In the world of endurance bike racing there are a few things one will have to learn, deal with and just get used to doing. I sure wasn’t prepared for all of them but some I was told you can prepare for some of it. I first read about the eleven here. You can also go here. Back in 2007 I entered my first off-road 200 mile gravel road race. The Dirty Kanza 200. without boring you with the details of my first time I will start my list with my memories from that event.
1.Its going to be hard. But remember why you are out there. No one made you sign up. Your here because you love to ride a bike and you made the choice to try this.
2. Take a look around. Take it all in. Enjoy the sky, the birds, the wildlife, enjoy what our great earth provides us every day. Our lives tend to cloud up what there is to see out there. I feel so in touch with the earth during an ultra it some time seems overwhelming.
3. Keep them peddles turning. Let your mind go and keep moving forward.
4. Your mind is going to play tricks on you. However you can overcome what it has in store for you. During my first Kanza I became very emotional late in the race. Freaked me out!!!!! I had no idea I could start crying over nothing. I figured it was just my mind saying your never going to make it so just quit now and have a good cry cause you are weak. Um no! Refer to rule #3. I let my mind go and counted fence post, did simple math problems in my head. Hey it shut him up!
5. Eat. This ain’t no time to be dieting. Eat all the time.
6. Drink. Every 15 mins. Trust me. Kanza 2008. Didn’t drink enough, and with 62 miles to go I was told I was not going to be able to continue. something about mindless babble and passing out.
7. The people are amazing. The friends you will make will last a lifetime. I have made some of the closest friends in this sport. These friends will not let you suffer alone. The bonds I have forged are blood deep and these will never be broken.
8. Pack light but don’t be a dumbass. Bring what you would on a training ride all alone. Remember your responsible for yourself! Refer to rule #1 if you forgot why your out here.
9. There will always be some one stronger, faster, leaner, lighter, better equip, ect. Train with these folks. They might kick your ass but your going to get better because of them. I get hammered but some of the best riders in the midwest and it used to bug the shit out of me. Now I can sometimes dish out some pain and they thank me for it. It’s the people remember? They will punish you but then love you in return. Thats a great feeling.
10. Thank everyone!! Volunteers, race promoters/directors, support crews. These people give themselves to you for the event. I never understood it till Trans Iowa v7. At the finish I thanked Mark and David and they said our pleasure. They were so happy to see all of us at their event. Hell they even thanked me!
11. LOVE IT!!! This sport will give you a new look at life. I have played team sports when I was younger and was part of a team. But with endurance racing it’s all on you to get the job done. I have never felt so satisfied after each of my events. Every event.