In 2012 I registered at the last minute and went into the race comically unprepared. Despite following the sub-stellar advice in my own Complete Idiot's Guide to Dirty Kanza, I made it a surprising 160 miles before falling, hurting my knee, quitting, and spending a year regretting the way I'd left the second CP with no real intentions of going far and thus sealing the DNF that had been likely but not certain.
|Waving the white flag in 2013.|
I swore off Kansas on my bike that day, but less than 24 hours later I was reconsidering. Honestly, I haven't stopped thinking about DK since last year, and anyone who's read my blog over the last few months knows what happened: I signed up as soon as registration opened, and I've been training my ass off all year long.
Thank goodness for like-minded friends. Thanks to Mickey, Chuck, Lori, Bob, Dave, Aaron, Adam, and Jim, I've ridden very few of my training miles alone, and having stronger training partners has definitely made me a better rider.
Tour of Hermann, Cedar Cross, and the Hairy Hundred.
Is it enough? I don't know. I have friends who ride more miles in a month than I have in 2014. But I'm not the same rider I was a year ago. I know what works for me nutritionally. I'm a little faster and slightly lighter, stronger on uphills, braver on downhills, and more confident on gravel. And I have two straight DNFs that chafe like a sandpaper chamois.
|Photo credit: Susy Stephens|
Anything can happen in Kansas. Like falling in the dark, twisting a knee, and quitting. Like flat tires and catastrophic mechanicals. Like getting lost. Like terrible storms or the notorious Kansas winds or ridiculous heat. 200 miles is a long way, and you just never know.
Anything can happen in Kansas. Like me finishing.