Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tim's Excellent DK 200 Adventure

Here is a brief recap of Tim Green's experience from the 2011 DK 200. His pictures can be found his teams site - Cow Town Cycling

Wake up time was 3:45 a.m. to get some food down and everything ready for the race. Bikes loaded, camelbacks filled and bottles mixed with electrolytes. We get to the start at roughly 5:15 and lounge about. I am sag for first leg with Edd riding first. Cliff and I will be taking two support vehicles to the first checkpoint. Promoter is expecting the record to fall today due to better than expected conditions and milder temperatures than previous years. At 6:00 the race get going. Last rider out is Clay. He and Brett overslept and got to the start just as riders were leaving.

Cliff and I leave for the first checkpoint around 7:15. Beautiful country with rolling green hills and very little tree cover. At the toll gate I get a pleasant surprise and score 5 dollars in quarters because the machine was full and people were leaving the rejected quarters in the return slot. We get to the first checkpoint at roughly 8:00 and get setup. First rider in to the checkpoint around 9:15 and is riding a single speed. Mark Cole is one the next riders in and we get him fueled up and going again. Our team comes in about 9:45 and Cliff and I take off together. Roads were in good conditions and the Specialized Borough Armadillo Elite tires are rolling well. We get about 12 or so miles out and run into a group consulting the maps. A small group splinters off to the south and we use them to pull us for the next 2 miles. Big mistake, they went the wrong way. We ran into a bigger group (about 10 to 15 riders looking at maps). I turn on the GPS and figure out we were off course. We turn around and head back. On the way back we run into Brett and Ben Bolin also making the same mistake. Back on course on some B road with about 4 creek crossing and then some nasty hills that break me out of my heart rate zone. We see a dead mustang and at one point one of the biggest vultures I have ever seen (over a 6 foot wingspan) cross our path. I was glad he was not hungry. Rest of route pretty uneventful until Cliff and I run into Clay on the course. He was going to pick up Brett who was out of water and suffering heat exhaustion.

At Checkpoint two, Cliff stops and lets Mike go. I was feeling okay and wanted to stick to plan and do 2 legs in a row. Rick looked exhausted and word was Mark looked bad when he left on this leg. I went out with Mike and after 12 miles had a bout with heat exhaustion and found a section of trees with a cool breeze and called Edd to come and get me. I drank 70 ounces of water and the remaining 2 mixed bottles and by the time Edd got there felt good again. We switched anyways and he went out for the remaining of the leg.

I get up to Check point 3 and find Mark there. He had passed out at 133 miles and a farmer found him on the side of road throwing up and brought him in. He was in first place at the time but had gone out way to fast. I get more water and ice at the store and just finished putting it away when John came in. John looked fresh and was on a roll. I get some pictures and he rolls out. As he does a sheriff's car rolls in and informs the promoters that a dangerous storm is heading this way and to get the riders off the course. He was saying 60 mile an hour straight line winds, wall cloud, golf ball sized hail and ground strike lightning. After talking to promoters I got 2 maps, one for John's Wife, and another for a team also in the lead group so they could follow the riders into Emporia and provide shelter if things got rough. We had 3 riders back in the storm. Two should have been coming in around that time and Edd further back because he started later after replacing me. We find out Mike is off course and North of 56 and figure Rick is with him. Cliff was to figure out how to get Mike and I set out on course to get Edd and bring him to the checkpoint. They were letting us do that without penalty to get riders to safety. There was poor phone coverage on the third leg, so we could not find out where our riders were and I basically had to backtrack the course.

I pass a bunch of riders still riding in the rain and they wave me on when I ask if they need anything like water. Gravel is still okay at this point and another Jeep is not following me to get his riders off course. I pass a farmhouse and things turned ugly. I had to creep down a steep rutted hill only to find a section of B road that was muddy and deeply rutted for as far as the eye could see. I continue and almost get stuck once. The mud was axle deep and in the process of negotiating the ruts managed to knock my bike off the roof rack bending my front fork. Now I have to stop and put the bike on back. Both vehicles stopped in deep mud was not a good thing. Luckily I was able to get going again after putting the bike on a another rack on the back of the jeep. Riders along this section of road were walking in the grass and carrying their bikes. I run into Rick and he flags me down. He is exhausted and freezing from the 25 degree drop in temperature. I get him in and load his bike on the jeep and continue. The jeep that was following us went around and continued, so now if we got stuck we would be in trouble. I wish I would have taken some pictures of this section of road and the riders walking. I was so focused on getting out that I forgot about my camera.

We continued on. After a little bit I passed the Lawrence Cow Town rider walking along the grass. Asked if he needed anything and continued. During this time I find out Rick had been blown off the rode once and hailed on. We finally get off the B road and on to solid gravel. We also got enough cell phone coverage to find Edd. I plot a course on the GPS to get Edd and off we go.

Edd was with a group of riders including Ben Bolin that had encounted an 8 mile section of really bad mud and were walking when a farmer offered them a lift to little town. Three vehicles got to the town about the same time and we loaded up the bikes and people. I had room for bikes but no room for people due all the coolers supporting the 2 teams and solo riders. Luckily Ben has space and Edd heads back with Ben. On the drive out we find out they are re-routing the course around the B roads and putting them on the pavement to get them to Council Grove.

As we drove to Council Grove we found out that Mike was in and Cliff decided not to go out on the last leg due to conditions. My bike was toast, so after checking in at Council Grove we continue back to Emporia. Since Cliff, Mark, and Mike had left already we had to find a way for Edd to get back. Luckily Ben was able to get him back to the hotel.

We still had 3 riders out. Two that were held up at Checkpoint 2 due to the storm and Scott in the mess. Scott got caught in the storm and dropped from the race. Frank and Dan plugged on and made the 10:30 cut at Council Grove by 3 minutes and continued on to Emporia. They made it in to finish 59 and 60 at 2:30 in the morning.

Once we got back to the Hotel we showered and headed to Applebees. What a day....