Last weekend I was a part of something that amazed me. In January, my husband, Stuart, signed up for the Dirty Kanza 200. I wasn’t quite prepared for what a moving day it would be.
Quick summary about the race. It is a 200 mile trek on gravel roads through he Flint Hills of Kansas. The roads are minimum maintenance rods that roll and roll and roll. There are also a few water crossings just to keep things fun!
The race was broken down in to roughly 50 mile sections and a check point at the end of each section. At those checkpoints you could see your rider and provide support to them then send them off for the next section. You are not supposed to follow your rider around on the course so you only end up seeing them three times and then at the finish. Here are a few lessons learned and words of advice if you are providing support for a rider or riders.
- Know the event rules and details. I printed up the race handbook and all the maps. I was lucky because the cell phone coverage was fine in the areas I was but it was so helpful to have a hands on map of the course when I needed it. I also had the cutoff times handy. One thing I was missing was an in case of emergency phone number.
- Get more supplies than you think you need. I ended up at a corner where the course crossed a big road and I was giving out aid to a bunch of riders. It was super handy to have all the extra water, food, and stuff they might need.
- Here is what I had in the car with me for my rider:
- Ginger Ale
- Skratch drink mix
- Ibuprofen (lots of people were happy I had that!)
- Towels (really came in handy)
- Candy bars
- Fresh fruit (watermelon and pineapple are great)
- Bike tools, pumps, and tubes
- Chair (I would make sure it has an umbrella next time)
- Peanut butter and jelly fixings
- Supplies for me:
- Change of clothes (it is a long day)
- Things I wish I had:
- Toothbrush. Riding in gravel was dirty and Stuart wished he could have cleaned out his teeth at some point.
- Umbrella, for shade or rain.
- An extra person. That would have been great for times when you needed to move the car but didn’t want to leave your post waiting for your rider.
- Get to the check points early and try to figure out the flow. As great as this race was, there could have been a bit more information on how the check points would work. It was a bit confusing but luckily it wasn’t anything you couldn’t figure out with some common sense.
- Use your camera to record when your riders come in and out. I used the time stamp on the pics to keep it straight. Worked great!
- Make friends! I made a bunch of friends out there. We exchanged numbers and looked after each other all day long.
- Make your rider eat! It is hard to do because they don’t want to eat, but when the event is as long as this one was they MUST eat.
For the record, this race blew my mind! I found the finish line to be totally overwhelming. I have never been more proud of Stuart for completing a race. I feel so lucky to have been a part of the day. If this interests you at all you should check it out. I may even be adding it to my calendar one day!