Sunday, March 22, 2015

Welcome Warbird

This post will be brief and supply you with just enough information to make you hate me... if you don't already.  My husband bought me a 2016 Salsa Warbird for my 46th Birthday. He stored it in my brothers garage until the unveil on Friday night. I was completely surprised by this gift since we had decided  that we would just tweak my magnificent Kona Jake the Snake '11 instead of purchasing a new bike.  I did not need a new bike.

My maiden voyage was a quick hour, approximately 15 miles of mixed road and gravel on my Birthday.  My daughter's 9th birthday party had been scheduled for that night  and I had errands to run beforehand.  In just that short hour I was hooked. Damn, this bike is going to be fun.

Isn't he handsome?

The following day, Sunday, he tossed my Chamois Butt'r kit on the bed and said "Stay gone for a long time today".  I got my stuff together quickly and was on the Katy Trail around 10am. It was a beautiful day, sunny mid 60's.  The trail was very busy,  I must have said "on your left" 80 times, at least.  I rode from Research Park 31 miles, just passed Marthasville and turned around. The Warbird sliced the headwind on the way back like a chainsaw.

My favorite tree on the Katy

First Reaction:  Holy Sheeit!!  This bike wants to move, fast.  I love the 34/50T gearing.  I used every gear today and the shifting was superb.  There are a few things I need to do to make it 'mine' and I will throw some more info your way.

I am one happy girl.  Nice job Salsa, nice frickin' job!

Big thanks to Momentum Cycles for the speedy build and awesome customer service.  I will be getting a bike fit at their shop also.  New bike, different geometry I want to make sure I get the measurements correct.

Oooohhhhh, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship.  Also... I have a Kona JTS for sale. Stay tuned for info on that.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Dear Emma

Hey girl,

I know I have told you this several times but it bears repeating.  I want you to know how much I appreciate you.  I appreciate your commitment to me this past three Dirty Kanza's.  I couldn't have finished them without you.  I appreciate how you made my goal your top priority for that day.  You were there for me when I needed you most. You never complained or whined about the long hours and miserable pay.  You saw me at my absolute best and at my worst, and loved me anyway.

I like your no-nonsense style, you are a straight shooter, and the fact you don't beat around the bush.  Those three things in common made us a good team.  Each finish was better fought than the last.  I wanted to tell you how much I appreciate your support and enthusiasm.   You are a pro as a pit crew.  You don't take any shit from anyone, I like that.  You didn't treat me like a baby and make me "wipe my own ass".  I appreciate the slaps "into reality" and the slaps on the ass to get me back on the gravel.  I am proud that we did not have to use our "code word", not once.  I know you saw it in my eyes but I  never uttered it.  You gave me exactly what I needed exactly when I needed it.  You knew what to say if I had a rough 50 miles, and what to say as I left the checkpoint to ride another 50.  You handled my bottles and my camelbak quickly and always had extra ice.  I know I am giving you a big head but you deserve it.

  Oh, did you catch it?  I said "made" us a great team, like past tense.  Well...

I am writing you to inform you that your services will not be needed at this 2015 DK, you are fired.  The stars are in perfect alignment and it seems that my husband and my 9yr old daughter would like to support me. This is a bittersweet moment as I am sure you can understand.  I am letting you know this so you can put yourself out there for another brave soul who may need you, as you will offer your services to help anyone out.
I would like to keep you on retainer for 2016, but I need to get 2015 outta the way first.

Thank you so much for helping myself and others accomplish our goals!

You are amazing Emma!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

100 days To The Dirty Kanza

As of  Thursday, February 17th, we are officially 100 days out from the Dirty Kanza 200, the  2015 edition.  I know.... can you believe it? It snuck right up on us.   Shee-it!  What in the hell have we signed up for?  I already know and I am not sure if I am scared shitless or just  nervous, or a little bit of both.  You know.... anything can happen while riding 200+ miles in the middle of nowhere and it usually does.  So, have you been training?  Have you been taking your vitamins, sleeping good, and eating right?  If you haven't been serious and don't plan to be I highly suggest giving up your spot with a quickness.  In case you haven't heard ... the Dirty Kanza is kind of a big deal!  There are folks training now who hope you will bail so they can go in your place. So, it's time to get your shit together or get off the pot so someone else has a chance.  Be a good human and do the right thing.  I know my friend Lisa is looking for a spot.  Make her day!  If you are not up for the task pass it on to someone who is, it's cool, no hard feelings.

  The body will do whatever the mind tells it to do. Is your mind telling you to stay on the couch or get out a can of whip-ass? I believe that if you start from this day forward you can still finish this thing. Yep, seriously!  One hundred days is a lot of time, you can do this if you really want to.  Have you investigated your fuel choices?   If you don't know what to eat for this challenge you will be screwed.  You will also be hosed if your bike is not up to par.  Kansas gravel is beautiful but don't let it fool you, it's brutal. What tires are you going to run?  The DK200 is like a puzzle and you have to have all the pieces in order to complete it.  If any of these "pieces"  are missing you will break down and possibly not finish.  Oh yeah, have you thought about water?  how will you carry all your water?  This piece may not be a big deal anymore since the checkpoints have been reduced to only two and they will be providing additional water stations instead.  (Not sure how I feel about this)

This message had such perfect timing I had to share it. Receiving this made me look inside and admit where I am at and where I need to be.  I will use it as fuel, fuel to carry me through the next 100 days. Statements like this help me push through tough rides/workout and help me regain focus and evaluate my progress or lack thereof.

Hey Wendy! Just checking in to see how your Dirty Kanza training is going? Keep hammering!

I told him of the weather challenges but inserted my consistency in the gym. I asked if I would see him there. He said no...

But I'm going to do it next year. I'm still riding a bunch and am doing some fat bike races in Wisconsin over the next few weeks. Keep up the good work! I'm racing the Kanza through you!!

 This reminded me that people are watching me. There is someone that will be inspired to take on this gravel beast because a 46yr old female did it... three times.  I informed him of my 15:** hour goal and he says...

That's an awesome goal. You can do it!! We'll have to have coffee after you succeed and you can fill me in on what worked and what didn't work with ur training.
I'll keep checking in on you! I'm rooting for ya!

I love getting messages like that!  They stoke my DK fire, keep my fire hot.  That is just what I need right now.

There are many gravel rides coming up in the next few months here in the Midwest.  I hope to see you at one of them.  If you spot me ask me for some Chamois Butt'r, I usually have some to share. Remember to  Butt'r often or suffer the consequences.

If you are dead set on this craziness I will see you there.  High Five!!

Happy Graveling.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

I Signed Up For The Dirty Kanza... Now What?

Congratulations on signing up for the Dirty Kanza 200!  That was your first step to being awesome and accepting the challenge of pedaling daunting gravel in the Flint Hills.  Kansas is beautiful, good thing too, you will need the view to distract you from the pain and the screaming that will be going on between your ears.

You might be feeling a bit overwhelmed, keep reading , this will help.

First things first... Find a place to stay.  I am pretty sure that ALL hotel rooms are booked for the DK weekend.  In previous years they have opened up the Emporia State Univeersity dorms. From what I understand these are the way to go. Located  just blocks from the start/finish line and some food is included.  I heard they set out quite a spread of tasty vittles starting at 3:30am  race morning.

Second... Get a support crew.  Bribe them with whatever it takes, spare no expense... they are worth it. OR you can buy a support team through the DK.  The Never Let Go support crew will provide you with drop bag service at the checkpoints,  refills on water, sandwiches and other snack foods at your mid way checkpoints, and a ride if you need to abandon the event.  In other words, they have your butt covered. The fee is $75 for the 200 and $40 for the 100 mile ride.  If you choose this option, get on it. I believe they sold out spots last year.

Third... Make a plan.  You will need a training plan in order to be successful.  Buy or make a calendar to keep track of your miles and gym time.  Fill in your races and BIG rides.  Don't have a plan?  Google "double century cycling plans", there is a ton of info out there.  Use it and tweak it to your life.  Once you have the plan in place... do it!  But, be prepared, even the best laid plans have a way of getting screwed up.  Life happens, don't beat yourself up if you miss some rides.

While you are training.... pay close attention to what you eat or drink. You can't expect to ride like a champion if you shovel shit food in your mouth.  There are many options on the market regarding fuel.  Try your fuel choice many times before you get to DK.  You don't want to find out at mile 85 that it's not working for you.

Next... Figure out your bike set up. You have plenty of time....

 Pick your bike wisely, you will be spending a LOT of time on it.

 Make sure you like the saddle, saddle sores suck.

 Pick sturdy tires, gravel eats tires and spits them out, especially in Kansas.

 Calculate your fuel calories and water consumption you will need to complete each riding leg. How are you going to carry it?  What is going to work better? Bike packs or Backpacks? Combination of both?

 Lights!  You will need bright/superb lights for the nighttime portion, these gravel roads are not lined with street lights.

Mentality... while prepping your body for this epic battle don't forget about your head.  Staying positive is crucial, especially when everything is going wrong. The mind tells the body what to do, if it's not strong enough you will fail. Period.  So, get your head right.

Last but certainly not least.... Believe.

You can do this!  Remember, one of the greatest pleasure in life is doing things people say you cannot do.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Dirty Kanza Dreamin?

In Dec. 2009 I signed up for my first Dirty Kanza 200.  My husband bought me a crossbike, and one for himself, as I had talked him into riding it also.  It was our 11th weddin' anniversary and Jim's birthday weekend.  Some couples go to restaurants to celebrate, obviously we are wired a little differently.

I asked other cyclists for tips on training and what to eat on such long rides.  I formulated a plan and pedaled, a lot.  Mother Nature stole my 2010 finish by unleashing a storm of epic proportions, I made it to 110 miles.  That DNF fueled my fire for the next year.

So, are you thinking.... "Hmmmmm. Do I have what it takes? Should I sign up?"  Let me answer that for you.... Yes and Yes.  You have what it takes and you should sign up this Saturday, January 10th.  HERE  I suggest you get up early, cook yourself a nice breakfast, make coffee and sit in front of your computer and pull the trigger. Register and then find yourself a place to stay, space is going quickly but they should have the dorms available again to accommodate everyone.  Take a deep breathe, layer up and go for a bike ride.  Training Day #1 will be in the books.

Seriously, you can figure this out, if you want to .  There are plenty of blogs out there about the race, many perspectives to draw from.  Basically it comes to down to this...  if you are consistent with your training and are able to figure out your nutrition you will be successful.  A sturdy steed is also necessary and a mind of metal wouldn't hurt either.

Thanks for snapping this Gretchen. 

This will be my 5th time toeing the line .  Chamois Butt'r is letting me ride for them again, how cool is that?  My goal is 15:**.  I will be pushing for anything in the 15th hour but will be thrilled with another finish, sticker and pint glass.  My finish last year was 16:57:52.  I can shave an hour off right?  I have extra motivation this year, my 9 yr old daughter will be in my pit crew.  I would like to get her to bed at a decent time.

Hope to see you there!

*** My next post will be all of my Dirty Kanza posts with links.