Monday, June 01, 2015

Dirty Kanza 200 Report: Pre-Race

Staging area
Hey there everyone! I apologize for the non-posting over the weekend, but I was busy doing this event called the Dirty Kanza 200. Many of you were reading along with me as I trained and chose equipment for this event in my "Dirty Kanza Chronicles V2" series of posts. Well, this report should let you know how much of that shook out.

First of all, if you were paying attention, you know that this version of the Dirty Kanza was very unique for that race. Typically it is very hot, dry, and there is copious amounts of scorching sunshine. However; this event featured no Sun, misty moistness, and rather cool, for late May, temperatures. It also was the 10th running of this event. A milestone marked with much hoopla, I might add. Well, enough about that, on to the report......

Pre-Race: This was an atypical event from the standpoint that I was able to spend two entire days ahead of the actual ride off from work. Thursday morning I was packed, ready, and waiting for my friend Tony who was to drive us down to Emporia Kansas in his big Ford truck. It was nice and sunny when we packed up and drove off, but it wasn't long into our seven hour trip that the skies became grey and a fine mist, then outright rain, settled in as we drove South.

Skies deepen as we get into Kansas City
Of course, there was much concern amongst the riders coming into this event as to what effect the recent flooding and new additional rains might have upon the Dirty Kanza 200 route. "Contingency Plans!" they said, so we were hopeful that the flooding and moist roads would be accounted for in the days leading up to this running of the DK200.

Tony and I got into town and he got himself checked into his room at Emporia State University dormitories. Then we met MG downtown and headed over to the Radius Brewery for some grub and great craft beer. We also met Joe, the host for MG and myself, and then plans were laid for a Friday morning breakfast at the home of the owner of Mulready's Pub. All well and good so far.....

Friday morning MG and I awoke to a breezy, cold, mist and we headed up the street to the breakfast. Then, simultaneously, we looked at each other and said, "We need our coats!", as it was starting in to rain. It felt more like an October day, and we were wondering just where it was that early Summer weather had went. After a fine breakfast, (Thank you, by the way!), we made plans to go downtown to check in and see the scene. As we pulled up to Commercial Street, the skies opened up and it poured rain. Locals were showing us images of the road out of town that DK would use and it was flooded. Riders that were intrepid enough to go check out a bit of the course were coming back in all mud splattered. This was looking more like a Trans Iowa than a Dirty Kanza!

The moistness! Me reacting to the weather as MG and eventual 5th place overall Womens finisher Andrea Cohen chat
Eventually the rain relented and it never really "rained" again, (more on that later). We all went about our day waiting for the pre-race meeting in the Granada Theater. I chose to go to the first one, (there are three now due to the number of racers), and listened in as the meeting was opened with a tribute to the late Joel Dyke, who was co-founder of the Dirty Kanza 200. The original song by the "People's Punk Band" called "Big Grin" was pretty dang good. Anyway, at the meeting it was more about sponsors and a little presentation by Rebecca Rusch and another dude from Gu Energy about how to set race strategy. All well and fine, but there was almost nothing said about the course and an afterthought about a possibility of a reroute as we were leaving was added by Jim Cummins. I was a bit puzzled by that, since it seemed to me that a bit of information for us as riders as to what to look forward to concerning the course would have been prudent to share considering the extremely unusual conditions for the event. Hmmm......... Oh well........

A lot about stuff that didn't really help us with the actual race at hand was said here.
 Afterward, I had to skedaddle over to the Dirty Kanza retail outlet to sign autographs since they had me on one of the trading cards that the DK200 does to celebrate the riders. That didn't really work out quite as well as I think it could have, but then again, it wasn't a big deal. Basically I stood around looking goofy for an hour. At least I stuck it out for the entire hour, not like some of the other racers present, so I guess I fulfilled my duty there!

Then it was on to a neighborhood gathering near our host Joe's house. It was dubbed "Man-law" night, and basically was a community supper of friends and guests. MG and I enjoyed that very much, (again- thank you!), and then it was off to the house as I was eager to fettle one more time with my rig. It's a good thing too, since I found out my computer battery had died. A quick trip to Wal Mart and that mini-crisis was averted. Then we hit the hay, alarms set for 4am, and we were excited to take part in the event the next day.

Next: Moist, Mud, and Madness!


Kenneth Easterling said...

I wonder if a crudflap would have helped?

Guitar Ted said...

@ Kenneth Easterling: I don't think it would have at all on that muddy road, we couldn't even ride it, but everywhere else? Definitely!!

Tyler Loewens said...

How many cards did you end up signing? Seemed like a really cool idea.

Guitar Ted said...

@Tyler Loewens: It is a cool idea, but the organizers treated it as an afterthought, or so it would seem. I arrived at the spot where we were to sign cards. There was a lady that rounded us up and told us where to stand. We had to stand in a semi-circle with ball point pens, (not card signing friendly, I might add), and there was no signage for the fans or organization to the process at all. There was no way to know who was who for folks that came there. Out of the 15 or so riders that bothered to show up, I saw maybe two dozen cards get signed and I maybe signed four of those. The previous year's winner and another Pro rider stayed for 20 minutes and bailed. Pretty much a waste of an hour, but as I said, I fulfilled my duty as promised.