Monthly Archives: May 2016

Maizies Pride Ride – 2016

From the “GO!” I grabbed Jeff’s wheel and didn’t let go until 50 minutes in when he said “Don’t forget to eat and drink!”  I had done neither up to that point.  I was so intent on watching his wheel, choosing the least painful line that I had neglected the basics…and I was feeling a fever setting in.  I had been blowing so much snot out of my nose one rider though I squirted a water bottle at him.  Not a great start.  I grabbed a GU Gel, tore open the top with my teeth and….hit a bunch of “bounce you off your seat” bumps.  Gel squeezed all over my fingers and hand and not in my mouth.  With a sticky mess of a hand I grabbed my water bottle and up in the air it went…onto the road on a descent.  Crap.  Stop.  Walk back for bottle.  Grab my bars with my velcro sticky hand and go catch Jeff again.  Not a great start.

Honestly, the majority of the first 55 miles involved me grinding as hard as my legs and lungs would allow me. My friend Shawn joined us and the three amigos charged toward the halfway checkpoint.  The route was a great route.  I can’t complain.  It’s tough.  It’s rough.  Your body hurts from all the shots.  Carbon fork, steel fork, fancy road rear suspension, front suspension, it doesn’t matter…it’s gonna wear you down.  Better riders than I succumbed to cramps that first 55 miles.  Did I mention it was the first hot ride of the year?  Yeah.  That helped the day.  About mile 40 I felt the first cramp tweaking.  Not bad.  Just a needle here and there.  I’ve been here in the past and road through them.

Halfway Checkpoint went without a hitch.  Few minutes.  Pretty fast.  Maybe too fast but maybe not.  My legs were starting to cramp harder so needed to get going.  The second 50 miles was just a head down crampfest for me.  You ever have those “full leg” cramps that lift you out of your seat and make you do a grunt?  Yeah.  Pretty much 4 hours of those.  My two friends wouldn’t leave me and made me fight to the finish.  I just could not shake the mental frustration and get myself mentally right.  I finished…but it was painful and ugly.  Evaluating my second half I hydrated well going through about 5 bottles but I ate a total of TWO Gu Gels.  That’s it.  My fault.  My bad.

The day was humbling.  The day though was not a waste.  I relearned the importance of riding under control.  You can push in an endurance event BUT if you do, you better be on top of your game with nutrition, with fluids, with breathing and mentally.  If you do feel yourself getting behind…stop.  Take a deep breathe, literally, and get yourself right.  100 miles is a LONG day otherwise.

Thanks Ryan for capturing my day.

Good things that happened?  Heck yeah!  I strengthened a cycling bond with two friends.  I saw some beautiful country.  I got to ride a bike for 8 hours in near perfect weather.  I got to make some new friends out on the ride including a rider named Kyle.  I wish I had been in a more friendly mood to chat and hang with him for a bit more.  I rode into a community of riders and friends at the Finish ready to help me away from my bike and get me what I needed to feel better.

Welcome to Emporia. Welcome to the DK.


Around the end of May/first of June every year a bit of magic comes to Emporia Kansas. The Dirty Kanza. We are not a big town but we are a strong community. We support those events that support us. We stand up when asked and cheer for those who work hard. We understand what it means to work hard and we appreciate those that give everything they have. We know our gravel roads can be unforgiving. We appreciate our rolling hills mile after mile after mile. We love that not only does our weather change drastically from day to day but quite often hour to hour. An early summer day can start in the 60’s, bring 30mph wind, sore to the 90’s, crack open a storm, drop to the 50’s bringing rain and even hail, followed by a complete calm evening in the 60’s. We love that. We love Emporia. We love Kansas. It’s home. We can’t wait to welcome you to our home.

June 3rd of 2016 will bring over 2000 cyclists to our home. They will bring their friends and their family. We will invite our own. June 3rd is magic. Downtown is completely full. Anticipation is evident in the air. Friends are reunited. Stories are retold. Last minute strategies are discussed and plans are in place. No one expects to fail the challenge that will take place the next day. We all hope to succeed. We won’t. There’s never been a full field finish the Dirty Kanza. Not even close. Which friend will make it? Which friend won’t? What will be the new stories made? June 3rd is magical because of the unknown. Emporia is here for you though. We are ready to help if we can. We have your back. Give your best. We know you can.

The morning of June 4th brings organized chaos. Bike ready? Nutrition on point? Hydration full? Where will you line up? Towards the front where the pressure is high or towards the back where survival is the plan? Riders take off. Riders roll out. Gravel is hit and the day has begun. Don’t forget your plan! Don’t forget your strategy! Your day is here. You are 14 – 22 hours away from completing your goal and crossing that Finish Line. Cowbells will be ringing. People will be cheering you down the Finish Line chute. Food will taste better. Drinks will taste colder. Your mind will question your ability. You’ll want to quit. It’ll happen. It’s okay. We all go through it. We don’t all come out of it though. Remember. Just keep moving forward. Turn the cranks.

I won’t lie, it’s going to be hard.  At times it’s going to hurt.  A lot.  The feeling you get at the finish line is so incredibly worth it. I can’t describe it. I want you to feel it. You need to feel it. Everyone should feel it.

If it helps, seek me out. I’ll give ya a hug. I might still be out riding though. Look for me sometime between 14.5 and 17 hours. I hope. Don’t worry. Emporia has my back. Emporia will be ready for you. Emporia has a lot of hugs to give.


We can’t wait to welcome you to our home.

Enjoy our town.  Enjoy our coffee.  Enjoy our food.  Enjoy our friendship.  Go play on our gravel.  Have fun…it’s just riding bikes…