Dirty Kanza 200 June 4th, 2011.
These updates will be posted on Sundays.
Background: Since getting into the event, I have been contemplating what to do different from my past when it comes to the DK200. I have tried and failed three previous times at this event. Once at the inaugural running of the DK200 in '06, and then again in '09, and '10. I have used three different bikes in all three attempts. The first try was aborted due to dizziness, and the last two due to extreme dehydration and heat problems. The last two times I ran out of water before getting to Checkpoint #1 which killed my efforts both times.
A bit about me is in order here as well, I think. I am married, have a part time bicycle shop job, run a website or three, and have two children in elementary school. Family is a priority for me, so training times are limited. I understand about sacrificing some things, and I have to decide what to set aside to gain a bit more on the training side to get better prepared this time.
Analyisis: First of all, if the DK200 gets crazy hot and windy again this year, I will not expect my efforts to be successful. I can't imagine how having 100oz of water in a hydration pack and two or three extra water bottles couldn't be enough water, but it wasn't for 66 miles. I'm not sure how I can overcome that issue at this point. (Open to suggestions here) Be that as it may, I am going to try and tackle this event again, and throw my best effort at it.
Last year, (and probably the year before), my training was pretty limited. So, that may have played into the failures. Normally I can deal with some pretty hot and humid stuff, but the drier winds and heat of Kansas seem to be my nemesis.
The Plan: (Subject To Change!) So, this year the training has already started. Longer rides at a moderate pace have already occurred. I am also focusing on losing weight now. I am building up a cross bike to test as a DK200 rig. Nutritional supplements are going to be tested in training. I will be working out a strategy for carrying things on the bike as opposed to the body. (Done it both ways and I'll cover the advantages/disadvantages of both).I'll be doing some stretching and core body stuff as well.
My Take On Race Strategy: The DK200 started out as a self-supported, time limited event. It really isn't either of those things anymore. You can pretty much come into a checkpoint a bit late, and the organizers let it go. There is no real "end" to the event. (Last year, riders were still being scored well after the old cut off time of 2am) Support is "discouraged", which means nearly everyone gets support. Riders are catered to at every checkpoint with anything they want or need as long as they can find someone who will do it. That wasn't true of the early DK200's where a rider could only have a drop bag forwarded to a checkpoint.
It's pretty tempting to take the bait thrown out and "finish" whenever I can with all kinds of hand ups and people catering to me at checkpoints. And listen- you can do it that way if you want. I am not judging the organizers of the DK200 or anyone that wants to push the advantages to the limit. Those are decisions those people have made/will make, and I am okay with that. So, with that said, I am going the full-on self supported route, or nothing, and I will finish by 2am, or I'll just quietly ride back to my motel and accept a DNF. That's my decision, and how I am looking at this event. Your mileage may vary.
Okay, so there you have it. Next update will include some background on my bike choice and what has worked and what I have seen that doesn't.