Sunday, June 01, 2008

Friends, Lessons, Fun... The Dirty Kanza 200, 2008.

Cameron Chambers, winner of the 2008 Dirty Kanza 200, with his wife, Amber - Photo Heartland Racing Promotions

We're back from Emporia, Kansas, and the Dirty Kanza 200 gravel grinder, and it was an incredible race on a lot of levels. Former 24 Hour National Champion, Cameron Chambers won this year's edition of the DK200 in a record time of 11:58:32. DK200 Promoter, Jim Cummins finished a solid fourth, just ahead of me, despite my best efforts to catch him in the final miles. I ended up finishing fifth overall, still in the daylight, some three hours faster than my finish time last year. More importantly, I had fun, rode more than 203 miles with lots of cool people and met several new friends -- not too bad for a single day on the bike!

The front of the pack about an hour into the race. That's eventual second-place finisher, Dan Hughes, Cameron Chambers and yours truly from left-to-right. Photo: Cornbread

Though my body gave me varying levels of performance throughout the day, my Salsa La Cruz performed flawlessly throughout the day. The 38c Schwalbe Marathon Cross tires proved to be a great choice too. They were more than a match for the sharp Kansas flint rock, and I was one of the fortunate few who didn't experience a single flat tire over the entire course of the day.

Ambassador: If ever there was someone who deserved a full-ride sponsorship, this guy is it. Despite eight flat tires on his Bianchi Cross Project 2003, Cornbread kept a smile on his face and had a great time... and still finished seventh. What a stud... Photo: Cornbread

Corey "Cornbread" Godfrey ended up finishing in seventh, after powering off the front with Cameron Chambers in the first 90 miles, only to succumb to a string of not one, not two, but EIGHT flats and a ruined Michelin tire casing over the course of the rest of the race. Incredible... His performance was the "Hard Man" story of the year, and will be one that will be talked about among those who witnessed it for years to come. It is the stuff of legend. Good show, my friend.

I'm not going to write too much here, because I'm working on a post for the Salsa Amigos Blog, and I'm shooting to have that up Monday, but in short, ten folks from Lincoln rolled down to Emporia for the 'Kanza this year, each with a unique reason for being there. When all was said and done, we ended up with an 80 percent success rate. Eight of us from Lincoln finished the mission this year, and that my friends, is pretty darn sweet for a race this tough. There's nothing trivial about the Dirty Kanza 200. It's hardcore fun.

13 comments:

Butcher said...

Congrats Matt and rest of the Lincoln crew. Kick Ass.

Cornbread had how many flats? Amazing.

MG, looking forward to seeing the full report. I've got an important update going on the Salsa blog today. We'll get your story up this week though. Let me know when you are ready.

Congrats again.

Guitar Ted said...

Congrats MG! Awesome job by you and Corey....what a story, man! Never give up re-defined.

Will be looking forward to your Salsa write up. It should be a good-un!

Cornbread said...

Awesome ride Matt! Glad to link up with you towards the end. It really picked up my spirits. Man, you were kickin' butt that last 10 miles.

Congrats on the top 5 finish! Very impressive to shave that much time off of last year's finish!

MG said...

Oh man, Cornbread... When I saw you after Americus when I was sittin' in the ditch, it was like an Angel appeared. I was dumping sugar and salt into my body as fast as I could, and you helped get me back in the saddle and movin'. Thank you so much. I didn't really want to leave you on the final run into Emporia, but when you told me to go ahead, I knew you were close enough to practically coast it in.

With persistence, there are bigger and better things waiting for you, Corey. You can be as strong and successful of an endurance racer as you want to be... as you dream you can be. You just have to remember to work as hard on making sure your equipment is up to the same standard that your body and mind are set at (because you've got those bars set incredibly high).

A lot of it, perhaps, is surrounding yourself with a team that is able to attend to those details for you so that you can focus on training, and doing what you need to do to make yourself physically strong. I believe you're a strong enough talent to be given the opportunity to find out how far you can take your gift.

Thank you so much Jason and Mark!

Cheers,
MG

EB said...

nicely done, seems like you guys tore it up down there.
looking forward to riding with you all in the future.

MG said...

Thanks Eric. It was a bummer you weren't able to make it down to the race with us. Your presence was definitely missed. You'd have loved the course this year... It suited your big gear lovin' style well.

See you soon.

Cheers,
MG

Steve Fuller said...

Nice meeting you this weekend Matt and congrats on your finish too. It's great to not only hook up with so many talented like minded riders. I'm humbled by the performances you guys are able to lay down.

MG said...

Thanks Steve -- It was great to meet you too. You finished right around the same time as our friend Oliver from Lincoln (on the other orange Salsa La Cruz), as I recall, correct? I was impressed by the sprint you guys had at the finish! Way to end it up strong!

Hopefully we'll get the opportunity to hang out again at a ride or race.

Thanks again Steve!

Cheers,
MG

Jason said...

Nice job! 200+ Miles?? Holy crap!

EXPO Racing said...

I'm moving to Lincoln


Great job!

MG said...

Thanks Constantine... That'd be sweet if you moved here! You're always welcome in our crew.

And Jason, my friend, you don't even know the half of it. I spent two hours last night with pliers massaging the dents out of the bead area of my rear rim from those 200 miles of bumpy, gnarly flint rock road.

In fact, the plates in my right arm have been hurting worse after this year's Kanza than they have after any mountain bike race (24 hour or otherwise) in the past five years. It was that rough! (For those of you who don't know, I have a plate and 10 screws on each of my forearm bones from hitting a tree at Platte River State Park in 1997. They usually don't hurt, but this year's ultra-rough Kanza course really got to 'em, apparently. I've been hurtin' ever since...)

jdstamp said...

MG
many thanks.
Its pretty impressive how lincoln has such a huge turnout at races so far away. It say alot about your cycling community. I have been told that there is much riding to be had at Pioneer park? I got to meet one of your other Nebraskan compatriots this winter. Nate Woodman, He handed me a thorough thrashing at several cross races!
Congrats on your finish and give us a shout should you ever find yourself in manhattan, or if you ever travel to western NC and want a some contacts as that is home for me.
Take care
Joshua

MG said...

Will do. Thank you, my friend...

Nate Woodman... now there's a character we can both agree is a butt kicking rider! He's one of the most skilled riders I've ever ridden with, by far, on any bike, singlespeed or geared. There's no shame in finishing behind him in a race. Hopefully you can just stay close enough to enjoy studying his line choices and learning from them. Good stuff...

Thanks again Joshua. Again, great race at the 'Kanza. Clearly you're an awesome rider and racer yourself. You put in an awesome ride last Saturday, and deserve all the accolades that are coming to you.

I look forward to riding with you again sometime soon. I'm sure we'll cross paths again this season.

Cheers,
MG