Jarvis just finished a huge ride – the Dirty Kanza. Here’s how it went:
Drove into Emporia, Kansas on Friday after spending a few days with some friends/support crew in Colorado. Camping in a RV campground after 8 hours of being in a car wasn’t an ideal pre-race night but everything in the town gets booked up instantly for the race. A pretty severe thunderstorm rolled through that night as well because Kansas.
Almost missed our 6am start the next day due to some car issues getting into town but made it there with a few minutes to spare. My race almost ended at mile 6 when we hit a long drag of mud from the storm. The mud is pretty much clay so there were a lot of derailleurs going into wheels and broken hangers. I kept dropping my chain (ran a SRAM 1×11 setup) from the drivetrain getting gunked up and it looked dire for about 25 minutes until I found a flooded pond to clean off the rear derailleur and cleared off some of the mud with a tire lever. Eventually hiked out of the mud section and started riding/getting into a rhythm. Lost my friend from Broadway Bicycle School at around mile 30 due to a mangled rear derailleur so I was on my own for the next 170 miles.
I was feeling good at the halfway checkpoint despite the heat (Tim Johnson was a notable victim of cramping the other day). Pretty sure pickles and pickle juice saved my race. My bike was also revitalized after I washed the drivetrain in one of the water crossings and some lube at a checkpoint. The second half of the race was significantly harder than the first, with a ton of steep kickers that sapped the legs (ended up logging 10k feet of climbing). I started cracking at mile 145 and considered tossing in the towel at the next checkpoint. Could barely grip the bars after getting rocked by gravel and rocks for that long. Eventually made it to the last checkpoint at mile 162 and had a thousand yard stare the entire time. I put on new socks and readjusted my shoes (feet were killing me) and rested the upper body a bit.
My support crew was super great and I didn’t want to let them down so eventually collected myself and got back on my bike. The last 44 miles had more gradual climbs and I was able to get into the drops and get a rhythm going (aeroknowsbest?). Found a second wind and tried to ignore my raw palms and blown up arms. I tried to avoid shifting since I could barely do it since my hands were so weak. Didn’t look at the mileage count too much and had enough in me to do a weak sprint for the line. There were tons of people from the town lining the finish and it almost felt like being PRO with everyone cheering for you. Immediately got off my bike and laid on the ground for about 20 minutes. Incredible experience. Ended up the 74th bike over the line out of 1098 starters, repping in my CBR skinsuit.