Dirty Kanza 200 Results 2011 (the full story)

In Blog by Eric Comments

The Dirty Kanza results for 2011 are in and although most people didn’t finish, it was an epic weekend.

Ride The Divide Showing

I stood in for Erik Mathy at the Ride the Divide show in Emporia. Profits go to support his charity that is raising money to fight cancer. He couldn’t be here as he was leaving for Banff in a week to start his race across the Great Divide on his single speed Fargo named Pokey! Crazy. If he can do that, I am sure you can do something to make a difference in this world as well.

I used to be a teacher and talking in front of a group was something I enjoyed, but I am a little out of practice. Jason Boucher aka Gnat and I made a short presentation and I got to give away free stuff at the raffle. All in all, a great way to start the weekend. Many enjoyed the show.

 1gear1cause.org

Then it was time to eat Spaghetti provided by Emporia’s Farmer’s Market.

It was funny seeing the church welcoming DK200 Riders. Funny but very cool as the whole town got behind this great event.

Rider’s Meeting

This year we had the Emporia Granada to use as the venue for the rider’s meeting. It is quite the beautiful place.

dirty kanza 200

We watched a video of the DK200 from two years ago and Jim then said a few words. The excitement and anticipation was so thick you could feel it in the air.

dirty kanza 200

dirty kanza 200

dirty kanza 200

dirty kanza 200

I gave another canvas to one lucky rider that would win the “David Pals” award. He couldn’t show this year, so I still have yet to meet the legendary David Pals. As I unveiled the canvas it seemed like it was a hit from the riders’ responses.

dirty kanza 200

dirty kanza 200

dirty kanza 200

dirty kanza 200

This is the lucky winner of a new Salsa frameset.

It was a good evening. I had a lot of fun and needed to get home and prepare a few things for the race and get some sleep. Tomorrow would be a big, big day.

Last year, I was completely out of it and running late on race morning. This year was much different. Everything was ready. I just needed to eat and get dressed. Where was Adam? I texted him awake and he showed up to load up the supplies and bike. And there was one other thing to do. Let’s just say, it wasn’t a good showing. Never is on race day for me. That would affect me later in the day.

Dirty Kanza starting line

Me and my support crew. No, I didn’t throw up already, that’s what JJ thought of the hot chocolate his dad bought him and his older brother Eli.

dirty kanza 200

dirty kanza 200

The Wintles won the cutest DK200 baby by a long shot.

dirty kanza 200

Bobby was amazed by how awesome my bike is

dirty kanza 200

OK, so he was just admiring the Revelate Designs Tangle bag. It served me quite well on this race. In fact it was performed perfectly. There’s my mom, sister, nephew and JJ, my support man in green.

dirty kanza 200

 Saying hey to Stephanie who would prove her mightiness the next morning.

dirty kanza 200

It’s about time and I was ready to start pedaling for about 16 hours, or so I thought.

dirty kanza 200

Lelan representing the Monkey!

dirty kanza 200 Mass start at 6:00am. Somewhere in the vicinity of 375 racers started according to the Emporia Gazette.

dirty kanza 200

We hit gravel and the race was on! Most of those fast guys would not finish. What am I saying? Less than 20% of all riders would finish if even that much.

dirty kanza 200

I remembered what my friend Scott told me for strategy. Hold on to people’s wheels. Stay in a group. I started near the back and moved up group by group for the whole first leg. Last year I didn’t do that at all. This year, when possible we tried to stay in paceline formation. This made a huge difference in conserving my energy. I tried to take the lead a few times, but it seems like no one wants the little guy cutting the wind for them.

dirty kanza 200

 Recumbent on gravel? Yes there was. I had to snap a shot as I held formation.

Somewhere early on in the first leg I passed Corey Godfrey, last year’s winner. No I wasn’t going that fast, he was changing a flat. Soon he caught and passed the group I was riding with and we all cheered him on. The camaraderie at this race is really incredible. It makes for a fun day of suffering. I was having so much fun. Much different than last year’s sufferfest.

dirty kanza 200

dirty kanza 200

DK200 Sunrise, I turned to my left and shot.

The first leg took us through some beautiful and rough terrain though the oil fields of Madison and over to Cassoday through the wild horses. Through the rough patches, water bottles and other supplies were launched from people’s bikes. It was like a battlefield out there and I had to watch for flying missiles as I like to bomb down the downhills. If you ride the first leg this week, you are bound to find some good stuff out there. There were some good water bottles all over the place. It was crazy.

Flats? Everywhere once again. One guy had a flat less than two miles out of town. I saw flats all along the way the rest of the day. The first leg was beautiful and later the hills became relentless as the temperature heated up. I hoped my tire choice would prove perfect once again. We would see.

dirty kanza 200

Climbing the first really big hill named Texaco Hill. I made it without pushing and was feeling great.

dirty kanza 200

I’ve shot this before on a ride of mine. It was neat seeing riders weaving through the countryside of Kansas.

So my strategy of riding at an easy pace was going pretty well. I wanted to average around 13 mph all day and take short breaks. I was feeling good and holding on people’s wheels and my average on this first leg was pretty high for me. I tried to maintain an easy pace, but my average had to be around 15-17 mph at least. I didn’t feel like I was pushing too hard at this point. I was enjoying the ride but I didn’t want to go too fast and blow up.

I soon caught my friend John Decker and then Jeff Larson. Jeff slowed to stay with John as he started cramping up. I also saw Ryan Dudley. Basically I was riding WITH people this year. Last year I felt like I was all by myself. I was still pretty slow and trying to keep up. This year, I was having a blast seeing how far I have progressed physically but even more it was just plain fun to ride with others! I was having a great time.

dirty kanza 200

dirty kanza 200

 Not just a pretty road. A pretty road with a long steep hill at the end.

dirty kanza 200

I had to stop as my drinking hose popped off my handlebars. I had to redo the Velcro strap and I really had to pee, so it all worked out. But the stop was not good. Soon I had a hill to ride up and my inner thighs began to cramp up. I stopped to stretch and popped some acid zappers that Gina sold me the night before which my wife thought felt like a drug deal on the side street near the Granada theater. I popped double the amount for my body weight as the package said that would be OK during a race. I put my headphones in for the first time that day to help me out too. I had nothing but uplifting spiritual and worship music in there as I wanted to connect with the land, my bike and the Creator that day. Sounds weird, but it was great – exactly what I needed. I find riding my bike in natural surroundings to be quite spiritual anyway, so the music enhanced the experience. I don’t like religion, but I love or try to and I find it important to connect with the Creator. Some do that in synagogue or church. I just happen to do it on gravel.

The cramps soon disappeared. I pedaled on strong.

dirty kanza 200

 Me, getting dirty

dirty kanza 200

 Some views of one of my favorite looking hills of the route. I loved the way it curved through the countryside. I hated the way it made me feel as I climbed it.

dirty kanza 200

dirty kanza 200

There’s a group of about four riders on the Chamois Butter team changing a flat. Their team stuck together and helped each other out.

I soon made it to the first checkpoint in Cassoday, Kansas. I was feeling great and looked for Adam and the boys. My plan was to refill my fluids, lube the chain, get a quick pickle or two to eat and get out of there quick. We did a pretty good job of that and I did get out of there quickly to start the second leg I got out of there in about 15 minutes. Slower average, Quicker stops. That was my strategy for the day.

Second Leg

I started the second leg feeling strong. Soon I was pedaling with the wind and making excellent time. I kept my map handy and would have the next turn in my mind as some of the markers had been moved the night before the race. Silly Rednecks. That caused trouble for many of the riders. As I looked at the map for the second leg, I knew the roads of the first half of it from last year’s training rides. I felt confident I knew where I was going.

It was beginning to get very hot. I was glad this leg was only 40-some miles. I was looking forward to getting to the second stop and taking a good 30 minute break.

At a few of the turns of this leg, I found groups of riders looking confused.  The markers were missing. Silly rednecks. I knew the roads and flew by saying “this is the way.” They followed and soon passed. I was trying to keep my speed low and not worry about catching up because most of these riders would not continue on past the second checkpoint. I was still going well over my 13 mph goal. At some point I passed Dustin, a high gear racer and friend. I never pass him as he’s fast. He looked like he was getting tired. I said hi and kept on moving with the wind. Once again, I was making so much better time than last year.

Soon I turned onto a low maintenance road and conditions became rougher and hotter. I soon came upon Garrett Seacat, another High Gear racer and friend as he was changing a flat. He was OK and I kept pedaling but not for too long. I started to cramp up in my inner thighs again. Damn. I was feeling golden except for the small muscles of my inner thigh. I stopped. Soon Garrett came up to me and stopped. We were both cramping up. As I stretched out, Kristi Mohn from Emporia came up on us. I thought she was ahead of me.

“What’s wrong guys?”

“Oh just cramping up,” I said.

“Taking in the sights,” said Seacat.

“Oh,” she said and rode by us, strong. She kept pedaling without missing a beat. It cracked me up. That girl is hardcore. I was hoping she’d finish the race strong.

I popped my acid zappers, but kept cramping up. Cramping makes me tired and frustrated. I knew I wouldn’t finish this year if this kept up.

Soon I was on almost technical singletrack because of the big rocks and low water crossings. Garrett was riding with me, but left me behind at this point. One of the low water crossings was full of mud and I about took a tumble into a patch of poison ivy. I could tell I was getting tired. I caught up with Garrett again. We got off that low maintenance road and decided to sit on the road and take a break. I was glad he was there. I was still cramping. He threw me a pack of  Gu chomps. I ate a serving and quickly after that ate the rest of them as I cramped up on another hill.

Garrett was way ahead, but waited for me. He was tired too. Finally we came up to a pretty big hill. I rode as far as I could and then had to push up. We took another quick break. Sometime after this, things started kicking in and my cramps went away altogether. I felt good again but no longer knew where I was on the map. Good thing Garrett did. I pushed up a hill with Garrett as he was still feeling tired. As we pushed up, Jed Sampsel caught us. Now there was three of us.

We formed a paceline and cut through the last section of headwind together. It was a lot easier and much more fun this way than going at it alone. I was really glad to be riding with friends.

dirty kanza 200

I have to thank Garrett for getting me through when the cramps hit. He cut the wind for me and gave me those chomps. I owe him one for that. I was feeling good, but he needed to stop for a bit. The heat was getting to all of us, but he seemed to be having a pretty tough time near the end of this leg. We found a little shade and stopped. I checked to see how that blister on my hand was doing. Not so good. It had grown to disgusting proportions.

dirty kanza 200

 It had become huge and hard and it hurt. I know, sounds like a Viagra accident, but no, it was a nasty blister on my hand. I thought this would end up being a nasty sore by the end of the day.

dirty kanza 200

Taking a quick break to cool down. After this I was feeling good and strong again.

dirty kanza 200

Jed and Garrett cooling down a bit. It was so hot their heart rates stayed pretty high even at rest. I don’t have a HR monitor, so I told them mine was most likely around 88 since I am in such good shape. When is a good time for a laugh? Anytime.

dirty kanza 200

dirty kanza 200

Soon I felt such a burst of energy that I was in the lead and Jed and I rode pretty hard as Garrett disappeared behind. We waited for him on the top of a hill by an abandoned stone house. We were now a team and wanted to stay together and make it to checkpoint two. I wouldn’t have been able to recover without Garrett’s help, so we waited for him to push up the hill.

There was one other thing I was dealing with on this second leg. Remember in the morning how i didn’t have a “good showing” in the bathroom? Well, now I needed a bathroom and quick. After that hill Jed and I rode on and Garrett was soon too far behind to see. Did I feel bad? Yes. I didn’t want to leave Garrett. But more than that, I needed a bathroom as things were wanting to move right along. Jed and I stopped, and Jed being one of the nicest people I have ever known, went back to find Garrett. I then pounded the pedals to make it to a bathroom at the second checkpoint. I was feeling so good – no cramps and really not too tired. The heat was quite oppressive at this time though. As I rode through the last few miles, I was worried for Garrett. Some of those roads collected heat and it felt like I was riding through an oven. I kept on pedaling hard for the second checkpoint.

I passed another rider. He was laying in the road under a tree. I made sure he was OK and I kept moving. I made it to the midway checkpoint in Florence feeling good. Woo Hoo!

I grabbed the next map and noticed there were no bathrooms around. I had to ride down the road to get to the gas station. Then I had to wait in line for the toilet. I made it and found sweet relief.

Looking around at the people that were at the second checkpoint I saw something that I couldn’t believe. Joe Meiser. I walked up to the Lelan and the Salsa support vehicle and something like, “OMG, I caught up to Joe Meiser! “My day is complete, it doesn’t matter how I do now!” Joe being the great guy that he is gave me a high five before he took off for the third leg. I caught Joe Meiser. OK, so he had flat issues and was having a bad day, but I caught Joe Meiser. He’s kind of a big deal.

Seriously, that made my day. I was ready for a 30 minute break and then a 60+ mile ride to Council Grove.

Lelan asked where Jed and Garrett were. I told him the story.

“You left them?” he asked.

“I had to,” I said. “I gotta get to the bathroom.”

He he high-fived me. “Good job man.” Lelan is kinda hard core.

Then I saw Kevin Collings. What the? I walked over there, still not sitting and resting, to see how he was doing. He said he was out. I would not hear any of that. His wife and I agreed he should come sit by us and continue his break and then ride out with us. We would not go that fast and quitting is just not his style. His wife sounded tougher than him, wanting me to keep him riding. Not cool Kevin. He needed to suck it up. Finally I sat down and Jed’s wife, Renee, gave me some ice that I put on my neck to cool me down. Thanks so much Renee – that was awesome. Time for some pickles and real food. Later Kevin came over to sit with us and get ready to ride with us to Council Grove, some 60 miles away.

dirty kanza 200

Coming back from talking to Kevin

dirty kanza 200

 Pickles, Bananas, good friends and little Emory Wintle has her DK200 game face on!

Then trouble hit as I sat in my chair. Big trouble. Bobby Wintle was a saint and was lubing and adjusting our bikes for us as we sat in the shade. I told him my shifting was off. That turned into an hour long mechanical nightmare. The 30 minute rest turned into over and hour and closer to two hours. What did I learn? I should replace cables and housings before a big ride. I thought when I dropped my bike off and asked for a tune up, it covered that stuff. Not so much. Good thing Bobby was there as he replaced a cable and made adjustments. But now my quick break strategy was shot dead.

dirty kanza 200

Bobby was sweating as…

dirty kanza 200

…we relaxed and shot the breeze. JJ is there by my side making sure I had all I needed. There is no better support than JJ Didde.

Then I looked over at Bobby. His cheeks were flushed and he looked a little stressed. A disturbing question came from his boyish lips.

“So which which gears do you usually use high or low?” he asked pointing to the big and small gears on the rear cassette.

“Dude, I need ALL of those gears to finish.” I was completely dead serious. With the hills, flats, downhills, and wind at my back for the next leg I would need all the gears. Singlespeeders shut up. I don’t understand you either.

dirty kanza 200

Then I became relaxed as I suddenly saw a good reason to drop out of the race. A reason even my readers could accept. Mechanicals. “It’s OK Bobby,” I said. “If you can’t fix it, I’m done” And I have to admit, after that first 100, I wouldn’t mind at all to call it quits. And it would be my bike, not me that made me quit. But then there was a problem.

Messing up my perfectly good excuse to quit, people started offering me other bikes to ride. Crap. I can only quit if there’s no other way. This was ruining that. Hopefully I’d be too small to ride big boy bikes. Then, there IS the rule about finishing on the bike you start with, so using another bike would be out.

dirty kanza 200

 Um, yeah,at this point it’s all about cooling down even if it scares the children.

dirty kanza 200

Adam used his medical training he got working for UPS to tape up my hand to cover that nasty blister. I wasn’t going to let that little monster stop me. And neither was Adam. Let’s ride!

Bobby got my bike fixed and we got ready to leave. Finally. Now we would get into Council Grove late. Obviously I was tired because the two hour break felt more like 35 minutes. But I felt fresh again as we left. I was just worried about finishing at two in the morning again. I really wanted to do better than last year.

Leg Three

Oh good, it was clouding up. That would help us stay cool as we had over 60 miles to ride to the next checkpoint.

We were all in agreement. If we make it to Council Grove we definitely would finish. I was feeling strong again. Kevin and I rode ahead. We made it to the top of a hill and then I saw them. Storm clouds. More than one, in fact it seemed like they were on three sides of us. We were definitely going to get wet. I decided to take a couple more pictures and then sacrifice my map and use that ziplock to protect the camera and phone. I was riding with others, so I figured it would be OK if my map was destroyed.

dirty kanza 200

 Jed and Garrett caught up on the hill

dirty kanza 200

Clouds with rain falling from them. Oh no.

dirty kanza 200

The road ahead. This may get interesting.

I didn’t know if we’d be able to finish if the storm got really bad. Dirt roads turn to thick, impassable mud. The only option is the field or the ditch – hike a bike. I figured we’d just ride on until we couldn’t anymore.

It started raining. Then it really started raining. Then it rained even harder. We were on dirt. I decided to ride hard and try to beat the storm. Maybe it wouldn’t be that bad. I wanted to get off the dirt as it was beginning to stick to my bike. Kevin and I stepped it up and were flying pretty fast. We passed a guy that was trying to use his phone.

He said to us, “Is this crazy?”

“It was crazy at 6:00 am,” I replied. “This whole race is crazy, might as well keep going.”

Kevin invited him to continue on with us. He did. Then the drops became like little missiles, bigger and harder. That guy didn’t last long. He was scared. He stopped and called for a ride. He was done. A little rain, killer lightning and high winds wouldn’t stop us. We kept going with lightning strikes all around. Soon I looked back and Jed and Garrett had disappeared. Darn it. I felt bad, but there was no way I was going to stop in this and wait for lighting to hit me. Although Kevin is much taller and riding a steel Salsa Vaya, so I felt pretty safe.

Soon Kevin became quiet. I tried to keep some sort of conversation going. The cold rain had me feeling wonderful. I was almost fresh again. Kevin was quiet and wasn’t looking too well any more. We kept on going pretty hard.

I had to stop to pee and when I was done Kevin was bent over his handlebars coughing and swallowing. He looked nauseous, but more concerning was his breathing. He was having trouble breathing. We were near a haybarn full of hay and cyclists finding shelter. As Kevin was looking down he noticed his Tangle bag was dripping. He pulled out his bladder and it was empty. Oh uh. He was out of water too.

“I have two full water bottles you can have,” I said. I wouldn’t need them in the cool weather we were now experiencing.

“No, I’m done.” Kevin was at the end of his ride. I told him to go into that hay barn and call Adrienne for a ride. Bummer. I have never seen Kevin like that. He is always way faster then me, and usually tougher too. Not today.

I really did not want to ride in these conditions by myself. A woman named Christine from Minnesota caught up with us. I decided to keep going with her. The conversation made the time pass and the company made me not so nervous as we rode through a thunderstorm. She didn’t seem even the slightest bit worried. That made me wonder about the weather in Minnesota.

The rain got heavier. The roads got stickier. The winds picked up. Soon we were riding in high winds and sideways rain. At this point it seemed completely normal to be doing such a thing as lightning struck the ground all around. We kept going, passing many cyclists taking cover in outbuildings and hay barns. I waved as we passed by.

We got to a pretty steep hill and Christine asked if we could walk it. Sure thing. I had to use the bathroom again and as I did so, I thought in normal, everyday life it would be weird for me to just pee in front of a woman I just met, but this is just par for the course at the DK200 or any other endurance race for that matter. It had to be done, so I took care of business.

Soon the roads were quite muddy and sticky. We started riding in single file with me in the lead. I tried to find the firmest part of the road as we trudged ahead. Sometimes I was successful at that and most of the time my tires sunk into the soft mud as we rode on.

Christine and I hung together for quite a few miles. I didn’t look how far as my glasses were covered in rain and I couldn’t see much anyway.

Then, as the rain subsided and we were riding pretty good, I had a flat on my Kenda Kwest on the rear. A little rock had busted through even the protective “K” layer of the tire and put a hole in the tube. I had to change my flat and remove the rock on the muddy, wet road.

Christine said she was having trouble keeping up with me so she went ahead. I told her I’d catch up and began to change the tube.

I had grit and mud all over me and I wanted to keep that off the tube as I changed it. That’s all I needed was to put something in the tire that would end up flatting me again. I did my best, but everything was covered in the wet, fine grit from the crushed limestone roads. Bummer. That took longer than I wanted it to.

I continued on and realized I was by myself without my map. I hoped the route markers would suffice.

I figured I would catch Christine and some other riders that passed as I changed the flat. Instead I came to a road that I knew was dirt. I had planned on taking my Adventure Monkey Tours on it last year. Maybe it wouldn’t be that bad. I saw tire tracks in the mud. Hmm, maybe it’s not that bad, looks like others rode through. I obviously wasn’t thinking straight. I made it maybe 100 feet before my bike was completely stopped by mud. The mud had clogged up the frame and the wheels were not turning. I looked ahead. I looked at the ditch. I looked at the field just past the barbed wire fence. I weighed all my options. I knew I had three to four miles of this goop. I’ve had to do a mile in mud like that before – carrying the bike and pushing when I could at last year’s Death Ride. It took about an hour to make it almost one mile that day. I was looking at four miles here.

I called it. I was really happy with my day. I rode hard. I made it through baking temperatures and cramps. I made it through mechanicals. I made it through a serious Kansas thunderstorm that stopped many riders. I had fun. I still felt strong. But I did not want to walk through the mud and come in after two in the morning. My race was over since I needed to go off route, and I felt OK about that.

I backtracked through the mud and got to some “clean” gravel to begin clearing mud from my frame so that I could ride again. That took a little time. I got back on and headed the opposite way. I would take the first road north and try to find HWY 56 to head into Council Grove. I wasn’t sure where I was compared to Council Grove, so I tried to pull out the map just to get my bearings. I took it out of the frame bag. It was folded up and full of water and limestone grit. I tried to unfold it. That wasn’t happening. It was trashed, completely unusable. I hoped for the best.

I saw riders in the distance that had also gotten off route to stay out of the mud. The race was on as I tried to catch them. Some company would be nice.

Suddenly, I realized something. The weather was better than pleasant. It was beautiful. I was riding my bike. I was feeling strong. At that moment I reached the cyclist’s zen. Everything was great. I chuckled at what I had been through earlier that day. The cool wind was at my face as a sunset was about to happen. I was happy. I was content. I realized my legs were far stronger than last year. I began to think towards next year’s DK200. I had to stop and get the camera out and shoot the sunset to end my day.

dirty kanza 200

 Dirty Kanza Sunset

dirty kanza 200

dirty kanza 200

One happy cyclist

Finally I caught up with a distressed rider. Her phone wasn’t working and she was a little worried about where her support people were. She seemed happy that I was riding with her. She thanked me for riding with her. Little did she know I was going about as fast as I wanted to. She was by no means slowing me down. I quickly realized I was riding in the Emily Brock, last year’s DK200 women’s winner. She’s no slouch on the bike for sure. Her front derailleur was knocked off on the first leg of the race and she was stuck in her smaller ring. That was most likely was how I caught her and stayed with her. I didn’t care. I was riding with Emily Brock. I was in good company!

As I rode I realized my bottom bracket was full of grit and it sounded sick. My bike sounded like a coffee grinder and only some of the gears worked. This was going to get expensive.

We finally made it to HWY 56. I had no idea where on 56 we were. We passed a sign for Herrington, KS. I wanted to get to Council Grove soon. Emily got on her phone which started working again and we were still about 18 miles out. Oy Vey. I thought we were closer. Oh well.

We soon caught up with Malcolm, a single speed freak from Lincoln, Nebraska. We couldn’t tell what was going in up ahead. Oh, OK, he had been given a beer by someone in a car and drank it before continuing on. In fact he was using his jersey pockets for empties. Whoa. That’s something I couldn’t do – drink beer and try to ride my bike long distance. I am pretty sure I would throw up, cramp or most likely, both. From the sounds of it, Malcolm had been drinking beer throughout the whole DK200. Wow. He was riding hard too. We formed a paceline on the highway to make good time. We did. Riding on the highway at night was not the funnest or safest thing to do. I wanted to make it back ASAP.

Malcolm’s jersey – water bottles, beer can and beer bottle

A van went by. Malcolm yelled something to the van. They pulled over. Malcolm obviously knew them. Soon I heard a question that was so lovely it was as if it came from heaven and floated down to my ears.

“You guys want some KFC?” They had fried chicken and beer. Beer I can’t do while I ride, but for some reason, maybe the 160 miles I’d ridden that day, fried chicken sounded delightful.

I used my filthy, gloved hands to reach into the bucket of goodness and grabbed a piece of fried chicken. As I brought it to my lips, my mouth was already full of drool. Now usually, I carefully peel off the skin of chicken before I eat it. Not this time. My brain was sending messages to my muscles to make sure I ate that fattening fried chicken skin. Each bite was more pleasurable than the next. Even the texture of the original secret recipe coating was delightful. I’ll be honest, that might have been the tastiest most satisfying food I have ever eaten in my life. I ate it with the furiousity of a mountain lion on a cylist. I think I even said, “Oh my God” as I ate every morsel of chicken flesh from the bone.

OK, so I was a little hungry. Now I really wanted to make it into town. I started fantasizing about different foods more than a teenage boy fantasizing over a Victoria’s Secret catalog. I needed some food. I had enough of my Cytomax and Nuun. I needed real food.

I laughed as I realized we were eating fried chicken and drinking beer on the side of a highway in Kansas. Cycling rules!

We made it the last few miles and made it to our finish line – Council Grove. What a trip! I had made it 172 miles total. My moving average ended up being 13.9 mph in those crazy conditions of heat, wind and thunderstorms. Not bad.

dirty kanza 200

This cement-like mixture covered my bike and me

dirty kanza 200

dirty kanza 200

My bike, in need of care

I asked Adam if he knew where Jed and Garrett where.

“They’re still out there!” he said.

Holy crap. They pushed and carried through the mud! We waited for them. Soon the cutoff came and went. They came in like 13 minutes late or something like that. Jed was crazy. He had crazy eyes and wanted to finish. They called the race director and were allowed to continue because of the extreme conditions. Off they went on their bikes. I headed to Emporia in a cozy car.

dirty kanza 200

Jed’s and Garrett’s bikes

We waited in Emporia for Jed and Garrett. I found out the our friends Scott O’mara and Randy Smith had both finished quite well. Randy had finished with an incredible time. Kristi Mohn had come within 8 miles or so of Emporia when her tire exploded, completely unusable. Bummer. She rode a strong ride.

We waited. We waited some more. I was tired. There was no way I wasn’t waiting for Jed. He was there for me last year and was there for me today. So was Garrett. I had to see them finish.

dirty kanza 200

dirty kanza 200

Stephanie from St. Louis finishes

Stephanie from St. Louis is crazed and confused after that massive effort. Seriously, unintelligible things came from her lips. I just told her “Good Job” and left her alone

Here they come – Jed and Garrett!

dirty kanza 200

dirty kanza 200

They made it. All that were there were so proud of them. I knew what the had to go through to get there. I couldn’t believe it. They came in a little after 2:00 am.

dirty kanza 200

Oh my, Garrett looks very worn out. I knew he was worn out a long time ago, so to stick it out and finish is pretty incredible.

 Wow, what a day. Monkeys well fed! Already thinking about next year’s strategy. I have big goals for next year.
Feed Your Monkey!
Eric