Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Dirty Kanza 2011 recap...

The big day has come and gone. Although I didn't reach my goal of 100 miles, I did reach part of it. That was meeting the time goal and average speed, which was 4 hours or better to the first checkpoint at an average speed of 14.5 or better. I was 3:48 ride time and 14.8 average speed.

There were a few factors in my demise...I wasn't hydrated to the level I should have been at the start. I decided to sit in with the lead group for the first hour, which I did, only to realize that it was a mistake when I finally came off...we were flat out killing it...I had an 18.7 avg. speed when I came off...That's when I knew that my day was gonna get really LOOOOOOoooooong...Shortly thereafter, I'm rolling along and I'm riding with a teammate who was smarter than me in the approach to this melee, he points off in the distance and says that's where we're headed, "Texaco" hill, it's a 3 mile climb...hmmm...

The way I was feeling at that point a 3 mile climb was not what I wanted to I spin along finally reaching this climb, and realize that I will need to put the Truth in the granny was that steep and loose. I finally reach the top and look around as I ride on...I was taken by the beauty and vast expanse of green that stretched in all directions and of this place I was riding.

I rolled along making sure I drank and ate on a regular basis, groups of riders would come by and I would jump on to their train as long as I could and then back to spinning along by myself...

Many conversations were had with myself. Most riders had ipods going, I chose and I choose to not ride with music, but to face the mental battle with one's self head on...this day was one for the ages...

As the miles rolled by, some faster than others, I would check the mileage. When I reached 50 miles in, I got a small lift...I'm getting close to a much needed break. 10ish to go to the first checkpoint...

Then the course makes a left turn, now headed west into an ever increasing SW headwind. The gravel road I was on wasn't bad, a false flat with a quartering headwind...I push on. With about 8 miles to go, the "okay" gravel road turns to shit!!! It was soft with no discernible line...welcome to hell...this continued on for what seemed like an eternity to a right turn where the wind was giving a much needed push and the surface was back to something a little more friendly...about 2 miles later I roll into the first checkpoint...

As I refueled to prepare for the next leg, I realized that I was pretty much dehydrated, so I decided to sit and drink until I had to pee. After about 30 minutes of waiting for number one to come around, I decided to pull the pin, I was a little bummed about it, but was okay with it. It was 2 hours later when number 1 finally came it was a good decision, because I knew that if I took off for the next checkpoint and fell to pieces out in the middle of nowhere, it would be a long time before I would get any assistance. It's better to fight and run away, to live to fight another day. I don't regret pulling the pin at the first checkpoint, which was 58 miles in.

What did I take from this bout of mental and physical testing? A new respect for those who compete in these events and even more for those who have the guts and will to keep going to the finish!!! Will I give the Dirty Kanza 200 another try...I seriously doubt it!!

What follows are the lyrics to a song called "The Badlands" by Metal Church. It's a favorite song of mine and fits the DK 200 to perfection. I changed a few of the lyrics to make it more fitting to the ride. Anytime Flint hills is used it replaces either the word wasteland or minor changes...

I ride alone, the Flint hills that I cross
Will take another life, we'll take another loss
I feel a dry wind, dust is in my eyes
The Arctic cold at night, the earth, it tells me lies

God in heaven, my only friend
Will I live to see my journey's end?
As the world awakens me so hard, my values have been changed
I make a promise to myself: Never again
A dusty godforsaken path, endless to my dismay
I know these are the Flint hills, somehow I'll find my way

No more paradise, no more soothing rain
All the sacrifice, the pain is all the same
Still I'm pushing onward, alone I can't deny
My presence fills the Flint hills, my spirit never dies

Will these lonely miles ever end?
Will I live to see my journey's end?
As the world awakens me so hard, my values have been changed
I make a promise to myself: Never again
A dusty godforsaken path, endless to my dismay
I know these are the Flint Hills, somehow I'll find my way

The vultures that circle, cloud the empty sky,
Patiently waiting, they wait for me to die
Tortured and beaten, blistered by the sun
Forceful and heartless, have the Flint hills won?

At one point a turkey vulture circled above me for a short time...this song popped into my head...


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