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


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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).


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.


Bruff’s Bar & Grill

Attended the 7pm riders meeting at the Granada theater.


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

2017 Dirty Kanza

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


Last year’s was chronicled here: 2016 Dirty Kanza.  I made enough mistakes to compel another go at it.

This year’s story follows and is broken into seven:

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

Tonight we ride, right or wrong
Tonight we sail, on a radio song
Rescue me, should I go down
If I stay too long in trouble town

Now and again I get the feeling
Well if I don’t win, I’m a gonna break even
Rescue me, should I go wrong
If I dig too deep, if I stay too long

Tom Petty, You Wreck Me

2017 Dirty Kanza Prep & Training

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

Prep / Training

Many changes from last year’s Part II – Prep / Training plan including…

Changes to the bike

Still riding the Willard.


Raleigh Willard I @ 4am on race day

With a few changes to the setup that worked quite well:

  1. Handlebars – Salsa cowbell type 3, double-wrapped, wider, not as deep in the drops (comfort), double-wrapped to reduce vibration and prevent a repeat from last year’s numbed fingers.
  2. Cassette – Shimano 12-36T – granny gear means staying in the saddle during climbs, adding weight to the rear tire preventing slippage.  Not standing preserves energy reserves deeper into the day.
  3. Tires – Teravail Cannonball – 700×38 – shaves 2mm’s width from the tire with no downside.  Even with goo tubes, they (seem to) roll a bit easier vs. last year’s Schwalbe Marathons.

Summary of changes to bike

Once again this bike gets me across the finish — in time.  I did have a bit of trouble during the 3rd leg.  The afternoon thundershowers brought  with them mud and rocks getting into the gears.  This caused them to grind (hence the name) and required frequent stops to flush.  Otherwise a chain or derailleur surely would break, and did for those who didn’t pay heed.

These were extreme road conditions; I doubt anything but a single-speed would have done as well.


Mile 134 (3rd leg) of the 2017 dirty kanza and sloppy / muddy road conditions.


Significant changes from last year.  Here is my 2017 training log:

# Week     Longest Day     Total Miles
1.  Feb  6          83             216
2.  Feb 13          63             201
3.  Feb 20          90             222
4.  Feb 27          58             167
5.  Mar  6          79             207
6.  Mar 13          95             212
7.  Mar 20          45             181
8.  Mar 27         111             213
9.  Apr  3          98             202
10. Apr 10         141             285
11. Apr 17          23              23
12. Apr 24          79             239
13. May  1         160             327
14. May  8          70             199
15. May 15         101             155
16. May 22          55             192
17. May 29         208             252

The strategy included the following:

  • Every two weeks ride a bit further on the long day.
  • Hold the longest day at least one month prior.
  • Don’t ride long during the week.
  • Hills, hills and more hills.
  • Work on speed / intervals.

This made life easier as every other weekend I’d embark on a long training ride.  Sawtoothing my way up to about 160 miles — at the beginning of May.

More hills and interval training (ugh), where things get pushed to limit, but actually spent fewer long days on the bike.  I took it easy during the week with up to 120 miles logged between M-F.

Most of that training was pavement on the roads and trails around Little Rock.


Downtown Little Rock (LR)


North LR (from the river trail)

A lot of time spent outside of LR, in the mountains and deltas.


Harper’s loop

Here’s a descent down Thornburg Mountain:


Another coming off the backside of Wye mountain on Hwy 300:


There was one week grinding Kansas gravel outside Salina, including this century ride on the Native Stone route in Wabaunsee County.


Native Stone trail mile 19


Native Stone mile 84

Always remembering to take a break now and then…


@ Diamond Bear in NLR

Training Summary

I finished the race, shaving about an hour off last year’s time, but there’s room for improvement.  Still, I felt pretty good after the ride, and recovered quicker than last year.


After last year’s fiasco running dry during the 2nd leg, and almost DNFing, I was determined to change.  I added a 2.5L camelbak to my 1.8L platypus bladder (in the framebag), along with two water bottles.  I also paid attention to electrolytes on the long, sweaty rides.

Hydration Summary

Amazingly enough, even with all that water, I ran out about 10 miles from CP2 @ 95 miles.  An improvement over last year, but not good enough.

If you get one thing from this post:

Bring plenty of water for that 2nd leg of  DK!!!  (more later).


My nutrition plan also failed me last year with a bonk on the 2nd leg.  This year I eased my foolish opposition to factory products.


I learned the hard way that nutrition is crucial on those long rides (2nd only to hydration), and started eating those syrupy goopy packages of food.  No, I still don’t like, but to be successful on long rides, one must consume their calories — gradually and consistently.   Eat too much at once and get sick.  Too little and run out of gas.  For me the optimum is about 100 calories every 10 miles or so, which allows me to keep going, seemingly indefinitely.

Food Summary

My nutrition plan was a success in 2017.  I was able to eat, and stay energized, until the finish.

Next Post: Part II – Preamble

The Eleven Commandments for Aging and Exercise

After passing the half century mark a few years ago, I find myself in a quandary over exercise.  Damned if I do and damned if I don’t.  That’s because the aging process brings on arthritis, obesity, diabetes, heart disease and a host of other conditions.  The natural inclination at this stage is to start taking it easy, but what’s really needed is to maintain an active physical fitness regime.

The problem is activities learned in youth do more harm than good during the middle years.  For example the fifty-something’s heavy bench presses will surely tear a rotator cuff in their shoulder.  The resulting injury exacerbates the natural aging condition, further prolonging and encouraging inactivity, which induces declining function of the body.

Exercise when done correctly, has the opposite effect, prolonging vigorous activity beyond the middle years into old age.  But in so doing, its focus needs to be on using increased repetitions and lighter weights to reduce the strain placed on tendons.  This will enable muscle growth which improves skeletal stability while preventing overuse injuries.  With that in mind, here are eleven commandments for keeping fit into 2017 and beyond.

  1. I will not not use barbells.
  2. I will not use heavy weights during strength training exercises.
  3. I will work my legs at least once per week.
  4. I will superset between opposing muscle groups, to keep my heart rate elevated.
  5. I will work a different type of core exercise on every strength training day.
  6. I will keep my strength training workouts short, less than 30 minutes per day.
  7. I will perform strength training exercises often, between 3 and 5 times per week.
  8. I will perform cardio exercises, preferably outside, at least 3 times per week, and a duration of 60 minutes or more.
  9. I will eat more than 5 cups of fruits and vegetables per day.
  10. I will sleep at least 7 hours per night.
  11. I will take at least one rest day per week.