Around 160 racers, and 60 or so finishers. I was one of them.
Here’s a quick rundown as I can’t type or do anything else very well with my swollen and stiff fingers.
It was the hardest day of my life, on or off the bike. I felt every emotion at one time or another.
Something else I felt – cramps. 150 miles in? No. Thirteen miles in, I started to cramp. Thirty-some miles in I was fully cramped in my thighs. After riding 100+ miles every weekend for months, I thought I was good to go. I had never experienced cramps on any of these rides. Can you imagine how I felt? How could this be happening?
I had to stop, stretch, lose my middle of the pack position and keep going. After the first checkpoint, I rode forty-some miles cramping all the way to the half-way point. I was in pain. I was upset. I ran out of water. It was like I never trained at all. All I could think about was how many people I’d be letting down if I didn’t finish. I kept going, pedaling through the cramps.
I knew I had to do something different at the second checkpoint, the half-way point. I decided I was low on electrolytes and up to this point I was using Hammer enduralytes for electrolyte restoration. It wasn’t working. Long story short, pickles, pickle juice and nuun tablets got my electrolytes back in check. I used nuun tablets the rest of the way and the cramps were gone, but my muscles were sore and tired from almost 100 miles of cramping up to the half-way point. I also added beef jerkey and almonds to my on-the-bike nutrition.
At the third and final checkpoint I was feeling strong. I saw Adam, my support man, and said, “I’m back baby.” I ate more pickles, got my headlamp on and took off. I had 66 miles to go, almost there. This leg had the biggest hills I’ve ever seen in Kansas and as the sun set, I was blessed with extreme beauty.
Darkness. Farm roads with big tire busting rocks. Animal eyes reflecting back at me. Storm clouds full of lightning in the distance. Winds blowing. Every star in the night sky visible. Another moment of extreme beauty.This leg had the added element of fear. Fear of being lost, flatting on a rut called a road, and not being able to see more than five feet in front of me with thoughts of mountain lions dancing in my mind.
I finally made it to good gravel roads and just had to pedal into the finish line, around 28 more miles. The longest 28 miles ever. I was tired and my backside was feeling like ground beef.
I finally rolled into town, thinking everyone would be gone since it was 1:45 a.m. To my surprise and inner joy, I had a very large cheering section to bring me home. Thanks everyone, you don’t know how much that meant to me. I can’t even put into words the emotions I felt at that moment. Sorry I took so long.
Also, I need to thank a few other people. Adam and the Didde family for being the best support crew I could have ever had. Thank you for all your help and support. A rider from Oklahoma that gave me a few swigs of water and some enduralytes on the second leg. Another rider from Missouri that gave me shot Cliff shots, also on the second leg. Jim and Joel for putting on such a great race and for marking the route well, because I was too delirious to even look at the maps. AND All of you for the support and motivation.
Remember what I said a few posts back? I am no one yet I am everyone. It’s your turn to do something great. The full DK 200 post coming later, stay tuned.
Feed Your Monkey!