I did a quick jaunt out to Kansas this past weekend. This was the first time out for the Dirty Kanza 200 for me. I've done several other rides a few which were much longer than the Kanza but they certainly weren't the same in the category of toughness. For one, I was only riding those others, not racing(Well, I was racing the clock, just not other racers).
|Art Bates and me before the start. Art was of immeasurable help to me for this race! I'm hoping he'll be able to make it next year!|
|One last text to Kristen.|
I was blowing past group after group. Unfortunately, I had my head down and missed a turn. Dammit! I went off course for a bit more than a couple of miles. When I realized that I didn't see the small group I was chasing, I knew something was wrong. I turned around and traced back to where I had been and found the turn. I went back into pursuit mode. I came into the first checkpoint somewhere well past 100th place. I took on more food and liquids. In the back of my head, something was telling me to just replace the rear wheel. and of course, I didn't listen to myself. about mile 70, I started to feel it begin to disintegrate. One spoke had definitely broken and a couple others had loosened. I lightened up on the effort as this was also one of the very long headwind sections. I got in with a group and had to be patient riding it in to the 100 mile checkpoint. Art, who was my support person, later said it looked like I'd lost some ground and was still sitting well more than 100 back. Thankfully he didn't tell me that then. He was thinking I was in the running for a very long and disappointing day. I'd actually considered quitting because I wasn't sure how long my derailler would hold up and I was feeling a bit tired and demoralized but I thought about it and told myself 'Art drove all the way out with me to act as my support crew, so I'm not allowed to quit. He's came out here for the full experience just like I did so I have to finish this thing no matter what.' Before I'd gotten there, I was going to give him a call on the phone to have him get the spare wheel ready, but the terrain was just too rough and my hands weren't working well enough to pull the phone out of my stuffed pockets. It only added a minute or two til he got the tire pumped up and I got it on the bike.
|Getting the ship righted for the third leg.|
|Third Checkpoint and still holding it together.|
|On the run in to the finish (photo by Kyle Thompson)|
|We couldn't let it go and just ride it in, now could we?|