What a day. I came for an adventure and Dirty Kanza certainly didn’t disappoint.
Coming off a rough spring as far as life stress, terrible weather and then getting hit by a car at the peak of my training... My goal of the day was to stay present and focused in the moment and not freak out about the enormity of the task at hand. I turned off all my apps and tracking devices and focused on being grateful for the experience; I got to spend a whole day doing something that I love!
Here’s a recap of my day, along with all of my rookie mistakes:
Mile 1 - 64: It was an absolutely beautiful morning! I felt fantastic other than the fatigue in my shoulders from using my new Camelbak for the first time (mistake #1). Cinnamon was having issues using her gears, she was jumping around like crazy and at one point the chain got completely stuck and I couldn’t pedal. I knew going into the event that her chain was on its last leg but the shop recommended not replacing it until after the race (possibility mistake #2). Anyway, I found the five gears I was able to use and kept rolling.
Mile 64 - 100: The pain caused by my Camelbak escalated and we strapped it to my bike to save my shoulders. It was getting hot quick and I was worried about staying hydrated. I used a different type of hydration tablet, it ended up being pretty tasty and we kept moving up and over "some" big hills. When I could breathe and raise my head up enough to look around the views were absolutely breathtaking. Going downhill was the fastest I’ve ever gone on a bicycle. This section was challenging, beautiful, exhilarating and terrifying all at the same time.
Mile 100 - 120. The wheels totally fell off. When we stopped for water at mile 100 I dropped another one of my "new" tablets in my water, well this one tasted like a warm sack of vomit (mistake #3). I stopped drinking because every time I took a sip I threw up in my mouth a bit. The heat and the hills kept coming, there were zonked-out cyclist everywhere... sitting under trees, laying in the shade in the ditch, hiding out in old barns. My mental game when in the 🚽. I kept pushing, wanting to test my limit but also distinctly aware of crossing the threshold into having a heatstroke. I started having to walk up the big hills. I LOVE to climb but the climbing was jacking up my heart rate too much I wasn't recovering well.
Mile 120 - 140. We FINALLY roll into the water stop at mile 120. We were way later than we wanted to be. After taking a quick stock of the situation my training partners and I realized that we had to change strategy. We sent CJ off so he could finish the thing. CT was working on fixing a flat and I was focused on bringing myself back from the mental and physical trashcan I had been occupying for the last 20 miles. I ate a bag of frosted animal cookies (lifesaver!) and perked back up. CT tried two tubes with no luck. I decided I still had a little fight in me and went for a solo cannonball run for the checkpoint at mile 151.
I shot off like a rocket and get to mile 125 before I realize that I don’t have the route (mistake #4) the sun is going down and I have no lights (mistake #5) or my glasses (mistake #6). There were two people ahead of me and hoping that they were more equipped I turned up my music and absolutely smashed the pedals. I latched on to them and they were so nice to me. I will probably never see them again but I want them to know that I love them and appreciated this kindness so so much. They kept trying to make pleasant conversation with me but I was mostly nonverbal at this point, crying and riding my bike at the same time.
We got to mile 140 when the sun had set and everything was turning into a blur for me. I can’t see at night. As they all turned on their lights I realized it was irresponsible for me to continue. I didn’t want to risk falling and ruining the summer for my family... so I stopped.
I am disappointed but at peace. At the rider’s meeting Jim said to find your limit and I feel like I accomplished that goal. I learned a lot, mostly that I still have a lot to learn. It was an amazing day and I can't wait to get back out there. :-)