|Photo by Eric Benjamin |
Don't miss all the fun. Yes, that's my hubby with his hands up.
With the Dirty Kanza roughly six weeks away are you asking yourself.... What the hell was I thinking in January? Has your training been less than more? Did you not get to ride as much as you like? Did Mother Nature suck the motivation right out of you with the weather she dealt? Whatever has happened can be turned around in these next six weeks. Don't sell your entry just yet. If you are willing to work really hard I believe you can still pull this 200+ miler out of your ass and totally amaze your friends and family. "You are stronger than you think"
What you need to start doing as of today is....
FOCUS on your future training rides and not the ones that didn't happen. Put your time and energy into what you can accomplish from this day froward.
STOP comparing your training to anyone elses. Do what you can when you can. Don't half-ass any workout. Give it everything you have and then some.
STOP allowing negative thoughts into your mind, especially thoughts of DK failure. You don't want to bring any negativity to your training plan. However, if you happen to have some shitty negative stuff going on let it fuel you, do not let it destroy you. Negative things make me angry. I channel that anger into my workouts.
GYM TIME is still a must. Don't cheat your muscles. Keep them strong, this ride is going to challenge every single muscle you have and some you didn't know you had.
EAT good food! Eat clean foods. If you can give up fast food and processed foods you will improve your chances of finishing. Your training will be easier too. Reward your body with nutrition and it will carry you through damn near anything.
SLEEP, REST, RECOVERY. Make sure you get plenty of sleep, elevate your legs or wear some compression socks, and give your body a descent protein shake. (not the junk you buy at Walmart) Go to Supplement Superstore or GNC, expect to drop about $45. Totally worth it. Your muscles deserve it. Invest in a foam roller too. You will hate it at first, it hurts. Over time you will reap it's benefits and wonder how you ever got along without one. (Its okay to start with a cheap, less firm roller to get started. Gradually work up to the firmer rollers.)
If you don't have a plan yet I highly suggest you draw one up ASAP. You can't expect to be successful if you don't have a DK attack plan. Line out your next 6 weeks of training rides, leave a little wiggle room in case of the weather. You are responsible for looking at the weather and adjusting accordingly. Or just harden up and ride the trainer. You could use the mental training. Plan long rides on the weekend, around your work schedule or get up earlier to get in your miles. This is not going to be easy, you will need to put forth some effort, give up a few things , but if you want this bad enough it shouldn't be a big deal. In comparison those things are a small price to pay for braggin' rights to the DK. Dontchathink?
Now it's time to get your bike in tip top shape. You won't get far on the gravel roads of Kansas if your ride is not solid. Be safe instead of sorry and get it checked at your local bike shop. Tell them what you are going to accomplish on your bike. If they laugh ask why. You may not have the appropriate bike or they are just jerks. Either way, you are going to show them. Have them give it a tune it up, make it brand new like. Treat your steed to a new chain if needed, you will be putting in plenty of miles to warrant one. Check your hubs, bottom bracket, make sure your wheels are straight and true, and get your fit checked. If your bike fit is off you are putting yourself at risk of a lot of unnecessary aches and pains. Get the fit! Have the shop mark your stuff.(my seat post is marked) If your bike is not worthy purchase a new one. You don't want to head into battle on a substandard ride. You will be glad you did. Kansas gravel will chew you up and spit you out. Over and over and over. Lastly, pick your tires wisely. Flint Hills gravel is some sharp shit and some of the roads you will be riding are un-maintained farm roads. You never know what you are going to get. Plan on bumpy, rocky, gnarly, plan on a little bit of everything. Plan on cows and snakes too.
Practice with your gear. Last week I decided I was hauling my backpack every freaking ride to get used to it on my back. Carry your gear with you so you can practice using it. You don't want to learn on a gravel road in Kansas, alone, in the dark.
Practice your nutrition also. If you don't figure out what to eat and drink to sustain you for 200 miles you will be in trouble. Plan on how you are going to carry this stuff too. You just need to plan 50 miles at a time. How many calories are you going to need to reach each checkpoint? To finish the race? What works for you? How much water are you going to need? Make sure you practice eating and drinking while riding. Opening some items may be difficult. I remember having a hell of a time opening a Honey Stinger. Open that stuff first or put it into a small baggie you can easily open. I had a friend who used small dixie cups to put trail mix and m&m's in because it was easy to fit in her pocket and drink from. To each his own, you need to find what works for you.
Make sure you have all the gear you will need to pull of this extraordinary feat. You will need either a whole bunch of shit to do this or you won't. Everyone is different. You have to find what works for you. Some folks like to bring along everything but the kitchen sink just to ease their minds in case they need something. Maybe you are one of those people who only brings what they will need or takes their chances with the bare minimum. Either way you have to own it at the DK200. I found that putting all the fuels I wouild need for each Leg of the race in ziplock baggies to be quite helpful. I kept all of my other necessities, water, and extra clothing in a larger tote. I also marked all my stuff with my name to make it easier for my pit crew when we left the checkpoint in total disarray.
Get your mental game together, you are gonna need it. Kansas has a great reputation for making your DK visit memorable. You need to be prepared for anything. The weather could be shitty, you may get a flat tire every 30 miles, you could loose your water bottles (seriously, strap those down), your stomach decides to pull a number on you, anything can happen while riding 200 plus miles in the middle of nowhere. You have to be prepared for any and all of it.
Now go ride some gravel,