Now begins the resting, the hydrating, the clean eating. Time to upload the GPX track to the GPS. Time to wash the bike, check every bolt. Time to think about fueling for the race, charging the lights, picking the clothes for race day. Make all the decisions possible ahead of time so that when the early alarm on June 4th sounds, the only thing to do is eat, pump tires and ride.
This Saturday will be my fifth start at the Dirty Kanza 200 and hopefully my fourth finish. My wife and I are loading up the car tonight to get to Emporia Thursday afternoon. We're staying with friends in Emporia, another reason to look forward to this incredible event. Even with the known quantity of 200 miles of gravel, even with a place to stay that we know and love, the anticipation builds for me every time before Kanza. It's my Super Bowl. I see friends that I've made through gravel racing in the past years. That's fun. But even more fun is prepping myself mentally, after months of physical preparation, to plumb the depths of what I can do on a bicycle. How hard can I go? For how long? Finishing is always a challenge, but finishing with a sense of having done it well is more important to me. Was I gracious to course marshals and fellow competitors? Did I waste time at checkpoints? Should I have forced down that extra gel?
These are all scenarios that I try to visualize in these days before I leave so that when an opportunity presents itself to me, I'll make the choice to do better, go harder, be an example of compassion to myself and others. That and hope for a bit of luck!