DirtyKanza Training on Zwift?

Due to an injury on March 14th, discussed here, the last couple months of my Dirty Kanza training was done on a smart trainer, using the Zwift virtual training app.

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My Setup includes a CycleOps Magnus Smart Trainer

The Dirty Kanza is an ultra-endurance cycling event held every year over the Flint Hills of Kansas.

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Sundown was around mile one fifty during this year’s Kanza ride

The plan was pretty simple.  Focus on time and power rather than distance or speed.  The goal, twelve hours in the saddle, at whatever wattage could be mustered, 75% of the expected duration to complete the 206 mile course, in a single day.  Every week go a bit longer on the long day.  Work up to the peak, May 13th.  Afterwards, taper down, sprinkle in some real rides on pavement and gravel and prepare for the event on June 2nd.

Here’s the training plan in Strava (hours):

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Screenshot of Training Plan in Strava (hours)

How’d it go?  Still in the Breakfast Club (back of the pack) but shaved a bit off last year’s time.  It was another tough year, featuring stiff headwinds during the last half of the ride.  Out of 1,016 starters, 746 finished.

The official time:

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Screenshot of Results on Chronotrack

The ride on Strava:

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Screenshot of Ride on Strava

Distal Biceps Disruption

Last week while helping my wife load a household appliance we were donating into her aunt’s pickup was the sickening sound of my right bicep detaching itself from the elbow distal tendon.  The pain was bad, of course, but the realization of the extent of the injury was worse.  Suddenly plans of completing a 3rd consecutive DirtyKanza were nixed.  In addition to a surgical reattachment, performed yesterday, there’s several months of recovery and rehab before I can return to riding once again.

In situations like this one must focus on the positives.

  • Injury to right arm and I’m left-handed.
  • We have health insurance and can take the steps necessary for a full recovery.
  • Support of a wonderful family, friends and employer.
  • I can still code.
  • Inside trainer to maintain conditioning on order.

There’s not much value in thinking about the negatives or what-ifs.  Life has a way of throwing curve balls.  Find a way of knocking the cover off it anyway.

As far as what’s next.  I already mentioned the trainer which will be a way to maintain conditioning during the lull.

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Once the splint comes off and the brace is opened enough to hold on I am going to try and get some rides in (despite doctor’s orders) and we’ll see what happens come June 2nd.

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photo courtesy of http://www.swiftwick.com/sw/cycling/kanza-does-not-care-

 

 

2017 Dirty Kanza Finish Line

Note: This post is about my second Dirty Kanza 200 experience on June 3, 2017.


It’s broken into seven parts:

Part I – Prep / Training

Part II – Preamble

Part III – Starting Line

Part IV – Checkpoint One

Part V – Checkpoint Two

Part VI – Checkpoint Three

Part VII – Finish Line


Regroup

I went looking for Derrick but couldn’t find him.  A woman, found out later his wife…

“Are you John?” she asked.

I replied with my name and didn’t make the connection.  I’d forgotten the color of his support team and he got my name wrong so that made us even.

He caught up ten miles later, by then chasing the fast chicks.  I called out as they zoomed past, wished them well.  This is how it works.  Alliances change according to the conditions and needs from one moment to the next.

A lone rider stopped at the edge of downtown — Rick from Dewitt, Arkansas.  He was ready for takeoff.

“You headed out, how bout we team up?”  I asked matter-of-factly.  The deal was struck and then there were two.

Eventually, maybe twenty miles later, we picked up Jeremy, which made three.  It worked pretty well.  Not much small talk, but lots of operational chatter.  You’d thought we were out on military maneuvers.

  • “Rocks on left.”
  • “Mud — go right!”
  • “Off course, turning around.”
  • “Rough! Slowing!”

There were specializations.  For example, Jeremy was the scout.  His bike had fat tires and so he’d bomb the downhills, call back to us what he saw, letting us know of the dangers.  Rick did most of the navigating.  I kept watch on time, distance and set the pace.

By this time we were all suffering and made brief stops every ten miles or so.  We’d agreed that it was OK, had plenty of time, and weren’t worried.

Caught up with Derrick six miles from home.  Apparently he couldn’t keep up with the fast chicks either, but gave it the college try, and we had a merry reunion.

We rolled over the finish line somewhat past 2:00 am.

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Rick and I crossing the FL

Here’s the official video feed:

https://results.chronotrack.com/athlete/index/e/29334039

And the unofficial one:

My support team was there along with a smattering of hearty locals to cheer us and offer congratulations.

Jeremy, Rick and I had a brief moment where we congratulated each other before LeLan handed over our Breakfast Club finishers patches and I overheard Rick in his southern drawl…

“I don’t care if it does say breakfast club on there.”

Next were the hugs and pictures with my pit crew and I was nearly overcome with emotion.  Felt pretty good about the finish and I don’t care if it says breakfast club on there either.

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The Pit Crew, l to r, Me, Gregg, Kelly, Janice, Cheri, Kyle


Acknowledgements

In addition to my pit crew…

My wife Cindy deserves most of the credit.  She bought the bike four years ago that got me all fired up again about cycling.  Lots of times when I’m out there riding I should be home working.  Throughout this she continues to support without complaint.  Thanks baby, you’re the best, I love you.

Next, are the guys at the bike shop — Arkansas Cycle and Fitness, my support team back home in Little Rock.  They tolerate abysmal mechanical abilities, patiently listen to requirements, and teach when need be (often).  Time and again the necessary adjustments were made to correct the issues I was having with the bike.  They’ve encouraged and cheered, offered suggestions on routes, tactics, training, nutrition, hydration and everything else related to the sport of endurance cycling.

Finally, my cycling buddies — the Crackheads.  Truth be known they’re probably more trail runners than cyclists, but they’re incredible athletes, from whom I’ve learned much about training for these types of endurance events.  In the summertime, when the skeeters and chiggers get too bad for Arkansas trail running, they come out and ride which makes me happy.


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The End

2017 Dirty Kanza Checkpoint Two

Note: This post is about my second Dirty Kanza 200 experience on June 3, 2017.


It’s broken into seven parts:

Part I – Prep / Training

Part II – Preamble

Part III – Starting Line

Part IV – Checkpoint One

Part V – Checkpoint Two

Part VI – Checkpoint Three

Part VII – Finish Line


Hills

I mentioned earlier that this route was the same as last year’s, and so after finishing then, knew what to expect.  The second leg has about 55 miles and the tallest hills.

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Leg Two begins @ mile 49

From mile 49 to 79 there’s 30 miles of mostly uphill.  Many of these roads cross ranch land and are lightly maintained.  This is the place where fun and pain cross paths.

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Mile 62 was still fun

The winds were tame, the sun hidden behind a thick cloud cover keeping the temps down but it was muggy.

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Mile 76 getting tougher

It was this time last year when I hit the Wall.  But adjustments were made and was confident that trouble could be avoided.


Nameplate

As the going slows, the tedium grows, the mind struggles to find something to latch onto, and begins to play tricks.  Seemingly big things are downplayed.  For example, my left leg began cramping at mile 85, but I largely ignored it.  The terrain becomes treacherous, but I was unconcerned — just white noise.

Small things become a big deal.  For example, an airplane buzzing overhead, became obsessed with.  It seems stupid now that I pulled out my phone, aimed it up, and snapped pictures while navigating some of the most challenging terrain of the day.

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Took this one while riding…. airplane.

Anything to take the mind off the pain.  Don’t look at the odometer or the nameplate.  On its backside was three sad riders, my friends, who couldn’t manage to get it right. I empathized with them.

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Image on the back of nameplate of the happy and sad riders

And that happy rider, who got it right, wanted to rip his face off.  How dare he be happy while we were suffering.  Was he mocking us?  Did I too make a mistake hanging that plate and doomed like the others?

Yeah, I know it doesn’t make any sense.

For the most part, was doing OK, just slowed, by the cramps.  The changes to the rear cassette, and the hill training, performed as expected.  Remained in the saddle on climbs and only walked one hill — the BE-YOTCH.  Could have ridden it, but my cramping left quad begged me not.


Water

I went into detail last year about running out of water during the middle of the second leg.  This year included changes, adding a 2.5L Camelbak to a 1.8L bladder (framebag) and two bottles (cages) — 1.5L.  That’s about 1.5 gallons for those keeping score back home.

In addition to more water I also used (more) electrolytes, although not enough due to the cramping I experienced.  Had some electrolyte pills stashed in a pouch somewhere, but couldn’t find them.  Leaves me wondering if I’d still cramped with those tablets…

Still ran out around mile 95, nine miles from the next checkpoint.  Fortunately a husband and wife duo were parked at the end of their drive, with a pickup load of iced water bottles in its bed.  I stopped and asked if they would be so kind as to share.

“Are you dry?”, the man asked in his Kansas twang, to which I replied that I most certainly was.

“Take all you want”, he told me.

I downed a pint as we exchanged pleasantries, grabbed another for the road and just like that I’m good.

I grew up not far from here, so already knew well that good people run plenty in these parts.  But still get inspired by them. One of the reasons I keep coming back is to be with them as they celebrate their Flint Hills, during the late Spring festival known as the Dirty Kanza.


Eureka

From here on out I have in my pit crew, from l to r, Cheri, Gregg, Janice, Kelly and Kyle.

 

 

Kelly had just completed the DKlite, and was working his magic down in Eureka keeping the crew operating like a well-oiled machine.  Kyle was in from Seattle and Janice (Mom) from Salina.  You may recall that Gregg was my riding partner last year.  He couldn’t commit to the training but made sure he was there to lend a hand and offer encouragement along with Cheri, his partner, who also was in our pit last year.

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Kelly wearing the colors

That way when I rolled into town, weary from the road…

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Rolling into CP2

All I had to do was hand over my bike, eat, hydrate, and relax a bit.  I can’t tell you how much it helped me to have them there.

 

 

That time spent in checkpoint two renewed my spirit and provided resolve.

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Gregg made sure I tried his preferred energy drink.

I had a rough go in that second leg (again) but was feeling better than last year.  I could eat and had plenty of gas left to finish.  The muscles in my neck were beginning to ache and I took a few aspirin, changed into dry socks, ate and drank a bit, and hit the road once again.

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At 58 miles, the third leg is the longest.  I was feeling fine but storm clouds were brewing and I began to wonder what it would be like to ride through one…


Next Post: Part VI – Checkpoint Three

 

2017 Dirty Kanza Checkpoint One

Note: This post is about my second Dirty Kanza 200 experience on June 3, 2017.


It’s broken into seven parts:

Part I – Prep / Training

Part II – Preamble

Part III – Starting Line

Part IV – Checkpoint One

Part V – Checkpoint Two

Part VI – Checkpoint Three

Part VII – Finish Line


Intro

Running nearly the same course as last year, I knew what to expect.  The first leg is probably my favorite.  It’s wet, wild and the scenery stunning.  Sometimes it felt otherworldly.

 

Other times, just fun…

 

But this year I was determined to maintain a focus, preserve fuel by taking it easy on the climbs; staying down in the saddle.

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MS Photos

In this I was successful.  That 36T granny gear worked perfectly and I was feeling good rolling into Madison somewhere after 9am.

I signed up the Crew-for-Hire support this year, but only needed them at the first checkpoint.  They were great btw, filled my tanks, handed me cookies, cokes and whatever I needed.  Highly recommended.  There was also the SRAM team, providing us help with the bikes.  I handed mine over and it was returned, running smoothly — again.  Much needed as the water crossings dried out my drivetrain.

One small mishap occurred when I let my bike fall over during the reload.  It broke the gopro mount on helmet.  Oh well, should probably be paying more attention to the road.

Another change, from now on it’s Kelly & Co. as my pit crew.  He rallied the troops, after finishing his DK-lite route, drove down to Eureka, for our scheduled rendezvous at checkpoint two.

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Kelly finishing his ride Saturday.

Here’s what it looked like rolling into Madison.

 

 

And on into the checkpoint.

 

Looking OK on time so far…

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Next Post: Part V – Checkpoint Two

 

2017 Dirty Kanza Starting Line

Note: This post is about my second Dirty Kanza 200 experience on June 3, 2017.


It’s broken into seven parts:

Part I – Prep / Training

Part II – Preamble

Part III – Starting Line

Part IV – Checkpoint One

Part V – Checkpoint Two

Part VI – Checkpoint Three

Part VII – Finish Line


Intro

This year when that 4am alarm bell sounded I was ready, quickly rolled out of bed, did the needful, had a light breakfast with Kelly, who rode the 50 miler route, and rolled to the starting line.

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Saturday morning downtown Emporia


Mom and Kyle were waiting on us there and we snapped a few photos.

 

And just like that it’s time to roll!!!


 

 


Next Post: Part IV – Checkpoint One

2017 Dirty Kanza Preamble

Note: This post is about my second Dirty Kanza 200 experience on June 3, 2017.


It’s broken into seven parts:

Part I – Prep / Training

Part II – Preamble

Part III – Starting Line

Part IV – Checkpoint One

Part V – Checkpoint Two

Part VI – Checkpoint Three

Part VII – Finish Line


Intro

I’ve learned that one of the key aspects to successfully completing an ultra-endurance event like the Dirty Kanza is rest and this year I paid careful attention to that fact the weeks leading up to it.


Wednesday

Last year I arrived in Emporia the day before the race.  This was a mistake.  The flurry of last minute preps interfered with a good night’s rest.  This year’s was Wednesday evening, checked-in, and in bed by 8pm.  My plan was an early rise on Thursday, to get the (real) work done by lunchtime, and have the rest of the day to play.


Thursday

Was a blast.  First, went on a short ride, and got into some peanut butter.

 

Forcing a premature end as I didn’t want to risk continuing and busting something.  No biggie, stopped, cleaned off the gunk, had a nice conversation with the turtle that was intently watching, and rode the remaining miles back to town — undeterred.

Still feeling spry, I moved into the ESU dorm, leaving  the hotel room for my mother and sister (Kyle) who arrive on Friday to cheer us on.

Family coming to town is one of the best things about this event.  It started with my brother Timothy back in 2014, for which I was his support team.  That year’s entourage included my daughter, Megan, two sisters, Heather and Kyle, Tim’s wife Angie, and their kids.  My Mom and Dad were also there.  It was bittersweet as Tim beat the sun, and dedicated his award to Dad, who was ailing from cancer, and died the following year.  I discussed these things in last year’s post — The Signup.

Just have fun

My brother Kelly arrived late in the afternoon, and for some reason we thought we needed to consume this Mexican feast @ the local tacohell.

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Yes we did

Which provided somewhat of a base before heading out to see Agent Orange and Rev Horton Heat light things up at the Granada Theater.

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The Rev still puts on a hell of a show.

I was particularly stoked to see the Rev, who used to pack them into Lawrence’s Jazzhaus, back in the 80’s, when I attended college there.


Friday

Was another early rise and great day.  Started out with more work work, and then off to the GU Stroopwafel & Coffee Ride.  A pleasant spin allowing us to shake out the legs.

 

Followed by some milling around town where I got a shot of Amanda (the Panda) Nauman, and wished her well on another women’s DK200 title (3rd straight).

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Amanda The Panda on Friday afternoon, downtown Emporia

Unfortunately, she fell just 5 seconds short of that goal.  I saw her Sunday morning and offered what encouragement I could for which she graciously accepted with a warm smile and kind words in return.  Nice lady, displays the characteristic humility found in gravel riders.

It was a warm, sunny day. After rider check-in, I was feeling a bit parched, and figured it was time for refreshments.

Bellied up to the bar, ordered a Dirty Kanza Kolsch (brewed by Free State), and soaked in the atmosphere of this great, iconic pub.

Later, Kelly and I joined Mom and Kyle, with it, another pint, along with a nice dinner.

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Bruff’s Bar & Grill

Attended the 7pm riders meeting at the Granada theater.

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Jim Cummins

Where we heard our beloved race director, Jim, gently encourage us to do the right thing.

Afterwards back to dorms, a few late adjustments to the equipment, and off to snooze-town.

I felt really good.  Arriving and getting that prep done early had the desired effect.  I was tired yet excited at the same time.  Looking forward to getting out there…


Next Post: Part III – Starting Line