|It hasn't changed much in ten years..... DK200 course from '06|
It marked the first time I had ridden competitively since about ten years prior, and it was also my first rodeo when it came to gravel road events. Well......riding in gravel road events, that is. My first experience in gravel road events was promoting and organizing T.I.v1, of course, the year before.
It was the first time I had ever met David Pals. We were made aware of each other via this blog, as he used to post comments on here back in the day. He got a hold of me and we made arrangements to rendezvous in Des Moines, Iowa at my sister's house. David made a sign he had in the window of his car which looked like a road sign and used my "man smashing a guitar" avatar with the words "GT On Board". I still have it on my work bench at work.
Yeah.....go ahead. Call me sentimental. I also still have my first DK200 number plate, so there!
The event didn't go as I wished, as I got dizzified at the halfway checkpoint and dropped out with Dejay Birtch and a few others. I'd never met Dejay before. At the time he was sponsored by Niner Bikes and I got my very first up close look at one back then. He was a hoot, of course, as always. I ended up sagging a ride back to Emporia where the finish line for the event was basically a pop up tent in the parking lot of a motel. There were a few onlookers and more than a few of us that didn't finish just hanging out. I remember seeing all 15 finishers that year, ordering pizza from the parking lot, and watching the lightning come up as a big ol' thunderstorm rolled up on Emporia. David was still out there, and it was crazy with lightning, thunder, and it was raining hard.
We got word that David had been struck by a car coming into town, but Joel Dyke said he was going to be okay. It was quite the dramatic end to the first DK 200, as David was the last finisher. I'll never forget that experience.
Maybe that's why I've hung on to those two bits of paper memorabilia all these years.