I spent most of Monday hitting refresh on my inbox waiting for one email. That email was the results of the drawing for entry into the Dirty Kanza 200. It’s a 206 mile bike race across gravel roads starting and ending in Emporia, Kansas. Finally, at around 4pm ET the email arrived. I got in!
What is Dirty Kanza 200?
Dirty Kanza 200 is arguably the biggest event in the U.S. bike racing scene today. It’s a mass start event and so many people want to do it that there is a lottery to get into it. Elite professionals like Ted King and Alex Howes are guaranteed entry, but the rest of us have to hope to get picked. Much like the Boston Marathon in running, the pros up front are trying to win and everyone else is in it to do their personal best that day (that’s me).
“What Have I Gotten Into?”
Judging by the social media posts of others who got into DK 200 everyone reacts to the news with a mix of excitement and “holy crap! what have I done?”
I’ve ridden more than 200 miles in a day before. The difference this time is that the riding will be almost entirely on dirt or gravel roads. That adds more challenge to the process. Riding on gravel is just generally harder on the bike (flat tires, dirt and mud in chains and sprockets) and on the body. There are water crossings involved in the course. There’s also the fact that this race is self-supported which means I have to carry everything I need and can’t accept outside help except at the neutral aid stations (there’s only three).
So what I’ve gotten myself into over the next four months is a whole lot of training. Rather than using my completely amateur guide to preparing for a 200 mile ride I’m going to follow a structured plan created by a professional coach. The plan that I’ve chosen is based on heart rate zones as well as power zones. I chose it because it’s something that I can start indoors and finish outside when the weather in Maine finally cooperates enough for outdoor riding.
Making more time for training is going to require being more efficient with my work time. I’ve reactivated the StayFocusd Chrome extension to limit my social media time to ten minutes a day. My leisurely 30 minute lunches at school will probably be replaced by working lunches.
There will also be some changes to my diet over the coming months. The biggest changes being the frequency with which I eat and making a better effort to stay hydrated throughout the day (less coffee, more water).
Some people have asked why I would sign up for this race and not something a little closer to home. As I mentioned above, DK 200 is kind of like the biking equivalent of the Boston Marathon. I want to test myself in the biggest event I could find. The bottom line is I’ve signed up for an adventure. I’m excited. I love adventure!
What’s It Like Inside the Race?
There is no shortage of YouTube videos about the race. A couple of the videos that I’ve enjoyed about are this one from Ted King that provides a professional’s view of the race and this one from GCN that has an amateur’s view of the race.
Wish me luck!
I’m going to need it. My goals right now are to finish before dark and have fun!