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.