Sunday, January 16, 2011

A new year and a new challenge

Well it is the middle of January 2011. The winter finally is here and I don't like it. A few things have happened in recent months. My dad passed away on the 18th of December, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor several years ago and underwent surgery in June to have it removed. It was a very long surgery, broken up into two days. He came out of it doing well and continued to do so for a while and then suffered a stroke and his health continued to decline. My aunt took care of him up until the end of November and it just became too much for her to do at home. He had to be placed in the nursing home, which he was actually ok with. He was only there for a couple weeks before his passing. I was there with him till the end and I have to say it was a privelege and a pain. This was very tough on me and I kinda just gloomed around in my own little world of misery. Finally by new years i was starting to feel a little better and got out and rode the trails at Sac River. This was definetly a pick up and really kicked in my motivation. Which was much needed since I had planned on racing the Chill in February. Shortly thereafter I found out that Chris had a scheduling conflict and would not be able to race. On the 6th of January I received a call from Crystal while I was working. She was hysterical screaming something about the dogs getting out of the yard and someone was shooting at them. Somehow our dogs got the gate open and took off on an adventure. Molly our beagle mix had been out several times ( she is a digger), Tank our beagle ( the follower) had also been out, Otis our chocolate lab however had never been out of the yard, at least not without me with him. Long story short, our a-hole neighbor shot our small beagle with a shotgun wounding him in the back leg. He had came home which is what alerted Crystal of what was going on. Molly came home shortly after, but Otis our lab ( the scaredy cat) must have taken off running. I spent most of the next day looking for him without any luck. The following day some good friends of mine found Otis about five miles from the house, he had been hit and killed on the highway. Otis was a big, clumsy, slobbery, pain in the rear end, but he was also my best friend.
With all of those things happening I guess I have lost my mind, because now this week I signed up for the Dirty Kanza 200. It is a 200 mile ultra endurance gravel road race in the Flint Hills of Kansas. You can call me crazy, stupid, idiot, or whatever else you want, everyone else pretty much already has. Perhaps I am, but Crystal believes in me and supports me in whatever I want to do. I won't be doing this alone, there will be some other people that I know there, and they are great people. Sheldon, my friend of 20 plus years, has been with me though the thick and thin and has signed on to run sag support for me, as long as he doesn't change his mind.
The training will begin asap, tomorrow to be exact. I don't really know exactly how to train for such an arduous task, but I will make the best of it. I have spent the last two days reading other blogs and reports all about the race. I have a few things to work out, well a lot, but mainly I am going to get a new bike, a cross bike. General concensus is that a cross bike is best for this type of race and other than trail riding will suit my riding style well. I have no sponsors, no team, or no commitment to any specific brand of bike so I am not sure what kind to get. There are many, many, kinds out there. As of now I am planning to go and look at what Giant has to offer, probably the TCX2, ( my mtb is a Giant and i like it so why not). Also planning to check out Specialized, have heard a lot of good things about the Tricross. I have checked them both out on the internet and read reviews. I have also read about some others so I will just have to wait and see. I will keep everyone updated as the search goes on and the training gets going. I would appreciate any comments, concerns, or encouragement through this journey.