Friday, March 7, 2014

2014 Goals

I had briefly considered doing three big bike rides this year as well as the inaugural Kansas Grand Slam, four 100 mile runs in Kansas in the same calendar year.  I even went so far as to post a picture of the list on Facebook.  Public proclamation of goals is my favorite method of accountability. Once I have told everyone I'm going to do it I feel compelled to pull it off.  However, after some serious consideration about the amount of time it would take to diligently prepare for that many long runs and rides, I decided not to take that route.

Last year was my first full year tracking everything with a GPS. I had written down annual mileage before but this year I could see exactly how much time, down to the second, I had spent training for stuff.  847 hours, 31 minutes, 17 seconds.  24 hours a day for 35 days.  I don't by any means think it was wasted time, more like personal time that I relish, and, probably 500 hours were commuting to work so I would have those anyhow.  But knowing how much more time it would take to be truly prepared for so many long races, I decided to choose a more moderate path, for this year at least.
Easily the most active year of my life
I dropped the 100 mile runs from the schedule and entered three big bike rides and they are about to begin. The four runs in Kansas still sound like a fun year and I would like to see what that is all about some time in the future.

Next week is the Land Run 100 in Stillwater, Oklahoma. I had a great time there last year and I am looking forward to seeing all the new friends I made. One of the great parts about going back to races year after year is the reunion with all the cool people you meet.  This year there are like 10 people from my local area going as well and that will add another layer of fun and competition to it.  The main goal is not to crash again and rip my arm open like I did the first time there.

The most daunting challenge in my sights this year is the Trans Iowa V.10 on April 26.  330 something miles on dirt and gravel roads in Iowa. Straight through the day and night in one shot, 25 to 35 hours of riding hilly gravel no matter what the weather. That is if anyone finishes at all, in the past there have been times where nobody covered the distance. Lots of tough racers more skilled than I have had to stop short of the finish line when bad weather and exhaustion have ground their wheels to a halt. Oh yeah, no support crews, only what you can carry or buy at stores you see along the route.  Chances for resupply may be few and far between, you don't know the course until they give it to you in pieces at random checkpoints throughout the race. This is one I have read stories about for the last several years and really felt like taking on but I didn't think I was ready for it until recently. I envision it will be similar in difficulty to a 100 mile run.  

T.I.V7 shot used in Dirt Rag #157 taken by Steve Fuller
Jim Cummins coming in at CP#2 TIV9 (Image by GNAT)
It is not only a difficult race to ride but it is hard to get in, only 120 are allowed to enter and previous contenders are allowed to enter first which only leaves a few spaces for rookies. You have to send a postcard to arrive at a very specific time to be considered. I spent the day the list came out refreshing the screen and waiting impatiently to see the names of the select few race virgins who would be added.  Finally when my name showed up I was hit by a wave of happiness which was quickly followed by a wave of what the hell did I just get myself into. Fortunately, Jamie got in as well and we have been preparing together and plan to tackle it as a team. Though, I won't hesitate to leave him in the dust if his fancy new bike (that I might be highly jealous of) has an un-fixable malfunction.  Without a doubt, this race is going to be an amazing experience and I'm really looking forward to it.

My third time at the Dirty Kanza 200 on May 31 will be the next race.  I'm curious how this year will go coming only a month after Iowa.  4 weeks might not be enough recovery after a 30 hour event and the DK can take a huge toll on fresh legs.  I have a little more confidence about doing tough events closer together after last year but I also have enough experience now to know long races can create aches and pains that last for months afterward. I know you can push the body through a lot and I learn more about myself each time I do.

If you have read the other Dirty Kanza reports, you will know that even though I have finished it twice, I haven't been able to get home with one of the coveted pint glasses they give away at the finish line.  Being the outstanding gentleman he is, Bob Jenkins of Team Virtus, took pity on my inability to make it home with a glass and shipped one to me.  He puts on a 100 mile gravel race in Missouri called the Cedar Cross that I would love to take a crack at but it falls just one week after the race in Iowa and I'm not sure I can make that turnaround.  If I decide I can make it I'm hoping I can twist his arm to let me in at the last minute.  

I haven't decided how I will spend the last 6 months of the year yet but I fully intend to devote at least some portion of it getting ready for a long foot race.  I have a feeling it's going to be a great year and hopefully there will be some great stories that come out of the races. I will attempt to sit down and write them out, but as you can see by my posting of 2014 goals 3 months into the year, I'm already failing at my goal of writing more this year.  Unfortunately, my dedication to physical pursuits doesn't really carryover to all aspects of my life.


  1. I'm so looking forward to your crack at TI and hearing about it. Hey, if you feel lousy enough you can just hang out in the back with me at Cedar Cross and save me having to wait for your race report. :) You'll have a totally captive audience since I wouldn't be fast enough to get away.

    You're actually ahead of me on the 2014 goals post. I still haven't come up with one.

    1. Iowa is going to be something else I'm sure. That would be a great way to get the story down! I wonder if you could type while you rode?

  2. It was cool riding TI with you and Jamie through the night - did you guys finish?

    Dave Peterson

    1. Unfortunately not. About an hour after we left you the mud got thick and I lost my rear derailleur. We tried until the sun came up to get a workable single speed going but couldn't do it and had to call. I was still feeling strong and everything! It was great to ride with you as well, Dave. Hopefully we run into each other somewhere out there.

    2. That is a bad deal - it sucks to pull out when you still feel physically capable. Trust me, I have been second guessing my decision. Maybe see you next year!