Leaving 120, knowing there is still a ways to go to Aid 2 at 150
miles, it was a case of remember to look up, enjoy the ride, take
in the scenery (the green hills and plains of Kansas are beautiful)
talk to people, acknowledge the effort but keep moving and look
This sector was still hilly, through wooded land. Riding into
deep shadow was shaky at times. I joined some groups, left some
groups, tried to get some encouraging words out when folks looked
like they needed them. Really started thinking here that I could
finish this event, but not to get complacent.
Rolling into Aid 2 at 150 miles I was delighted we were mostly
done. Rachel was totally ready with everything I needed - refreshed
supplies, suncream, more icy water over the head. Even insisted I
take an extra bottle with calories as well as a bottle just to tip
over myself. This was the best advice all day, and a decision taken
by support crew when the rider himself was not thinking so great. I
left really happy, refreshed from seeing the family, and also with
supplies and only 50 miles to go.
The last 50 miles were hard, the relentless nature of the course
continues. Less rocky now, the really bad surfaces were behind us.
This was still real gravel, don't get me wrong, but the big rocks
were behind us. BUT it was HOT. At this point 10+ hours had passed
since the start, already my longest day on the bike, with 3-ish
hours to go. I actually felt I rode this sector well, my power
numbers don't match my recollection, but I was actually feeling
It was hard, no doubt, I could feel where cramps may make
themselves known but never actually got the vice grip of a cramp. I
was counting down the miles now. I knew the finish was south of
where we were, and we had something like a tailwind. However, a few
times when the route did not turn south I cursed out loud, thinking
just take me home.
After grinding through the last miles on (thankfully) improving
surfaces I was back in Emporia, and following signs to the finish
chute. The whole town were out and a real party atmosphere was
going on... slowing in the finish chute I realized I had completed
what had been a 5 month journey of planning, building, training.
Grateful I was able to execute and accomplish my three goals:
- Finish and Have Fun
- Finish before sun down
With a finish time of 13:38 (coming 122nd out of 2200) I was
more than hour inside the sunset, I had had fun, and was filled
with an enormous feeling of accomplishment. It was emotional,
family at the line and a team job well done.