Two years ago I finally took on the Dirty Kanza challenge. It had been something in my mind for a couple years and I had successfully finished a 12 hour mountain bike race the season before and felt like it was doable. Of course, I moved to Colorado a couple months before hand, making training a bit of a last minute scramble (February and March, I rode roughly 400 miles, then rode almost 550 in April after my move!). I knew after completing it, there were other things I wanted to do rather than spending the winter and spring getting in long road miles. So I put it off. I didn’t really push some of my goals last year and the short of it … I ended up signing up again this year.
Now, it’s 5 days out from the race, I have more miles ridden to date than 2012, but I kind of feel less prepared. My fitness is sometimes pretty random this year. Via the “magic” of Strava segments, I can see how 2014 hasn’t been as quick as 2012 in many ways, but I’ve been riding more. I would randomly PR on things that weren’t really specific to anything I was doing (like on climbing Lookout Mountain recently).
So I’m really unsure how things will proceed over the weekend. But after talking with some friends and family, I’m trying to keep the mental preparation simple: finish the race, make sure to drink water, eat, have some fun, and push through the tough bits. If I happen to be close to my two goals of beating my last time or (by some crazy happenstance) close to finishing before sunset … great. But days like DK are very difficult to predict and just difficult on their own, without imposing my ideas on it.
My setup is pretty much the same this year:
- Kona Jake the Snake
- Schwalbe’s now defunct Cyclocross Marathon tires (same ones as 2012). Backup wheels have Clement MSOs.
- Two feedbags and a tangle bag from Relevate: http://www.revelatedesigns.com/
- Osprey Raptor pack
The pack will again serve as my plain water source and hold my rain jacket and that’s about it. Everything else will be on the bike with food in feedbags and everything else in seat or tangle bags. This will also allow me to decide to ditch the pack if I feel like bottles are enough between checkpoints. I’ll change out hydration bladders at 100 miles and bottles at each checkpoint. This year the race is providing maps and cue sheets for the entire course ahead of time (normally they give you the first map the day before and the subsequent maps at each checkpoint), so I’m mounting the cue sheets in a homemade map holder. I’ll probably keep the maps separate and in the frame bag to grab when I want a little more context.
Looking forward to hitting the gravel again! Hopefully I feel the same after the pedals start turning :)