Over 120 like-minded peeps showed up on Sunday to ride, even a tandem from Texas. Registration was quick and easy. The number 58 was marked on my left leg and I was off to prepare the drop bag I would see at mile 46. The drop bag was an awesome idea since I was breaking in some new shoes on this ride. The pre-race meeting scared the crap out of me immediately as Bob told us that " the rednecks out here hate cyclists", " the dogs are pissed off ALL the time", and a story of a guy who has a sign in his yard that says he will shoot you if he feels like it. I say a short prayer just to survive whatever lays ahead of me, put on my helmet, and accidentally break my glasses. Not having a spare pair, I made do and put them back together. I have had worse starts.
I am not familiar with the area we were going to be riding in, so my plan was to stay with small packs of people who looked like they knew where they were going. I passed my husband about 15 miles in. He was okay, he was pacing himself on his single speed, preparing for a long day in the saddle. It was incredibly hot, the kind you feel yourself cooking from the inside out. I was glad to have chosen a pair of bibs, a sports bra, and a safety vest to ride in. Apparently my safety vest is broken because there were several cars and one HUGE white truck that had difficulty seeing me. The cars and trucks flew past us, too close for my comfort, spraying gravel and dust. Bob was correct, they do hate cyclists out there.
I had the pleasure of riding with Karen Holtman and her man, Loreen Matson, and Steph McCreary until a few miles shy of the bag drop. All of a sudden, I was working so hard to stay with them and they just kept drifting away from me effortlessly . A short stop at the bag drop and I was on the last piece of single track. That was good because that shit sucked. The mud and poo was thick and deep, it seemed endless. The horses destroyed what would have been an easy trail for a cross bike to ride. It was not worth the energy to ride most of it, so I walked and picked the ticks off my legs. Coming out of the woods I realize my back tire is almost entirely flat. When did that happen? I did not have a flat, so where did the air go? Maybe that was what was slowing me down? Two trail angel fellas hooked me up with air and I was on my way.
I picked up some new riding partners here, Zoll ( my teammate ), his gal Molly, and a nameless dude. We worked well together, some worked more than others, but it worked. The fellas were a short distance ahead of us when Molly and I encounter a dog around mile 60. The dog goes straight for her, showing its sharp teeth and viciously nipping at her. I yell for her to pedal and see her miss-shift. I hit my brakes and maneuver my bike in between her and the dog. Maybe not the smartest move since I am now dog bait, but I couldn't stand by and watch her get bit. He licked and slobbered on me, he was so close. That was scary.
On the way to the gas station, mile 75 or so, we crossed the Hwy to a truck with a big WATER sign. Psyche. There is no water. F*ck, I am almost out. Little did I know that the answer to my prayers was just right around the corner. Nick Smith's dad was sitting in his front yard with a cooler of ice cold water. He was happy to see us since very few riders had stopped for water. Probably because they had stopped at the water truck.
Finally, we reach the gas station. I walk into the frigid, ice cold air and then immediately back out. Wow, that felt good. Too good. I went back in quickly to buy what I needed and got the hell outta there. I had managed to catch Lo and Steph, who were cursing the "bitch of a hill" up next. They referred to it as the "Wendy Davis". Very funny girls....
Leaving the station, we are now headed to climb the hill which takes us to the Nuclear plant. We went a little off course here for a photo, not realizing we were going to pass right by it while heading to the Katy Trail.
|Can you see me?|
We are now a party of five, Zoll, Molly, myself, Tyler and Rob. Everyone is rolling along, minding their own business, concentrating on the last 25 miles when I decide to shake things up. Well, it was not my decision entirely. Long story short... rolling 15- 18mph, I nail a dog. He felt like a wall. He did not move or make a sound. I however was thrown to the ground, THUD, both feet still clipped in. My posse looks at me laying on the ground like they can't believe their eyes. Zoll twists my left foot out of my pedal and helps me up. I feel like I was in a cartoon, you know, with the ring of stars circling my head. Damn, that hurt. I am scratched up on my right leg and right arm. I had my Iphone in my small pack on my back so I shouldered the fall. It's funny what you think about while you are falling to the ground... "protect Iphone".
This is where I pull out the Sasha card. I was so pissed that dog was there and even more pissed when the guy walking next to it said it wasn't his dog. I guess he was just trying to get outta there alive with five bikers ready to kick his ass. I can't blame him for that. After a few minutes we are back in the saddle, pedaling down the Katy. It took me a minute to work the soreness out and channel my anger into pedaling faster to finish. Within a few more miles, I encounter another fierce, teeth showing dog. I have had it with dogs at this point. A primal scream comes out of my mouth warning him not to mess with me. It works and he stops in his tracks.
It starts to get dark. I must have seriously miscalculated how long this was going to take. Wait a sec... I did not calculate at all. Should I have brought a light? Luckily the others were prepared and I didn't need one. Upon finishing, I find Jim packing up the car. He congratulates me and hands me a well earned delicious ice cold Pabst. He informs me its about 820pm. Eleven hours and 20 minutes. At first I am disappointed it took me so long... which then leads me into a panic because we are two and a half hours from where our daughter is. She has school in the morning.
I quickly change clothes and scarf down two potaoes with cheese. The volunteers at this race were awesome. They provided us with cheers along the course and food at the end. SuperKate, your cookies were wonderful. We make it to our doorstep by midnight. Kiddo tucked in bed, I finally get a shower. As I watched the dirt and horse shit travel down the drain, I try to think of what I could have done better. I come up with NOTHING. If I had pedaled faster I would have been alone and most likely lost most of the day.
I survived Cedar Cross and learned a couple of valuable things for Dirty Kanza. I need new glasses, better water transport, and to stay the hell away from dogs. My nutrition works and my legs felt awesome. One last thing, I ride faster when I am pissed off.
Until next time,
Ps. I gave you the hug already Bob. See you in Kansas.