Monday, May 22, 2006

Dirty Kanza 200 Race Report Well I survived the rocky roads of Kansas this weekend. What a race. The course was unbelievable, the weather was perfect and the "Trans-Iowa Slayer" became the "Dirty Kanza Crusher" : ) Rick and I left for Kansas at 6:00am on Friday morning. At about the South Dakota border I remembered that I forgot my rain jacket at home. Luckily there was big yellow store in Sioux Falls. After a quick pit stop for gas and a jacket we were off again. As we passed through a town on the Kansas border, we were shocked at the temperature on the bank clock. 100 degrees! We arrived at Emporia, KS and checked in at the Travelodge where the race headquarters were at. The race organizers were busy getting everything ready for registration. So, we went to our room and started to get our bikes and gear ready for the big day ahead of us. We registered and I seen a few familiar faces. Patrick Humenny, Guitar Ted, Dave Pals, Matt Maxwell and Paul Jaconson had all made the long voyage to Kansas as well. It was getting late by this time and I needed to get some sleep. I set three different alarms for 4:30am, and dosed off to thoughts of gravely goodness. The alarms rang, buzzed and beeped and we hopped out of bed to get ready. It was warm enough that I could wear shorts, a base layer t-shirt, a Ski and Bike Shop issued jersey, thin wool socks and full finger gloves. 34 brave racers gathered for the pre-race meeting at 5:45am. Then it was a cowbell start at 6:00am. The group pretty much stayed together for the short ride out of town. As soon as we hit the gravel things started to pick up. I had told myself that I didn't want to try and stay with the lead group. I didn't want to blow up like at Trans-Iowa. But, I found myself right in there flying down the gravel at around 20 mph. Amazingly I felt good, and continued to as guys were getting flats or dropping off the back of the pack. Pretty soon it was down to about 10 guys. Then two of them flew off the front never to be seen again till the end. Paddy H, Joe Partridge, and I were riding along. I got brave and put in a hard effort to pull away from them. They were on single speeds, so they were spinning out on the flats and down hills. They kept close with all the hills though. I am not a climber! I hit the first pass through town at 40 miles in, and stopped to refill my camelback, water bottles and relieve myself. I came out of the store and a few guys had gone by, deciding not to stop and refuel. The course up to this point was nice gravel with a lot of hills. They don't call it the Flint Hills region for nothing. I pressed on to the halfway point in Cottonwood Falls. The course got a little tougher at this point. There was a shallow stream crossing, more hills and a river valley that had the worst road up to this point. It was probably a good mile of rocky road. And I mean rocky. Popcan sized rocks from one side to the other. I thought I would get a flat for sure. I didn't and was glad when that section was over. Along the way a couple of nice locals had set out water at the ends of their driveways for us. That was very much appreciated. Almost to Cottonwood Falls I see this monster of a hill. I put it in the easiest gear I had and started to pedal away at it. As I crested it there was another one just as big waiting. Son of a B***H! That hurt. It was getting pretty warm at that point so it felt good to get to Cottonwood Falls and rest a little. I checked in at the halfway point at about 11:30am. 16mph average for the first half. I wasn't expecting that. Again I filled up my water reserves and grabbed a couple of turkey and cheese sandwiches. I went and sat down at the chekpoint and chatted with a couple guys. One was single speed legend DJ Birtch. He had just done the Kokopelli trail race last weekend, and here he was doing the Dirty Kanza this weekend. WOW! Anyway, Matt Maxwell and I headed out of the checkpoint for the next section of the course. It was rumored to be the toughest stretch, and it didn't disappoint. 50+ miles till the next pass through town of Eureka, KS. Matt and I stuck together for a while then we yo-yoed back and forth a few times. We were riding through open cattle range on the rockiest roads I have ever seen. Even worse than the one before Cottonwood Falls. It was weird riding along with cows right along the road with nothing in between you and them. A few darted in front of us. I've never seen a cow run before, but they sure can make the ground rumble. On a long up hill section a we saw a rider coming up behind us. I did a double take as I seen it was Patrick Humenny. I guess he thought the course was too easy, so he went and got lost for 45 minutes : ) Simply amazing! He gets lost for that amount of time, and comes flying up to us like its nothing. Crazy Canadians : ) After that we hit the mother of all downhills. It was a rock road littered with even bigger rocks and there was a good sized ditch down the left side. Paddy went flying down it on his Giant XTC. Not to be out done, I went full speed ahead after him on my 32mm cyclocross tires. That was the scariest ride of my life. It was steep and fast. I couldn't hit the brakes at all or I would have wiped out for sure. I made it unscathed, and had a good adrenaline rush for the rest of the ride to Eureka. I rolled into Eureka and Joel, one of the race directors, said that I was in third place. Shortly after me, Paddy and Matt both came flying in. Same routine. Fill the bottles and get some food. My feet were really bothering me at this point. I had to take off my shoes and rub em down a bit. Paddy and Matt took off ahead of me. I put my shoes back on and gave chase. There was about 60 miles to go to the finish in Emporia. About 30 miles to the next pass through town of Madison, KS. I caught Matt, but never saw Paddy. This part of the course was somewhat hilly, but not as bad as the open range section. I took it pretty easy until Madison. I stopped and topped off the water and had a slice of pizza. While I was sitting on the curb a rancher pulls up in a farm truck, gives me a funny look, and then says in his Kansas accent, "You need a shower!" I agreed, then he asked, "What the hell I was doing?" I told him that there was a 200 mile race going on, and I had about 25 miles to go and pointed at my map on the bike. He looks it over and yells at another guy sitting in his pickup truck, "Bob, you gotta see this f**kin' map!" I laughed out loud almost choking on my pizza. He wished me luck, and I was off. The last 25 or so miles I felt awesome. I had a slight tailwind and was cruising along at around 18-20mph. Contrary to the G-Ted's audioblog I didn't pass anyone on this section. But one of the guys that was watching the final stretch back to town saw that I was flying and said, post race, that I must have passed 5 or 6 guys. Not true, but it sounds impressive. So, just go ahead and pretend that it happened anyway : ) The sun set a few miles outside of town, and I switched on my lights for the last few miles. There was a few fireflys that lit my way as well. That was surreal after 200 miles of gravel and rocky roads. I came into the finish area to applause and cowbells. What a great feeling. I finally finished one of these long gravel endurance races. A 4th place finish none the less. Official time was 15 hours and 26 minutes. 12.96mph average. I got a nice cowbell for finishing, along with some other goodies from the sponsors. I went and showered all of the salt and dirt off of me. Then came out to watch all the other finishers come in. Out of 15 finishers, there was still one out on the course, and it was starting to rain. Then it started to downpour and lightning. The winds picked up and everyone ran inside the hotel. David Pals was still out there riding in the storm just miles from the finish. I can't imagine the ride he was having in that storm. Then just a few blocks from the finish. Some idiot in a car ran into him! I guess he slid on the wet pavement and got back up okay. Crazy ending to a great race. Maybe he'll start a blog and give us all the whole story. This was one of the best races I've ever been to. It was well worth the 12 hour drive. The race promoters were great. They had the course marked well, great maps to follow and really just made it a fun atmosphere to race in. Thanks guys! I look forward to coming back next year. Hopefully I can talk a few more North Dakotans into coming down. Brian, Sears, Greg? Anyone up for it? As for Mr. Mangan. He had a great race as well. He made it all the way to the midway checkpoint. 88 miles on the course. He decided to call it quits there, but then proceeded to ride/walk back to Emporia. For a grand total of 113 miles. Very impressive! For his next trick he's going to try and finish the 300+ mile EnduroSnob Epic. Anyone else going to join us for this one? That's all for the long race report. Here are a few pictures to mull over. Later : ) Lots of gear. Not all of it was used though. I really liked the modern bedspreads : )

Rick's steed and fanny pack. I can't say enough about those comforters.

The Dirty Kanza Crusher! Those skinny 32mm tires never got a flat. Unbelievably none of the cyclocross bikes had a flat! Hmmm?

The starting line-up. From left to right. Paul Jacobson in the blue jersey, Eventual winner Dan Hughes in the distance, Matt Maxwell in the green camelbak, the madman singlespeeder Patrick Humenny in the blue/orange jersey, Dave "I like to dent cars" Pals #605, Rick Mangan for team Ski and Bike Shop, and last but not least "the audio blogger" himself Guitar Ted in the white and red jersey behind Rick.

A nice shot of the grassy Kansas plains.

Mugshot of yours truly all covered in dirt and salt. Apparently I'm now balding as well : )

They don't call it the Dirty Kanza for nothing.

200 miles of Dirt Lovin' Good Times!

Top speed 37.8mph Weeee! The maps were perfect.

Make sure to check out the Dirty Kanza site for other reports and pictures. Also, G-Ted had some great audio blogs on his site. Check them out if you get a chance. He should start a satellite radio show like Lance Armstrong, but for off-road racing : )

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Off to see the Wizard Well just finished packing up for the big drive down to Kansas. Rick is picking me up at 6:00am. Then it's about a 12 hour drive down to Emporia. Sounds like it's going to be a nice weekend. Highs around 90 and lows in the 60's. Should make for a good 20 hour bike ride : ) There should be some good audio blog updates over on G-Ted's site. I should have an update Sunday night if all goes as planned. In other news, a rather large sign toppled over at Rydells today. Right on a $20,000 mini van. Check out the pics I took below. Sully admiring the damage.

That's all for tonight. Hopefully next post I'll have finally finished one of these endurance races : ) Have a great weekend everybody!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

The Carnage Tonight started out great! All the Ski and Bike Shop guys and gal got together for some laughs at The Hub. The good Dr. Dingle even made an apperance. Hub Specials for everyone.

Mmmmm! Hub Burrrrrger!

With our bellies full of beef and taters. We decided to head over to the parking ramp for the 1st gravity race of the season. I brought along the camera again. I hope the resolution is a little better than the last video. Sears drew first blood, and dominated the racing that ensued. Let the carnage begin! No pedaling fools!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Messing Around Inspired by this. I went out to TRSP tonight and messed around with my new camera. It was challenging to ride one handed on single track. Should help with the technical skills though. I still need to work on the editing. The auto production thingy wants to do its own thing. Enjoy! Hopefully the rain will stay to the east and I can get some more fun footage : ) Brian is in town, so you know what that means. Hub Burgers and Gravity Racing! I'll try and get a video of the first GGFGRPS race of the year. Foxy when is that new site going to be functional? Good luck to Mr. 24 at the first WEMS race of the season! One week to go till the Kanza!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Busy Bloggers Well it looks like some of you guys in the Bloggersphere are pretty busy. Brian took an 11th place finish at a road race in Wisconsin today, and is going to try and top that performance tomorrow in the first WORS race of the season. Way to go Brian. Give em hell! Greg has also been up to no good. He just started to 12 hours of Lodi Farm race at midnight. I got a pre-race update from him earlier this evening, and he said that he would be going up against a former world single speed champion. I can't think of his name right now, but he said that he had a sweet Ti Deluxe single speed IF. Good luck Greg on your fixed Klein single speeder! I hope those flamer flames make you fast : ) As for the Endurosnob Epic. It looks like no one wants to join me and the Mangan for another epic race. Brian, Greg, Brooks? Anyone care to join in the fun? I know Paddy H wants to, but he's whooped, waapaa : ) Just kidding Paddy. I wouldn't want to be in that spot. How about a update on who's in, and whose not? EnduroSnob? In other news I went out to Turtle River tonight. Sears, "The Professor" Yearwood, Randy Lieberg and his friends Steve and Sonya were all out there for the Friends of Turtle River BBQ. I did a couple laps on my own. Then Randy, Steve and Sonya joined for another. It felt good to be back on the old 8000. First time this year. The trails are in great shape with only a few soft spots in the low lying areas. The new single track along the horse trails has also been cleaned up. It is looking good, but could still use some TLC. It's fun to have a new section to conquer. Well that's all for now. Good night.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

EndoroSnob Epic I just registered for the Epic. Who else got in? I'm going to ride now. Later : )

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

You Dirty Kanza Well I just dropped my Dirty Kanza registration in the mail. I hope there are still a couple spots open. I say a couple because I also talked the Budget Biker ,Rick Mangan, into registering as well. It should be a lot of fun. I can't wait to see all the crazies from TI again. In other news Patrick Humenny is back in bloggerville. Will he disappear again before the Dirty Kanza? We'll have to wait and see. I'm renaming the link on my blog in hopes of keeping him around a little longer this time : ) That's all for now.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Reflections Well I'm back home. Here are some random thoughts. I got all my stinky biking clothes all washed. I just cleaned up the Poprad as well. It was tough getting all the mud off of it. Especially the worm guts! There were some of the biggest worms I have ever seen laying in the puddled roads of Iowa. They were so big you couldn't swerve to miss them. Some I bet were a foot long. Anyway they really stuck to the bike. I also forgot to mention the skunk I saw. I was pedaling along and saw a skunk come running out of the ditch at me. It saw me and started running alongside me for about 20 yards. All I could do was keep riding and hope he wouldn't spray me. Luckily he didn't and ran back into the ditch. I could've really had a hard time finding a ride back to Algona if he did spray me : ) And how about those Badger holes alongside the B roads. That was kind of scary. Speaking of rides I have to thank Gary, Jim, Tom and Paul again for letting me tag along. Gary and Jim decided to keep riding on the paved roads after Paulina. They wanted to get a century in to finish out the day. You guys are hardcore : ) Thanks again guys. Hope to see you at the next one if it happens. p.s. that helmet must be someone else's. I have mine, and it smells. Bad! As for the next race. I'm really thinking seriously about doing the Dirty Kanza if there is still a spot open. I guess I didn't get enough suffering at TI : ) Anyone else want to do this one in a few weeks? Let me know. It would be fun. I promise. I mean, how much worse could it be than this weekends race? Did everyone check out the videos on Jeff Kerkove's site? The first one where Dallas and Lindsay were the last two standing was unbelievable! Those Canadians sure can ride. I wish I had talked to them, but they are so crazy it's intimidating : ) Maybe next time guys. You rock! p.s. Paddy are you going to start blogging again now that TI is over? I would like that : ) I think the Pugsley would have fit right in with all the hogs and cows we passed in Iowa. I don't know if it would have been a better choice for the race though. A cyclocross Pugs does sound good. Would that work? Well time to sleep. Good night : )