I guess I can finally give my thoughts on the most grueling bike event I've done to date. In case you don't know the scoop: It's 200 miles. It's one day. It's some of the worst gravel and minimum maintenance roads Kansas has to offer. Not to mention the hills. But, I'm not going to go into the ol' 'Kansas ain't flat' rant that all Kansas bikers are quick to proclaim. (Even though it isn't flat.) And unfortunately I can't throw the wind into the mix. Kanza means 'people of the south wind'. You should now assume that Kansas is typically windy. Not to mention the threat of tennis ball sized hail, which we were fortunate enough to miss. Hopefully the picture is shaping up in your mind that these were not the ideal conditions to be riding your bike. (Although not the absolute worst either)
The High Gear squad was out in near full force with 6 of us donning the red and black. Gotta represent the High Gear. (Located at 504 commercial, downtown Emporia!) Everyone was feeling good going into 100 miles, but unfortunately this was a 200 mile race. Matt did his best to beat the curse, but there's no arguing with the body. For the third straight year some tummy turmoil ended his ride just short of the finish. Garret attempted to fight through some early cramps and ventured out for the third leg. But, after being subdued by Mush Rush hill he decided to call it quits at mile 150.
Timzilla was not to be denied this year and despite being a homeless man, with little more than the clothes on his back and a bike, finished 3rd for the second straight year. Jim was able to stay close behind and finish a strong 4th. Mad Mike, the engine that led the charge for most of the day, churned his way to an 11th place finish. Arguably he could have finished a tad higher, but 200 miles was not enough for this man. He decided to take a scenic detour and add 15 miles to the total. Then there was myself. After three flat tires deflated my resolve (There was much waiting because being the fool I am I was very unprepared. Thanks to those that assisted!) I questioned whether or not I would finish. However, a well timed sign of encouragement got me to the third checkpoint. And since I had gone that far I didn't see why I should quit there. With water in the bottles, food in the belly, and a bit of air slowly leaking out of the rear tire, I made my final push for the finish. I would like to have said it was all down hill from there, but in reality, it was exactly the opposite. But, not to be denied and with much appreciation for all that supported me during the day, I crossed the line.
15 hours and 32 minutes will take a toll on the body. After consuming 288 ounces of water and who knows how many calories I was still 6 pounds lighter and had quite the hangover. There was nothing left to do, but go to bed. They've heard it before, but a huge thanks to the Heartland guys that make these races happen. Keep 'em comin'!
p.s. A special thanks to my fan club! You guys inspire me to always do better then my best, Love ya!