It’s that time of year. I’m not one for making resolutions, but I do make goals. Some are personal, some professional, and some related to bicycling. I’ll spare you the former, but share a bit of the latter.
But first, a bit of history.
2006 goals: 2000 miles, Biking Across Kansas. I hit the mileage goal with ease (2800 miles), but didn’t make it across Kansas after falling sick on the tour (see story here).
2007 goals: 3000 miles, Katy Trail ride. Successful on both counts (Katy Trail story here).
2008 goals: 4500 miles, Biking Across Kansas. Again, success on both counts. 6000 miles and BAK triumph here.
In 2009, I didn’t plan any big rides. I was reluctant to even pick a mileage goal. For one thing, I was coming off an injury, and wasn’t sure how it would heal. That turned out to be a non-issue, but I didn’t know that then.
At the beginning of the year, the ride I most wanted to do was the Dirty Kanza 200, a 200-mile gravel road race through the rugged Flint Hills of eastern Kansas. But with an early January signup deadline, and injury uncertainties, I passed.
I did end up setting a mileage goal of 5000 miles, and hitting it. But with no big rides planned, I kind of drifted. Not that that was all bad, but there was a lack of focus. I still accomplished my first gravel century — a big stepping-stone — and surpassed the mileage goal.
For 2010, I’m going to keep the 5000 miles mileage goal. That seems like a good round number, without being too much.
And, I have a ride goal. A big, audacious, am-I-crazy-to-even-consider-it goal. I’ve signed up for the Dirty Kanza 200. I’m in.
200 miles of gravel roads, dirt roads, remote places where there are barely roads of any kind. All in one long, endless day. Sun-up to sun-down, and well beyond. Easily 16 hours of saddle time, probably more. In June in Kansas, where it may be 60 degrees or 100 degrees, where there may be hellacious headwinds, rain, hail, lightning. Even a tornado is possible.
Country like this:
I don’t know if I can do it. I’m sure, barring injury, I’ll make it to the 61-mile checkpoint. The 103-mile checkpoint is also a good bet. I’m fairly confident in the 142-mile checkpoint. After that, who knows?
Despite the DK200 being a race, I have no delusions of being competitive. I just want to survive and make it as far as I can. I want to ride that country, and spend a bit of time with the people who are out there on the road with me — amazing people, crazy people, inspiring people.
I’m a little concerned about training. I’ve never trained for anything like this before. Heck, I’ve never even done a race of any kind before. But I have friends I’ll be able to call on, I hope, for wisdom and advice and support. Lord knows I’ll need all three in large quantities.
Wish me luck!