Monday, June 2, 2008

Dirty Kanza 200

Looks pretty don't it? Well don't let the beauty fool you. This part of the country can be very unforgiving.
Last Tuesday I get a call from my old buddy Jim Craig and he says Filbe has to back out of Dirty Kanza and would like to know if I would like to join him on the trip. My reply your nucking futz! That's 200 miles of gravel and shatty roads I don't think I have that kind of miles in my legs. He told me to think about it and let him know Wednesday. Begin thinking.
I remember reading something a while back about losing interest in this sport sign up for a event that will scare the hell out of you. I had checked into this ride in the winter but couldn't make myself pull the trigger(pussy) Here was my chance at a really tuff challenge and I was thinking about it!! To hell with thinking I have never thought anything through in my whole 32yrs on the planet.
I call Jim. " Hey I'll go, hell it's nothing but a long ride in the country."

The morning started at 4:30am for a bit of food and then off the the start for some pre-race info. Bad news they might push back the start till 8:00am due to bad weather large hail and lighting. Not good. Then they say it looks like it might be OK to go so have a good ride and have fun. Oh yeah and watch the skies.
First check point was around 46 miles not to bad to get things warmed up. The town Sheriff gave us a escort out of town as we all told jokes and talked about just going for coffee.
Once we hit the first gravel road the race was on. And I mean on like we were only going 40 something miles. Those of us just looking to finish this crazy event just let them go and enjoyed each others company. The roads in Kansas are not at all like the ones here in Nebraska they are rough rocky and pretty narrow at times. I was glad I opted for the mt bike.
At about mile 20 something we can see a cow in the road just trotting along. We all thought this is pretty cool the cows can just wander where ever they want. Our group decides to move to the left side of the road and just fly right by. Yeah, nice try narrow road ditch on one side limestone wall on the other cow in middle. A pissed off scared cow. She turns broad side and blocks the road. We slow and just the she turns and drops her head, charges and SMACK right into the front of Jim's bike. So we all make noise and she scampers up the little limestone wall and falls down. As we gather ourselves up and a quick check of Jim's ride we motor on.(c-ya in the meat case cow). After one flat we rolled in to the first check point two hours before the cut off. All is good.
Refuel and restock and head out for the longest let of the day around 70 something miles. This was a tuff leg. Almost all climbing and the sun had made its way out and it was getting hot and humid. Yucky!!

Now we had a group of 5 of us Jim, Ron, Steve, Oliver, and myself. The plan for this part was to just keep hydrated and eat. And work together in the wind. There was a few water crossings to go around or through but most of the time it was going up. It was hard for me to not race up the hills. To just spin up and a slow pace really was getting to me. But the Veterans of the race said you must "spin to win." Jim was having some trouble after a bit and told us just to ride on but be smart and safe. He was starting to bonk. Steve said he would stay with Jim and make sure he made it to the 100 mark OK.
After a couple of wrong turns the 3 of us Oliver, Ron and myself rolled into Cottonwood falls 2.5 hrs ahead of the 4:00pm cut off. This is halfway point 100 miles. Well a bit more actually but none the less my first gravel century in the books. During the last few miles Oliver asked me how long of a break I planned on taking. I thought just long enough to pee eat drink and pee again and maybe eat. About 5 Min's. He said how about 20Min's? Well OK if we have that kind of time. And we did. After finding some much needed shade and food I seemed to start asking my self are you sure your up for another 100+ miles kid? While pondering that very question one of the race volunteers was loading up and heading back to the finish. He asks how I was feeling. I told him was feeling pretty good really. But my mind was starting to mess with me a bit. He told me to get back to the car and get that bike and start peddling you have rested long enough. Any longer and I would have pulled the plug. Just 2 more 50 mile rides left. Just 2 more trips to Beatrice. Not a problem I told myself.
Leg number 3 50 mile loop around Cottonwood falls. I met with Oliver and Ron at the Casey's
filled up on water and headed for the hills. We only got about 2 miles from town when 3 riders are stopped. " everything OK?" we ask.
"Yep, we changed our minds we are heading back. Calling it quits"
I sat to myself son of a b*#$@ I didn't need to here that from them I have been having 2ND thoughts already. But Oliver and Ron counted on me to do this 50 with them. At the 6 mile mark Oliver says something is wrong with my peddle. Just then his crank arm comes off!! Shat! FOOK! and other words were said. But a #8 Allen has us rolling. 10 miles I flat. Damn it to hell!! Only a 50 mile leg and we are having a tuff time keeping it together. Fix the flat and we are on our way again.
Now I must tell you that at about mile 125 I'm starting to melt down mentally. People are dropping out and I getting hungry and really tired. time for mental drills.
Check your shoes, drink, how is your gear, drink, whats 7+5?. Count fence posts. drink. talk out loud. I was doing whatever possible to keep my mind in the game. By this time I told Ron and Oliver to go on and I would see them back at Cottonwood Falls. After alot of mental drills and 25 more miles I rolled back into check point #4.
I had made it only 50 miles left to go. No choice you are going to finish the Dirty Kanza 200!! As I met back up with Ron and Oliver, I saw Steve wandering over toward me with 2 slices of pizza. He asked if I wanted one. Are you freaking kidding me right now!! A slice. Hell no I want a whole goddamn pizza! But he gave me a slice and I filled me supplies bought 3 more slices and headed out into the darkness, for the final leg of the journey.
The final leg was amazing rolling hills and some long down hill sections. Which are alot of fun in the dark. Another guy joined our group his name was Steve. This was his first Dirty K also. I was glad I met up with all of these guy's and get to ride with them all day, but when the dark came my ol cateye 3 led was going to make hard to see the course markings. These fellas had some serious candle power! We sailed through most of the leg with little trouble. I flatted again and one wrong turn that was quickly righted when we saw bike lights coming toward us. It was Leslie. One tough woman. Did the Dirty K last year and doing it again. She said she is getting ready for RAAM in 2 years. NutZ! The group pretty much stayed together for most of it but Leslie dropped off after a while. the 3 of us saw the lights of town and pace lined it all the way to the finish. I crossed the line in 19hrs and something. I finished!! I met my goal.
It was around 1:00 am and the 'D' street gang was all hanging out chil'n drink'n beer and cheering us on. They had be finished long before us. But it was really cool for them to be hang'n out at the finish to cheer for us. Thanks Cory, Matt, Jeff, Matt, Butch!!!! and who ever else was there. You guys are a great inspiration for us newbies!!!! (photo taken by cornbread)
Well there ya have it. The ultimate race recap. Print it off and take it with you on next years Dirty Kanza. That way you will have some thing to read while your peddling. See ya next year Dirty K. And I might try to put a bit more time in the bank. Will you be ready for ME??


fob said...

Good job Aaron! Perhaps the 6 broken spokes bacon ride was a good prep for the DK?

Adrian_O said...

Congrats Aaron. That's one HUGE accomplishment! Way to stay in it mentally!

nicol said...

That's so great, the Aaron! Big Congrats to you and the other Lincoln folks you mentioned who Kanza'd this year! My favorite part of the story was the angry cow. Scary!

LoupGarou said...

Awesome dude. And to have a story of a charging cow, something to definitely tell the grandkids. Good job.

monkeygirl said...

I think you have to ask yourself what your limit is. of course now you know the DK is not it. Well done.

gravy said...

You're my gyro!

Bob K said...

Beef. Eat lots of beef. The protein will help you recover, and who knows, you might be exacting revenge on the rampaging cow.

kevinW said...

excellent job! That cow's no doubt telling a whale of a story to his homies in the pasture as well :)

Ho fo sho said...

Madcow? Way to go Aaron, what a great achievement!

bryan said...

ouch. that sounds ... umm ... awesome.

Ron said...

Aaron, just wanted to tell you that it was great to ride the DK200
with you. That is a great summary of the ride. Enjoyed the read.I was thinking about the running of the bulls too. Do you think Jim might join us?

Aaron said...

Ron- Yea I forgot about my running of the bulls idea!!
To the rest of you thank you for all the nice comments and support.

Oliver said...


It was great riding with you. I was worried after you dropped back a bit between the second and third checkpoint but you recovered very well. Nice work. I hope to see you around on the trails and will try to join one of the Wednesday evening rides soon.

Sorry about the 'Spin to Win' repetition. :)

-- Oliver

Adrian_O said...

Oliver - Spin To Win! I will remember that on my next ride.