|Racing the Dirty Kanza 200 in 2015: Image by A. Andonopoulous|
I had made my peace with the DK 200 the previous year when I went 154 miles out of 200 and missed the checkpoint for going the final leg by two minutes. Yes....it isn't a finish in the official sense. However; my personal satisfaction with the event wasn't predicated by having a pint glass and my name on a list. I was very satisfied with my efforts in 2015, and I still am at peace with that part. The event is a fantastic event, and I recommend it to anyone looking for a good gravel challenge, but my focus was shifted after last year's ride.
The thing is, I knew that there was something more to this area. Something deeper and something I was missing by doing the event. I was too busy eating every fifteen minutes, worrying about finishing a water bottle every hour, and being distracted by focusing on my cues. I could see things in my periphery vision. I could feel things I didn't have time to stop and pay attention to. In other words, this former land of the Kanza, a land that had beaten back an invasion of white settlers in the 1930's with nothing more than heat and dust and wind, was calling to me. It was time to listen. That's all.
Just how was I going to do that? Well, to be honest, I had no idea whatsoever how I would do that. There is one lesson I've learned about my life though, and that is this- If I let it go, things come around to me. Sometimes it works out better than I could have ever imagined, and then sometimes there are delays. That's just how I've found life works out well for me. I don't stress about those things, and they tend to work out anyway. This thing has worked out well, and here is the story of how that came to be......
|Ready to load up.|
The ride down was really good. Tony is a great traveling companion and the way we travel seems to mesh well with each other. It didn't hurt that the day was a spectacular early June day with abundant sunshine and blue sky. We arrived at Emporia late on Thursday afternoon to unload our belongings and bicycles in the dormitories of Emporia State University. I at once was reminded of my days at the University of Northern Iowa and my room there. Uggh! The "dorm life" was not my thing then, nor would it be so now. That being as it may, these were our digs for the weekend. They would suffice. Now if they would get that air conditioning fixed!
|Geeking out on various forms of "Gravel Bikes" in the parking lot.|
Tony and I retired to our four walls of cinder block awesomeness. The air conditioning was still broken.......
Next: Blowing Up