Meeting some new people: Mark, Bill, Rusty, and many more.
-Riding with the Routine Leg Works team if only for the first 100 miles. They absolutely rocked out on the course.
-Adele songs echoing in my head – Thanks Kids.
-Custom Raven Bicycle Werks CX bike
-Single Speed running at 39×16
-Vittoria Randonneur Cross Pro tires
Thanks for reading,