It was October 2010. I was sitting around a campfire with friends, acquaintances, and teammates. Very casually I brought up the Dirty Kanza 200, a 200 mile gravel ride through The Flint Hills in Kansas. The mention of this race/ride was met with several different reactions.... such as, "what kind of person does that", "I don't have the time to train for that", and "now that's f****** crazy"! Within minutes I said "I'm going to do the DK in 2011". I'm not sure if anyone took me seriously as I had been riding a bike for 2 years, mountain biking mostly. My gravel experience was lacking but I was confident I could learn. Several minutes later the conversation switched gears and I left the camp site to go to the car. On my return trip I overheard a conversation and stopped dead in my tracks to hear it. They are talking about me.
YOU: "dude there's no f****** way"
Dude: "maybe dude, maybe"
YOU: "she could never ride 200 miles, she's trippin"
Because of YOU, it's all because of YOU. YOU have fueled my fire. YOU have kept me going despite all the times I wanted to quit. YOU must have delighted in my DidNotFinish in 2011. Mother Nature screwed a lot of us that year. I bet YOU thought I would give up and not return to have another go at it. YOU were wrong!
Since my first initial failure I have tried to build myself up to become unstoppable. I put in time at the gym flipping tires and punching things, thinking of YOU and your remark as the days passed. While out riding and climbing hills, I'd imagine YOU at the top and I would get to kick YOU in the face as I pass by, LOL.
Redemption was mine in 2012, finishing around 1 a.m., over 19 hours of pedaling. Returning in 2013 I finished at 1:30 a.m., that was the year of the wind. (video here) I returned in 2014 with a goal of 17 hours and crossed the finish line at 16:57. I got to see the party! This past 2015 Dirty Kanza presented its own set of challenges, MUD!, enough said. Crossing the finish line at 1:15 a.m., another 19 hour finish, exhausted, cold, and smothered in mud. Oops, forgot to mention smiling and satisfied.
I would like YOU to eat your words. I want YOU to be wrong, again. YOU probably think my luck is going to run out, that I'm getting older, (47 this year) and there is "no way" I can finish. Well, YOU may be right or YOU may be wrong. All I will tell YOU, and the other six people reading this, is that I'm going to give it hell! I am prepared to turn myself inside out in order to cross that finish line. I will keep moving forward until I can't pedal another stroke. My backup plan is to crawl and drag my bike behind me. Unstoppable, just one more time.
In addition to experiencing another finish, which is amazing in itself, there is an opportunity for more. Five Dirty Kanza 200's is over 1000 miles. Dan Hughes deemed that five 200 finishes were worthy of a gravel goblet, which is owned by only men. Because of YOU I have set my sights on this and will not rest until I accomplish it. So, thank you YOU.
YOU are still an a$$hole.