Thursday, June 04, 2015

Dirty Kanza 200 Report: Methodical Miles

I "yo-yo'ed" with a lot of these guys in this image for the rest of the event.
Madison, Kansas- Approximately 1:55pm: "Go right between that line of cones!", the volunteer said, as I sped by him. I was dazed from my three plus mile "time trial" effort and from seeing some apparition that looked like my good friend MG on a corner just then. Now the confusion of the checkpoint had me befuddled as to where I might find the Dirty Dog Race Pack crew to see what they could do for me.

I wandered down through the central area where the support crews were beginning to pack up. Cutoff time was nigh, or so I thought. I guess the DK200 race directors extended the cutoff time due to circumstances, but how was I to know that? At any rate, I was tired, hungry, confused, and now I was saddened and afraid that I was on my own because I didn't see the DDRP banner. "What should I do?", I was thinking, when I heard a familiar voice saying, "Hey buddy! Whatta ya need!" It was MG! I thought to myself again, as if I had never seen him a few moments ago, "What the heck!......", and then he repeated his question, and added, "Do you need any water?" I said yes, and lickety-split, he was off. I was just coming to grips that MG wasn't racing when he was back and asked if I was hungry, "...did you want a pickle?", and off he went again, fetching a full bag of chips, a dill pickle, and half a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I gladly scarfed it down, along with a handful of chips. MG gave me a Red Bull which I mixed with water in a 24oz bottle I was carrying in my jersey. Then he said something about a reroute and a jeep that would direct me, that I was doing fantastic, and I was off.

Flood damaged roads and flotsam and jetsam was to be seen at almost every bridge
I rode on out of town, amazed that MG had so quickly and skillfully taken care of me. I wondered about his race, what took him out, but soon I was thinking about the reroute.  I didn't see a jeep, but only some spray painted markings on the road saying, "DK200 reroute". The arrow pointed right. The cue said left. So I made a mental note of how this was going to look on paper to see if I could figure out where I was going to rejoin the original course. It didn't take me long to figure it out, since I am well versed in rerouting and how the DK200 has traditionally rerouted and marked corners. For me, it all made sense. I wondered if anyone else was tripped up by that. I remembered that reroutes were mentioned at the pre-race meeting, but it was never verbally shared with us how it was done.

Then I wandered out of "grid territory" and back into some winding, ranch roads with open range areas here and there. At a couple of points, myself and another rider had to shoo away cattle as they were right on the roadway. I should also add that all throughout this course there were big, deep mud puddles and lots of muddy two-track riding. Dry, hard roads were out there, but they were not the norm for much of the day. A couple of times I rode through water over my hubs. Almost evertime it was mucky, stained water which painted my legs with coating after coating of dirt, and my bags and bottles were constantly "slimed" to the point that I had to wipe away mud and crud everytime I wanted a drink.

I didn't think there were as many flats this year.

An interesting rock arrangement breaks up the monotony of fence posts
I made a decision to be very methodical with regard to drinking and eating after leaving Checkpoint 1. I set every half hour as my goal to feed and drink. It also was fun to keep a mental tab on how many hours I was out from Checkpoint 1, as opposed to how much time I had left to get to Checkpoint #2, which was 81.1 miles away from Checkpoint #1. I ate trail mix, and Wasabi trail mix, along with my water, which was a mix of straight water and some bottles with Hammer Heed in them. I had some Hot Tamales candies, and was chewing on those sometimes, which kept me awake when I got sleepy, oddly enough. Cramping wasn't an issue at all for me at any time during this year's DK200, but hunger would be later on.

However; for the time being I was plugging along well, keeping a steady speed, and I felt okay. I noted when I passed 100 miles and then I mentally kept on wanting to push that number higher. I was amazed that I was still feeling good after 100 plus miles as my longest ride all year had been 68 miles, then 65 miles, and many 40-ish and 20-ish milers. I definitely was punching above my weight, and I knew every pedal stroke was another personal record for the year. That made me feel pretty good. The weather was right in my wheelhouse, and the Fat Fargo was eating this terrain for lunch. There was a head wind going this way, which was mostly North and West, straight into the 20-ish mile an hour winds. The winds didn't bother me too much, as we ride in them in Iowa all the time. Speed-wise, I was well on track to make the next checkpoint before the 10:00pm cutoff, but first there was another water oasis just up the road. It was almost 47 miles from Checkpoint #1, and I was nearly out of water already.

I was anxiously looking forward to the oasis, and I felt it should be showing up at any time, but I was in the middle of some ranch on some of the muddiest, wettest roads since the morning. ATV's were buzzing around and cattle were looking at us as if were were aliens from Mars. Which, I suppose, we may as well have been, since cyclists out in these parts are obviously rare past the DK 200 weekend.

Finally I pulled on to some public road, and then I saw a strange site. A lone man standing under a group of bushes. I couldn't make out if he was a cyclist, but he was well off the road, which isn't typical for a cyclist. As I pulled up closer, the man shouted out a greeting, and it was apparent he knew me. It was a Trans Iowa rider! He said he was okay, just taking a break from the wind. I made a right hand turn, and soon I was at the oasis.

I was tired, thirsty, and I wanted to keep moving. I was a bit dismayed when I saw that the line for water was about two dozen deep. Then I found out that the line was that long because they didn't have any water!! I listened carefully and found out that water was coming, but how soon? It was 6:30pm when I reached the oasis, which wasn't much of one at that time, but had become a defacto dropping out point. Riders were on cell phones calling in support, and I wondered if it had anything to do with there being no water. It doesn't take much to discourage you when you are so beat down in these events! I tried to stay positive, calm, and I patiently waited in line.

Next: Running On Empty


Martin Bunge said...

That water stop was frustrating. It was maybe 6 when I got there. I was next in line when they ran out of water. It sounded like they'd have more water soon but I decided to press on and it sounds like I made a good decision. I finally ran out of water a few miles from checkpoint 2. By then I didn't care anymore...

Guitar Ted said...

@Martin Bunge: Yes, it really was a big crimp in my day, and sounds like it was in yours as well. It is very unfortunate that they ran out, (twice, by the way), and I am sure it affected a lot of people's ride negatively.

Jim Phillips said...

I had almost bought hot tamales the day before to bring along but decided not to and then I was craving them all day long!

Kate Geisen said...

That water stop line was definitely a frustration. They had some water when we were there, but waiting in line cost us a lot of time. We were so lucky with weather this yesr; if this had been a hot kanza the water situation would have been exacerbated.

bsimon said...

It's nice to get the blow by blow, as my ride ended way too early at mile 45. Thanks for posting!