Monday, May 22, 2006

Rocks, Dust, and Fun!: Part II

Hotel room turned race prep area!

Pre-race tuning, and logistics planning were the order of the day, er......evening, I should say!

Friday Night Check in: Here are some of the folks checking in to pick up their race packets and sign waivers before the race start on Saturday. Lots of the competitors stayed at the Travel Lodge which made it easy to hang out and chat before and after the event.

Pre Race: David Pals graciously agreed to put up with your humble correspondent on this trip. He picked me up on Friday morning for the trip down to Emporia, Kansas. Along the way, we decided to pull off the Interstate and drive some of the roads that passed through the North Eastern part of the course. We found a beautifully rolling hill terrain that made us more excited to ride with each passing mile. The first pass through town of Council Grove was really nice, with alot of stone statuary in different places. Many of the buildings were stone or brick from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Some streets were pave'. Cool stuff! The mid way check point town of Cottonwood Falls was also much the same. It had a magnificent court house that is the oldest court house currently in use west of the Missisippi.

We checked into our motel at the Travel Lodge at about the same time as Paddy Hummeny and his wife Naomi pulled in. It was great to see Paddy again and meet Naomi. Inside the motel we found the check in area set up in the court yard. I met Scott, Craig, and Joel who put so much work into this event. They were great guys and we had some good chats through out the course of the weekend. Thanks to them for putting on such a finely tuned event and for all the work involved.

On the way down, my wife Phyllis called to say that she forgot the suntan lotion. So David and I ran around town looking for a place that was still open to get what I needed. Well, we could have gotten out earlier, but we were too busy chatting and I forgot about it until about 8pm. when everything closed up in town. I finally found some at a local grocery store only to get back to our room to find the bottle my wife actually did pack when I opened up my suit case! Oh well! better safe than sorry! The weird closing times in town would return to bite us again later. After getting all of our race gear organized, our drop bags packed, and bikes prepped, David and I hit the hay for our nights sleep. Alarm was set already by a previous guest at 4:00 am. Perfect!

We both actually slept quite well, and the alarm woke us at 4:00 am as planned. We had planned on hitting up some breakfast at an all-night type place. Unfortunately, we were unable to find anything open! Even gas station/ convenience stores were closed! We finally stumbled upon a truck stop that was open for business right across from the meat packing plant. This wasn't your ordinary truck stop. Oh no! This was a old skool truck stop! Basically, it was just a cafe', but this is what all truck stops were traditionally before the mid-sixties, which this relic of a restuarant still was. We are talking time warp kind of stuff here! Anyway, we ended up wolfing down the huge pancake and eggs breakfast and busting out of there as fast as we could. The delay in finding a place to eat was causing a huge time crunch as we needed to be at the start line for the pre race meeting by 5:30am.

Once there, we were joined by the other racers. I met Garth Prosser, who is a Cannondale sponsored rider. His mount was an older Sobe' Team hardtail with a Lefty ELR fork. He said he preferred it over the newer versions of the fork. Some of the Iowa contingent were there, as well. Paul Jacobson, Matt Matthewsen, Cory Heintz, and of course David Pals and myself. Paddy H. and Joe Partridge were there. It was nice to see the familiar faces. The pre race meeting went smoothly and at 6:05 am Scott Capstack rang the cowbell for the start. We were off!

Tomorrow: The opening salvos of Dirty Kanza 200 take their toll on some of the riders! Tune in for more DK 200 reports coming your way.

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