Event: Lunar Kanza
Date: July 16, 2016
Location: Emporia, KS
My lack of organization on Saturday afternoon made for a lot of stress for Lunar Kanza that night.
We took the kids into town to pick up their race packets for Mass Street Mile on Sunday, picked up a new pair of running shoes for Tatum, and grabbed lunch. By the time we got home from running around, I was tired but had to load up the car for my gravel ride!
I washed off the bike and packed my supplies while Steven put the bike rack on my car. I didn’t get a chance to eat dinner, so I grabbed fast food along the way (that was a mistake).
The drive to Emporia, KS was a little over an hour for me. Once I got into town, I used the restroom and hit up the registration booth to sign my waiver and get my packet. The process was really quick and well-organized. I was in and out in a matter of minutes. The event was put on by the same people who do Dirty Kanza, so they certainly know how to organize an event.
I received a neat t-shirt, a patch, a laminated plate for the front of my bike, and some pipe cleaners to secure the plate. The pipe cleaners also served as coupons for food and drinks after the ride.
Once I got my bike and hydration vest all set up, I racked up and waited for my friend, Kristi, to arrive. Riders could leave anytime between 6 and 8, and we left promptly at 6. (and this was a mistake).
The course ran out of town a couple miles on pavement before we turned off onto gravel roads. Hilly gravel roads. In retrospect, it would have been better to leave a little later and miss some of the blazing sun. It was hot just standing in the parking lot! By the time hit gravel, I was sweaty and my insulated water bottles of frozen Nuun were warm.
We passed a SAG stop at around 5 miles and pressing on. I noticed that many people had already turned back as well continued, so I assume they went to the 10-mile mark and turned around.
We stopped briefly at the 10 miles spot and I was really not having fun. I felt miserable since I just really can’t tolerate heat / sun with my autoimmune stuff. As we were getting to leave, a group of guys pedaled up. One announced that eating that Mexican was a bad idea… and then threw up on the road. So… I hadn’t thrown up yet, so I had that going for me at least.
We pressed on to the 15-mile mark when I just felt like it was enough. I wasn’t sure how I was going to make it back. I was miserable. Tired. Hot.
And then a strange thing happened after we turned back. It cooled off. The sun went down. And I felt REALLY GOOD. I had a really good time pedaling back and when it got dark, my pink wheel lights came on. I got a lot of compliments on my cool wheels on the way back.
It was all really awesome until I had to turn my headlight on and the bugs started to swarm me. I think I reached my protein macros in bugs that night. Gross. It was worse when they flew until my eyes and I had to blink and try to wipe them away.
Somehow we missed the turn off on the ride back through town. We ended up being stuck at the railroad crossing for 2 trains! We were just a block away from the event though, and although we didn’t cross the “official” finish, we entered the block party via a side entrance. After we racked our bikes, we headed into the party with our pipe cleaner coupons. I traded my meal pass for a BBQ sandwich (which I didn’t eat because I just don’t like pork that much), chips and a Sprite. That Sprite was the greatest thing I have ever drank. Seriously. I actually went back thru and traded my beer coupons for more Sprite. While I drank a lot of water on my ride, I didn’t eat any of my Honey Stingers… (And that was a mistake).
Even though it was not muddy, I was still covered in dirt and grime. Gravel road dust really sticks to you when you are sweaty, I guess.
So instead of a Lunar Kanza 50, I got a Lunar Kanza 30. And I am OK with that. Next time I will leave a little later and get the full ride in!