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.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Jealousy At The OT100 MtB

"All work and no play makes Johnny a dull boy"  Well, it makes Sasha very grumpy, unhappy and  I feel fat. Not a good combination.

  Unless you live under a rock without internet you know about the OT100 MtB and that is set to take flight this coming weekend.  It is quite an amazing feat to have 76 solo riders and 8 teams sign up for this fundraiser.  An incredible 60 plus volunteers signed up to help man check points, shuttle riders, and various other duties to help bring this logistical nightmare to fruition.  Point to point races are rare, that is what makes them special.  If you get an opportunity to do one I suggest you take it.

As you know, I enjoy long bike rides. I have a cross bike and a mountain bike and am happy to take either on  crazy, long/difficult terrain for many miles, many hours.  The Dirty Kanza 200 is my favorite gravel grinder but I have yet to find a favorite long distance mountain bike race.   My husband is the master of  maps and race ideas.  I can't tell you how many stories I have heard about potential races.  I have heard endless start points and finishes over the years.  This year he started to figure out a logistical nightmare of 100 miles point to point on the Ozark Trail.  I really didn't think too much about it and listened to his ramblings like usual.  As the event started to come together I was very excited to be a part of this, it would be very challenging on my Kona single speed but I felt incredibly confident since my DK went so well this year. Knocking 2 hours and 33 minutes off last years time will do that.  I felt strong and my mind was definitely in a good place.  I could do this, the only questions were... " how long was it going to take and which gear do I pick"

I started to fantasize my attack.  I would break down the race into FIVE separate races.  Basically, start to CP1, CP1 to CP2, CP2 to CP3, CP3 to CP4, and CP4 to the finish.  The first race was 28 miles but also the hardest section with the most hike a bike. All I had to do was get through that with a good attitude and feeling strong and tackle the next race.  It would be that easy.  Right?

My training plan was to get back in the gym for a month, HARD, and add in some trail riding.  I was stoked!  Know which gear do I need?  I thought 32x20 would suffice, but would check with my fellow singlespeeders to see what they thought.  After hitting the gym  I would gradually add more trail miles... I had plenty of time to get my shit right. Plenty of time, Sept 6th was several months away.  Wooohoooo.

Then came the day when I found out/realized that I would be a huge part in the race but it would not  require my bike.  Confused? It seems my help was needed elsewhere. You see... I am the person who signs up for the race, trains for the race and pedals race day. I am not a race promoter/organizer and really have no hopes of ever being one BUT... just this once I made an exception.  I would volunteer to make this happen.

My bike is mad and I am sad but we will get over it. It will be very hard to stand by and watch others achieve greatness and conquer this trail. I will use this to my advantage though.  I can watch and learn from all the riders.  I will see what works, what doesn't, what could be done better. Before I started biking I volunteered at several races to watch and  learn.  Those were well spent hours. I was able to learn from others mistakes and see what types of gear they use.

As the day of the event draws closer I don't have to tell you how jealous I am of the riders that are participating.  I am surprised I have not turned a shade of green yet. I want so badly to throw on a helmet and toss a leg over my bike but it's not going to happen.  I am fortunate that I will not be at the start of the race or see it.  I won't get to feel the energy or be a part of last minute nervous chats. I won't see the excited wild eyed looks before they set off and that is fine by me.

Next year I will pay my $$ and pedal to the finish.  I have plenty of time to fine tune my nutrition and get my legs, core, and arms in order.  I have another year to work on superior attitude and superior state of mind.

Having put a tremendous amount of time and energy into this event I can only hope it is a crazy success and I can retire on top.  Is that too much to ask?

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Easy Balls

There are many commercial gels, Gu's, bars, wraps, and balls on the market for endurance junkie consumption. There is also a lot of shit, bars filled with garbage and empty calories that hurt your pocketbook and your performance.   I am constantly looking for new foods to eat while on long bikes or runs. This new food has to be perfect. It has to fuel me.  It has to taste good.  It has to be easy to eat.  Easy to transport.  Easy on the belly. Easy to make.  Easy to afford.  Well, I think I have found it, easy balls. Simple, quick, cheap fuel.  Tell me some more.


1 cup of oatmeal flakes
1/2 c honey
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/3 to 1/2 c milk chocolate chips

Mix all four ingredients into a bowl using a wooden spoon or your clean hands..  Use a spoon to form small balls and place them on a cookie sheet.  Place balls in fridge for two hours.  Enjoy!  These can also be frozen in batches for future consumption.
WARNING: double this recipe.  Something happens after you roll a couple of these up and  they start disappearing.  Quick.

There are several additions you can make to this simple recipe.  You can add flax seeds, coconut, chopped pretzels, or finely chopped nuts.  You could also make several substitutions:  sub semi- chocolate, sub dark chocolate, sub small M&M's, sub almond butter,  you get the idea.  These Easy Balls don't last long at my house.  They are a great quick snack, quick energy.  I send them in my daughters lunch and the hubby takes them on biking and sawyer outings.

The Midwest has been experiencing very mild temps this summer so I am not sure how these do in the heat.  I expect it could melt so put them in a baggie and hope for the best.  I know these will be my go to snacks for all things trail related especially as the Fall approaches.

Hey, you probably have all these ingredients on hand.  Go make some. Let me know what you come up with.

Yoga Pants

This story took place last year, December 2013, around Christmas-time.  I had been working my tail off at the gym trying to get in shape for the Dirty Kanza.  My husband couldn't keep his hands off me, which is great when you have been married 15 years. Normally Jim does not tell me what to wear but after seeing me in Victoria Secret yoga pants he forbade me to wear them in public.  Now I usually listen to my husband but found this to be a ridiculous request.  I could wear what I want , when I want.  After all I am 44 years old.

One day while wearing said yoga pants I had to run to Walgreens.  I planned to grab a few things and get home, it was freezing.  I had a hoodie on, hood and all to cover my head and ears.  I am in the gum aisle minding my own business, bent over the gum making my selection... when all of a sudden someone grabs my ass, I mean REALLY grabs my ass. Both hands, both cheeks.  Now I am not expecting this, I have no idea who just grabbed my rear, my hubby is at home.   I quickly clench a fist and get ready to throw a punch when I turn around to see a beautiful 18ish year old girl.  Long brown hair and wild eyed staring back at me. She has a "What the hell did I just do" look about her.   She immediately starts to apologize.

Her: I am so sorry (mortified but smiling)

Me:  ( BIG eyes, I almost hit you)  Whoa, why did you grab my butt?

Her:  I thought you were my friend, Jennifer from school, we are in the same grade.

Me:  Wait a sec, school?   What grade are you in?

Her:  I am a Senior at FZH. Again, I am so sorry.

Me:  How can I be mad at someone who thinks I have a high school ass?

Her: (Speechless, eyes still a bit unsure of the situation)

Me:   ( HUGE smile, I want to hug her) Really, no worries.

Her:  Merry Christmas

Me:  Merry Christmas

When I got home I immediately informed my husband what happened.  He laughed and said that was the reason why he didn't want me to wear the VS yoga pants in public.  How did he know some 18 yr old girl was going to grab my ass in Walgreens?

Ps.  I can't wait to break those out this Fall.

Bless the creator of yoga pants, they made a 45 yr old ass look 18!